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Christmas film for animal lovers
- Documentary on elephant calf kalinga

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 18: This Christmas, the Orissa forest department has a bitter-sweet offering for the state’s people.

A documentary on Kalinga, the calf who died recently after being taken care of by forest personnel for 40-odd days, is ready to be launched on the last week of December, a time that also coincides with the silver jubilee celebrations of Chandaka sanctuary.

The eight-month-old calf was abandoned by her herd after she fell into a ditch near Kalinga Studio on May 5 and was rescued by forest officers. Mahout Chilu Nayak, looked after Kalinga for over a month. “We have preserved clips of the time when she was rescued and her games with forest personnel and her mahout in the sanctuary,” said divisional forest officer-in-charge of the sanctuary Akshay Patnaik.

Forest officers had kept Kalinga on the edge of sanctuary hoping she would be taken back. While their wishes did come true and Kalinga joined her herd, 10 days later her body was found in Bharatpur forest, on the city outskirts. It was concluded that Kalinga died after failing to cope with the harsh weather.

The stay of the calf was a rare occurrence and the media and environmental enthusiasts recorded her stay. “Once we decided to make a documentary, we contacted all those who had the footages. They were collected and handed over to Animesh Singh, a wildlife enthusiast who also has experience in documentation work. Animesh offered to work for free. The only money we spent was on editing that comes to around Rs 5,000,” said Pattnaik.

Patnaik has penned the 15-minute script for the documentary. With the dense Chandka forest as its backdrop, the film would be made in Oriya and English. The film that took five months to complete is the first-ever attempt made by the Orissa forest department. “The documentary would help create awareness and will be aired on television channels soon.”

It would also be shown in in adjoining areas of Chandaka. “Hopefully villagers would learn about elephants and that may lessen the degree of man-animal conflict,” he said.

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