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Driving Elephants

Caught in the cross-fire of a shrinking forest habitat and an ever expanding urban population,
the elephants of Bannerghatta National Park are being pushed towards extinction. With
approximately 40% of the national park’s northern boundary surrounded by the ever expanding
city of Bangalore, inviolate forest space available for the elephant is being eaten away. Elephants
are forced to live in thin forest strips, on the edge, where they are often tempted out into
human-habitation by the crops marginalized farmers grow. Driving Elephants a 26 minute
feature film documents the harsh reality free ranging elephants in Bannerghatta forests are
faced with and the fatal consequences of coming out into human spaces. We are seeing a trend
of male elephants moving further away from the protection of the national park in search of
foraging grounds, namely into farms and plantations. For local communities to co-exist with this
large, intelligent and sometimes dangerous wild animal brings both economic loss and
sometimes danger to their lives. This puts the elephant in direct conflict with people, as a result
of which they are either injured, killed or captured. This documentary highlights the
insurmountable challenges the frontline staff of the Karnataka forest department is faced with in
protecting the elephant and the humans they come in contact with. Our hope through this
documentary is to bring awareness towards the ever precarious existence of the elephant and
the people whose lives are affected by the ensuing conflict.

  • Kirsty Wells
  • Kirsty Wells
  • Kirsty Wells
  • Avinash Krishna
    Key Cast
  • Ajai Desai
    Key Cast
  • Madanna
    Key Cast
  • Madhu
    Key Cast
  • Raja
    Key Cast
  • Ravi
    Key Cast
  • Ganesh V RFO
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Genres:
    Natural History, International, Wildlife, Independent, Documentary, Short, Foreign, India
  • Runtime:
    26 minutes 40 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    October 28, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    700 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    English, Kannada
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Kirsty Wells

Kirsty is a young documentary film-maker from Buckinghamshire (UK) with a keen interest in conservation. Having obtained a degree in Zoology from the University of Manchester in June 2018, she sought opportunities to combine her interests of documentary film-making and wildlife conservation. During her degree she worked extensively on the subject of wolf reintroduction, producing a short film about the impacts of human-wildlife conflict, in the context of reintroduced predators. This made the focus of NGO, A Rocha India's work on human-elephant interactions an ideal fit .
Kirsty independently shot and edited the film, in her biggest film-making endeavour to date.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

I worked alongside the devoted members of A Rocha India, an NGO devoted to the conservation of Asian Elephants in Bannerghatta National Park. We filmed for over 2 months during the pinnacle of crop-raiding, which occurs during the harvest season. Many days and nights were spent trying to document the elephants as they ventured into urban areas and we were largely unsuccessful capturing the action. However, with persistence and dedication, we did manage to shoot the elephants in action. Combining live action footage with interviews with various different stakeholders I hope Driving Elephants will educate people about the issue of human-elephant conflict around Bannerghatta National Park. I dedicate this film to the frontline forest department staff who work tirelessly, putting themselves in great danger to protect local people and these wonderful creatures. Often receiving a lot of criticism, we want the forest department’s efforts to be better understood and we hope local people will note the role they can play in the protecting the elephants future.