"India’s development vs conservation conundrum" with Shekar Dattatri

Past Event

06 October 2014, 5:15pm

Herbertson Room, OUCE
Herbertson Room, OUCE, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3QY

This seminar is hosted by the Oxford Centre for Tropical Forests

Speaker: Shekar Dattatri, naturalist, wildlife filmmaker, conservationist, author, and co-founder of India’s premiere conservation portal, www.conservationindia.org

More conservation happened in India when it was a ‘poor country’ back in the 1970s and 1980s, than in the succeeding decades when the country began to emerge as an economic power. Today, the material aspirations of a 300 million- strong middle class, and an ‘economic growth at any cost’ national mindset, threaten to wipe out many of the conservation gains of the past. As an active participant in the conservation debate in India, filmmaker and conservationist, Shekar Dattatri, will speak about the churning that is happening and what it might mean for India’s tigers, elephants and the rest of its incredible biodiversity.

Shekar’s career started at the age of 13 when he enrolled as a volunteer at the Madras Snake Park. Years later, after graduating with a degree in Zoology, he got an opportunity to assist documentary filmmakers in the making of a film on snakebite. After making a few nationally acclaimed environment films in the late 1980s, Shekar spent 8 months with Oxford Scientific Films learning advanced techniques in natural history filmmaking and was subsequently catapulted into the world of wildlife filmmaking. In 2000, after a string of successful international productions for various international broadcasters (including National Geographic, Discovery Channel and the BBC Natural History Unit), Shekar made a conscious decision to step away from television to focus on conservation advocacy. Instead of making expensive films aimed at millions of passive viewers around the world, he transformed himself into a “barefoot” filmmaker, making hard-hitting films on local conservation issues targeted at Indian decision makers in influential positions.