The Big Five
While most of the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries boast of harbouring say one of the biggest mammals, Kaziranga National Park holds all of them in a sanctuary that stretches up to 1 lakh acres. The park has the distinction of being home to the world’s largest population of the great one-horned rhinoceros, Asian elephants, water buffalo, Eastern swamp deer and jungle cats, tigers and leopards.
Kaziranga National Park has been described as one of India’s “Biodiversity Hotspot”. Largely influenced by Asia’s largest river Bramhaputra, the region is divided into four types of vegetation. The sanctuary comprises of the largest avian population such as hornbills, snake-birds, pelicans and grey-legged geese. One can also find other stunning creatures such as fish-alligators, otters, monkeys and turtles. The sanctuary is mainly surrounded by tea plantations.
Based on the insights of the National Park journeys the award winning documentary, Bastion of the Giants, produced and directed by Mr. Sumesh Lehki. The story revolves around the lives of the Asian elephants and other wildlife creatures of the Northern Eastern jungles of India. It also deals with the challenges of conservation and human-animal interaction and conflicts of the region.
Throughout history, elephants have been considered as one of the main deities of the Hindu culture. Asian elephants native to the land have been here in the sanctuary for generations. They are the mammals that define the ecosystem. They eat around 14-18 hours and drink up to 150 litres of water a day. Lately, due to the depletion of resources and encroachment of poachers, elephants have been losing their grip in the evolutionary ladder. The documentary also highlights the concept of sustainability.
Mr. Lekhi , a bold and passionate activist from Mumbai, has been working on conservation of the environment for the past 6 years. “The idea for this documentary appeared when I thought I should sensitize the crowd about how huge animals are neglected in the wild and how we ignore their requirements,” says Mr. Lekhi. “We all have forgotten our roots to our instincts after living in the city for so long. So the need to be in the forest should come from within,” he adds.
Rahul is a 6th grade student studying in Malleshwaram. “I like visiting the zoo. My mother brought me for this movie to see animals,” says Rahul hesitantly. “My favourite was the one-horned rhinoceros. I want to protect them,” added Rahul.
Rashmi Lekhi, loving wife of Mr. Lekhi was a part of the movie production and helped with the sounds. “Time stands still in the wild,” says Rashmi. “The whole journey was an exciting process and the time we spent to spread this message across has paid off,” added Rashmi.