As a filmmaker specialising in wildlife conservation I am unfortunately all too familiar with documenting the rapid decline of animal numbers around the globe. Recent projects have included the seal “cull” in Namibia, the decimation of Madagascar’s tortoise and shark populations and the slaughter of an estimated 100,000 turtles in one day in Bangladesh. Whilst all of these projects have contained a glimmer of hope for change much of what I have returned with has made for depressing viewing.
In this context it has been a real fillip to start preproduction for this film on the conservation of whale sharks and manta rays having just returned from my two most recent filming assignments with such positive and inspiring stories. In the Seychelles the scientists from the University of Essex were positively glowing as they told me how the good management of the marine park had led to the dramatic recovery of many coral species. Whilst in Qatar I was reinvigorated by the wonder of Mother Nature at her best. Here I witnessed and filmed not only hundreds of tiny hawksbill turtles making their way to the sea from a protected hatching site, but also the big daddy of them all in the fish world, the whale shark. It wasn’t just one either! I was fortunate enough to swim amongst an aggregation of approximately fifty whale sharks that were busy gorging themselves on zooplankton.
Witnessing how well managed marine parks and conservation initiatives can benefit both the marine environment and the people that depend on it, has given me real hope that this project can be a real stepping stone in the protection of these iconic animals in Mozambique. Having lived in Mozambique for four years I realise it will not be easy. However I hope you will return to my blog to see how the production progresses and watch and share the finished film on its completion.
All the best Chris