Living with Elephants

Promoting human-elephant coexistence is crucial across elephant ranges, as, in most places, elephants and people are interacting with each other frequently. Collective efforts by various sections of the society play a vital role in increasing people’s tolerance towards elephants and reducing pressures on them. Basic scientific understanding of ecological and behavioural aspects of elephants and their interactions with people is critical in identifying appropriate solutions.

This movie, filmed by renowned filmmaker Saravanakumar focuses on the coexistence measures initiated by the Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) on the Valparai plateau in the Anamalai hills. These current initiatives are based on long-term (1994 – 2014) scientific monitoring of elephants.

The 220 sq km of Valparai plateau is a matrix of tea and coffee plantations with interspersing rainforest fragments. This plateau, a part of the Anamalai landscape, is home to 80-100 elephants and supports about 70,000 people. Living with elephants is inevitable and coexistence here is desirable. This movie showcases locally adaptable and feasible technological facilities with the involvement of local stakeholders to empower people to manage human-elephant conflict in the plantation dominated landscape of the Valparai region. The movie hopes to promote understanding the significance of science-based conservation initiatives coupled with participatory approaches in conflict mitigation and elephant conservation.

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  1. M  Ramaswamy

    Twenty five years back, there were NO other brushes available except those made with mongoose hair. Today there are many many synthetic brushes available which are excellent and of consistent quality. Branded paint brushes like Camlin, etc. sold in plastic folders are not made of mongoose hair anymore. Today, mongoose hair brushes are sold loose and have lesser brand names like Sugam etc. Well known art-material dealers in big cities like Bangalore or Delhi are afraid to show their clients brushes made of mongoose hair unless specifically asked. If they do have them, they claim they are ‘old stock’ and they say they no longer purchase those. They are also afraid of getting ‘raided’ by the wildlife department.
    Mongoose hair brushes are crudely crafted compared to the machine made synthetic ones, and they also lose their strands way too fast to make GOOD brushes.
    Compared to synthetic brushes, mongoose hair brushes are not durable.
    This film would have been complete if only they had shown CLOSE-UPS of all the types of brushes and shown the difference between synthetic brushes and mongoose hair brushes to the viewers.
    But kudos to the sting operation in unearthing the whole illegal business.
    In smaller towns, many art material dealers still buy and stock mongoose hair brushes along with synthetic brushes. They even show them readily enough because they are completely unaware that these are illegal.

  2. M  Ramaswamy

    Even Sugam has synthetic hair brushes sold alongside the loose sold mongoose hair brushes. These brushes are marked ‘synthetic’.
    Not all lesser brand brushes are mongoose.

  3. M  Ramaswamy

    The article on the WTI website shows some more brushes close-up. Those fan type wide brushes shown there are not available in India as far as I know. They say they were seized from an ‘exporter’.
    If anyone comes across mongoose hair brushes, they should report the matter to the wildlife wing of their town/city.. Or write in to CI with the address of the dealer?

  4. Ramki  Sreenivasan

    Maya – Thanks for the elaborate feedback. It makes a lot of sense coming from an accomplished artist / painter like you. I will pass on your feedback / suggestions to WTI who made this film plus have an ongoing program in putting an end to this brutal trade.