Seven Indian wildlife documentary films have been selected for British Environment Film Fellowships for 2006, it was announced on Tuesday.
Worth Rs 600,000 each, the fellowships have been awarded to Sonya V Kapoor, Gurmeet Sapal, Himanshu Malhotra, Jay Mazoomdar, Kalpana Subramanian, Ashima Narain and Balan as a step toward checking wildlife crimes.
"Wildlife crime is an issue of grave concern for all of us today. India is home to thousands of rare flora and fauna including the tiger, the sloth bear and the musk deer among many other endangered species," British High Commissioner to India Michael Arthur said while announcing the fellowships.
"We all have a role to play in helping to sustain this rich diversity and today, we are offering seven fellowships worth Rs 600,000 each to these enterprising filmmakers to document these challenges. Through this collaborative endeavour between the UK and Indian filmmakers, we hope to address the larger issues of conservation of some of the world's rarest species," he added.
The documentary filmmakers are expected to complete their work by December. The films will be aired on Discovery Channel and would also be screened in January at the Wildscreen Festival being held for the first time in India.
The world's largest and most prestigious international wildlife and environmental film festival, Wildscreen is organised every two years in Bristol.
The Indian filmmakers will be working on problems faced by very diverse species.
Sonya Kapoor's Once there was a purple butterfly film focuses on the extinction of butterflies in the Indian subcontinent, while Gurmeet Sapal's Killers of the king seeks to capture the beauty and vulnerability of leopards in the hills of Uttaranchal.
Himanshu Malhotra's Vanishing seas will deal with the unexplored world of marine trade that is not only depleting the seas but also endangering the habitat.
The endangered tiger and the forest-dwellers are the focus of Jay Mazoomdar's film The Hunted. The filmmaker will strive to highlight the need to offer the hunter a viable livelihood option to wean away from the lure of hunting and tiger trade.
Kalpana Subramanian's Turtles in a soup will train the lens on the turtle poaching and trade in the Gangetic river basin and Kolkata markets, while Ashima Narain's The last dance intends to highlight the intricate Indian Sloth bear poaching syndicate within the country and across the borders.
Crimes on elephants in Kerala - both domesticated and wild will find voice in Balan's The silenced witness.