by Suman Gupta
- Big cats is the theme of the global celebration of this year’s World Wildlife Day on March 3.
- A big cats film festival hosted by CITES and Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival at the UN headquarters in New York City
- Big cats are key apex predators that keep ecosystems healthy, and eight species are being celebrated for the event: the clouded leopard, jaguar, cheetah, leopard, lion, snow leopard, tiger and puma.
Thursday, March, 2018, New Delhi – Indian wildlife conservation film “Gyamo – Queen of the Mountains” produced by Riverbank Studios, written & directed by Doel Trivedy and Gautam Pandey wins top honors at the UN-sponsored International Big Cats Film Festival organized by Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival On the World Wildlife Day celebrated on March 3, 2018.
“Big cats are among the most widely recognized and admired animals across the globe. However, today these charismatic predators are facing many and varied threats, which are mostly caused by human activities. Overall, their populations are declining at a disturbing rate due to loss of habitat and prey, conflicts with people, poaching and illegal trade.
The winning film under Local Voices category is about Gyamo, a snow leopard and her 2 cubs, who haven’t been seen since a big male snow leopard appeared in her area. The wildlife filmmaker duo Mike and Gautam return to Ladakh to pick up trail and find the cubs. Exploring the amazing landscape of Ladakh they discover there are many challenges that surround this endangered cat and threaten their very home.
Celebrating this great success, Mr. Mike Pandey, India’s greatest wildlife filmmaker at Riverbank Studios said, “Gyamo…Has been one of our toughest calls… challenging hostile terrain…and an elusive big cat…critically endangered and just a handful struggling for survival. We needed the film to high light the multifarious challenges the snow leopard is facing. The world needs to know .When a flagship species goes the whole ecosystem begins disintegrate nature n ecosystems are all about Balance.
The true stories about big cats went beyond simply being visually mesmerizing and engaging. They show the challenges facing these iconic species, and they feature the front-line heroes and the solutions that are necessary if we are going to be able to save populations of big cats around the world.
The films can be viewed here –
- Gyamo – vimeo.com/246258417| Password – snow queen
Over 200 entries were submitted for the international competition, and they were reviewed by 60 preliminary judges over seven weeks after which they determined the 16 finalists. The short list then was passed on to the final judging panel, which selected the winners from among the 16 finalists were announced at the high level celebrating world wildlife day.
Another film, looking for Sultan was a finalist in issues and Solutions category at the same festival. This film has touched many serious conservation issues including India’s highest landfill on the outskirts of Leh. Feral dogs are another largely unaddressed by extremely serious issues that directly threatens India’s wildlife. Reports of wildlife being killed by feral dogs are frighteningly common and frequent. In this film there are sequences of an endangered brown bear being surrounded by a pack of dogs.
The production company is Riverbank Studios- www.riverbankstudios.com both films Gyamo and looking for Sultan are currently on air on Animal Planet and Discovery Channel.
About Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival (JHWFF)They promote public awareness and stewardship of wildlife and wildlife habitat through the innovative use of media.
About United Nations World Wildlife Day On 20 December 2013, the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 3 March as World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild fauna and flora. The date is the day of the signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973. World Wildlife Day has quickly become the most prominent global annual event dedicated to wildlife. It is an opportunity to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora and to raise awareness of the various challenges faced by these species. The day also reminds us of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime, which has wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts.