Into The Jungle (2019)
August 2019: Finishing the edit of the 10 min film for screenings.
February 2019: Initial overarching structure of the project outlined below. Naturally, due to challenges and limitations being a one-man band (producing, interviewing, shooting, editing), the scope of the project evolved while in Nepal. I narrowed the focus without losing some of the key messages.
INTO THE JUNGLE
A Documentary Film
Celebrating successful conservation policies and practices
“There is still a window of time. Nature can win if we give her a chance.” - Dr. Jane Goodall
Over the past 100 years, the earth has witnessed the loss of 97% of tigers. While poaching remains an existential threat, tiger habitats are being carved up as humanity’s growth and encroachment continues. This is drastically raising the likelihood of extinctions and ecocide.
To combat this, we all can and must play a role in resisting humanity’s destructive forces to protect the earth for future generations. This includes protecting the forest habitats of the last remaining “charismatic megafauna” such as tigers, and reducing human-wildlife conflict while creating financial opportunities for local populations. By protecting these forest habitats, we mitigate climate change impacts and protect endangered species. Forests are safe havens for endangered species, but they also act as a natural climate change solution by drawing carbon pollutants from the air – this will benefit other ecosystems and local communities in the region.
The film is intended to raise awareness of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species and the global goal announced in December 2018 by an array of organizations of conserving 30% of all land and ocean by 2030. As of 2018, 14.9 percent of the Earth’s land surface and 7.3 percent of the world’s oceans are formally protected. Nepal currently protects almost 20% of its territory. Discussing how Nepal can conserve more territory without negatively impacting local populations is also a question worth answering.
The Project: What is the Khata Corridor, why is it so important, what has made conservation successful here and where does the project go next?
By traveling to the Khata Corridor of the Terai Arc Landscape, connecting Nepal’s Bardia National Park and India’s Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary, I will document the region and the people (e.g. CBAPU’s, women leaders) working to ensure wildlife maintains its critical role in the future. My goal is to visit communities (e.g. Khata and Dalla) and gain a better understanding of their work on the front line protecting tiger habitats and the tiger population’s continued growth in the 21st century. These activities will support the 2010 St. Petersburg Tiger Summit’s goal of doubling the tiger population by 2022.
By illuminating the successes and continuing challenges of this multifaceted project, I hope to show what is working and what can be improved. This documentation will add to the argument that it is worth protecting what will surely disappear over the next few years without the deployment of powerful conservation forces.
Other questions I may ask there might be: What does the tiger mean to you? What is the jungle/the forest to you and your community? What is your relationship with the land? What does protecting these creatures and the forest mean to you? Should Nepal protect more of its land to protect more endangered species - from 20% to 30%? How can Nepal achieve this?
The act of making the film offers the possibility of developing new social-professional connections, showing respect to those people implementing the policy and educating others on how collaborative projects such as this can be successful. As the world retreats from multilateralism, as the World Economic Forum Global Risk’s Report recently stated, we need to remind people that international projects such as this that emphasize the local needs of populations can succeed and provide long term economic benefits.
Several artists and conservationists have already signed on to participate in the film including Nepalese conservationist Manoj Guatam, biologist and explorer Dr. Niall McCann of National Park Rescue, Dr. Paul O’Donoghue of The Lynx UK Trust and artist Stephanie Dandan.
We are living in the Anthropocene era and our impact as a species is irrefutably global. Finally though, there is a rapidly growing industrial-scale mobilization of resources towards 21st century technologies in major economies, primarily pushed by the younger generations (though it needs intergenerational support). The de-carbonization building spree is underway and it will be a profitable endeavor for those with the foresight.
However, in more isolated pockets of the world, the small groups of people protecting the last of a species are making a necessary stand against the wave of human progress that has consequently led to the loss of many creatures. My hope is that we all choose to protect and preserve rather than disrespect and destroy in our race onwards and upwards.
The intended first stop in Nepal will be on March 3rd, Community Based Anti-Poaching Unit (CBAPU) Day, when different groups come together to celebrate and reaffirm their commitment to wildlife preservation.
To support this project, please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org
If your organization would like a particular place documented or interview filmed in Nepal during March or April, please get in touch.