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Wildlife on lens for a cause

Jorhat, July 12: The prehistoric one-horned rhino surveys its realm in the Kaziranga National Park, two Asiatic elephants lock trunks, a pair of rare Griffon vultures face off in the Pani Dihing bird sanctuary, the ruddy Shelduck soars from the waters and the huntsman spider waits patiently for its prey.

All these and more are captured in minute detail by eight lensmen in the three day photographic extravaganza-cum-sale on wildlife, put up at the Fine Arts Society gallery at Mithapukhuri here today, by the Association for the People and Environment (APE). All of this has been done for a cause.

Udayan Borthakur, secretary general of APE, said the proceeds of the sale would be spent for the benefit of people residing in the fringe areas of forests, national parks and sanctuaries.

“Public awareness is particularly important in biodiversity hotspots such as the Northeast, which is home to many threatened wildlife species. Photography, as a popular media for mass communication, can play an important role in such awareness campaigns. Whatever money is got from selling the photographs will be spent to uplift and hold programmes for those living near wildlife habitats,” Borthakur said.

The stills, which capture the variety and magnificence of the Northeast’s fauna, have been framed in black wood and glass. The prices range from Rs 1,999 to Rs 4,999.

From the slow loris to the black-capped langur, from a tableau of four species of vultures to a soaring hornbill and a variety of insects, snakes, toads and spiders, the mind-boggling array enthrals and enthuses.

In his inaugural address today, cinematographer and Rajat Kamal awardee Charu Kamal Hazarika said the exhibition was not just of photographs, but of photographs as an art form.

Narrating an event, Hazarika said he once shot an adjutant stork carrying a large snake in its beak and eating it atop a tree, right down to the last gulp. “It requires immense patience and an element of luck to capture the beauty of wildlife. I believe that even fishes and birds have expressions in their eyes because the stork was eating the snake on top of the tree but throughout its eyes was focused on me, watching me click away on my camera,” he said.

DFO N.K. Malakar said he hoped that the campaign would awaken the conscience of the people enough so that they report violations of the Wildlife Protection Act to the forest department.

Dhruba Jyoti Barua, a civil engineer at Dibrugarh said photographing wildlife was his passion, but regretted that he did not have as much time as he wanted.

He has also put up a website on wildlife, www.dhrubazaan.in, which completes one year today.

Besides Borthakur and Barua, who had the majority of photographs on display, the other photographers included Diganta Gogoi, Saurabh Kumar Das, Ranjan Kumar Das, Pranjal Kumar Das, Samrat Sengupta and Debashish Roy.

Registered under the Societies Act in August 2012, APE is a concept initiated by a group of professionals with a motivation to usher a new era, where socio-economic justice and wildlife conservation can attain equilibrium.

It has held a workshop on photography, a health camp at Bhelaguri near the Gibbon wildlife sanctuary here and also held an essay contest.


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