This is Gajraj.
Gajraj survived almost 51 years as a temple animal,
much of that time in chains.
That all changed This year, when he was rescued by an Indian organization called Wildlife SOS. At Wildlife SOS’s Elephant Care Center Gajraj will finally have the freedom to live out the rest of his life the way an elephant should.
The heartbreaking truth about his story is that Gajraj is one of the lucky ones. Urbanization is pushing leopards onto farms and macaques into cities. The inevitable confrontations with humans often result in injury or death. Innumerable poached elephants and snakes are forced into servitude in brutal and unhealthy conditions while turtles and birds are sold to the pet trade where most die during transport.
Wildlife SOS has asked me, as a filmmaker, photographer and storyteller, to collaborate with them to create a call to action for Indians to protect wildlife. For six months in partnership with Wildlife SOS staff, I will create outreach and education materials that challenge perspectives on wildlife and return more animals like Gajraj to the life that they deserve.
People are the greatest threat to India’s wildlife. And only people can change that. We are going to create videos that inspire action and ignite conversations with a wide variety of Indian citizens. This project will use visual storytelling to cultivate grass root leaders that stand up for animal welfare all across India.
The work that we create will be placed directly into the hands of the Police and Forest departments through regular workshops with Wildlife SOS. We have the ability to stimulate conversations around practical solutions with state officials that encounter animal welfare issues and enforce the law. On the local level, our content will accompany Wildlife SOS staff to community gatherings as educational material. We will reach India’s youth on social media as well as through workshops and schoolrooms countrywide.
And while I’m there, I will be training Wildlife SOS photographers and outreach staff in video production so that long after I leave, they can translate their mission and their hard work into compelling educational material.
And we need your help to bring this project to life.
Click the link below to see our Gofundme page!