Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Documentary traces life of shepherds, wolves

BENGALURU: At a time when there are alarming reports of man-animal conflicts, this tale of enduring relationship between nomadic shepherds and wolves is worth a watch.

Walking With Wolves, a 60-minute documentary by wildlife filmmakers Krupakar and Senani, shows how shepherds and wolves have defied challenges of the modern world and manage to cling on to a fragile co-existence.

Shot in Koppal and Raichur areas, the documentary tries to dispel myths about wolves, their behavior, strange bindings, survival strategies and adaptation to changing situations.

In the scrublands and agricultural fields of the region, it is a race against time not only for wolves but for nomadic shepherds too. In a terrain reeling under over-exploitation by humans, wolves hunt goats and sheep, and hover around shepherds. However, shepherds consider wolves as their 'brothers' because of age-old myths and never kill them. But for others, wolves are enemies as they hunt animals reared by them. "Wolves have learnt new tricks and prove to be larger than the myths surrounding them. We found evidence to show that some wolves have learnt to dismantle livestock pens methodically by pulling out the props and ropes which support them," the filmmakers pointed out.

The duo, inspired by Vallabha Chandra, a conservationist from Koppal, started their research in 2010. "The research took us to most parts of south and central India. However, the main part of the film was shot in Koppal and Raichur. It is difficult to estimate their numbers because of many reasons, including their habitat type and ecology," said Krupakar and Senani. They spent over three years shooting in open scrubland plains and agricultural lands.