In a bid to save a species

Dwindling numbers

Splendid: A scene from 'The Last Hope.'

To throw light on the near extinction of vultures and the conservation measures undertaken to preserve the great scavenger bird, a short documentary film ‘The Last Hope’ by Neloy Bandyopadhyay was screened at Alliance Francaise recently.

The documentary spoke of the death of vultures due to the continued use of the banned drug ‘diclofenac’, which is used to relieve pain in ageing cattle.  The drug is retained in the carcass and when consumed by the vultures can cause death.  It was an eye-opener for many in the audience, who found the documentary interesting as well as  informative.

The documentary emphasising the importance of vultures in nature, also saw an attendance from wildlife enthusiasts, who had travelled from across the City, to show their support.  The documentary was mainly shot in Pinjore, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh. Neloy, while addressing the issue, said, “The local people are not aware of the harm that the drug causes and the importance of vultures in our ecosystem. The main objective is to screen it in villages and educate people about the harm that ‘diclofenac’ causes. In my interactions, while making the movie, I realised that people were willing to change. If we phase out the drug completely, the vulture population can be restored.”

Neloy, an IT professional through the week and a documentary film-maker by the weekend, said that the idea for the documentary came to him as he noticed the dwindling numbers by the River Ganga, as he was clicking photographs.

“I am from Kolkata and in my younger days, I had seen a large number of vultures by the Ghats. However in the recent years I’ve hardly noticed any of them,” he added.

On wildlife photography, he said, “People have to be sensible and need to have ethics. It is essential to know the habitat well and it is really necessary to love them, as only then can you tell their story without harming them.” Sandeep, a member of the audience while appreciating the documentary said, “It was a good effort because not many people know about the importance of vultures. Vultures have become very rare and people need to realise that. The documentary as such wasn’t really scripted and had natural scenes. It was very informative and a good initiative to educate people.”

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