‘NATURE: India's Wandering Lions’
(DVD / NR / 2016 / PBS)
Overview: Witness the incredible story of Asia’s last wild lions, once on the brink of extinction but who now live dangerously close to the villagers of India. Against a backdrop of teak forest, farmland and villages, a unique relationship develops between lions and people, revealing a story not of continual conflict as we might expect, but one of survival and tolerance.
DVD Verdict: As India’s population booms, her legendary wildlife has been squeezed almost out of existence. But the commitment of the Indian people to preserve their wildlife is surprising – leading even to bringing back what has been lost. Against a backdrop of teak forest, farmland and villages, this film explores the extraordinary story of Asia’s last lions and their recovery from near extinction.
This Nature PBS special is a fine example of how people can live with wildlife. I think the widespread vegetarianism in India is what has lead people to view wildlife as neighbors, rather than "pests". I was saddened by the scene in which a conservation officer lures out an injured lioness with food, then shoots her from a tree. Since lions are such an endangered species, I am surprised that in Gir Forest, injured animals are hunted down, rather than live captured and brought to a wildlife centre.
Shooting wildlife reflects the colonial legacy of the national park system. It does not reflect the vegetarian Ahimsa culture of most of Gujarat's citizens. Overall, this is a positive episode. I found it inspiring just how forgiving Gujarat's citizens are of wildlife. Even when a mother lioness killed a man to protect her cubs, the family was brought to a wildlife rehabilitation centre and subsequently moved, not killed and dissected like in North America when a wild animal kills someone. When lions kill livestock, it is accepted as part of the food chain. No retaliation is done. Watch this, buy this, and learn to love our beautiful nature again. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.