Sunday, February 20 at 8 p.m. – Nature "Broken Tail: A Tigers Journey"
(Rochester, NY) – Irish Cameraman Collin Stafford-Johnson spent 600 days in Ranthambhore National Park, India’s first tiger reserve, filming the story of Broken Tail’s life and his family. Stafford- Johnson teamed up with local guide Salim Ali for a journey that would teach them the importance of and lessons about tiger conservation. This project started out as an assignment for an up-and-coming filmmaker to find a tiger and tell its story, but soon became a remarkable journey they would never be able to forget. Nature "Broken Tail: A Tigers Last Journey" premieres Sunday, February 20 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV/HD (DT 21.1/cable 1011 and 11).
It started with Colin and Salim following a Tigress named Machli who soon became apparent to their presence. They followed her while she chose her suitor, and when her two cubs Broken Tail and Slant Ear were born into the reserve. Soon they realized that Broken Tail was a perfect match for them and started to follow him. He was adventurous, charismatic, fearless and determined. They knew this tiger was going to be an important tiger in the Ranthambhore Park and for their assignment.
They filmed him, becoming intimate in his life and everyday decisions until he was about two and a half when one day he disappeared. They wanted answers. They couldn’t understand what had happened to him, and why he would want to leave the reserve. They continued to search for him until a year later they learned his terrible fate. Broken Tail was killed by a train more than 100 miles away from Rathambhore in a place called Darra.
In honor of Broken Tail they decided to look for answers and try to retrace his steps. Colin and Salim’s journey of retracing Broken Tails Steps led them across Rajasthan providing glimpses of both historical and contemporary cultures in India and how they are fundamentally linked to tigers. Tigers were once a part of a large population that stretched across India and through out the subcontinent. This was until the growth of the human population pushed Tigers into safe reserves away from poachers that try and support there family illegally.
Along there journey they stopped and asked for clues if the people had seen Broken Tail. With the right questions, and asking the right people they followed Broken Tails last steps and ended up at the last place where people had seen Broken Tail. They determined his fate as a perfectly strong and healthy wild tiger accidentally killed by a train.
Hearing Broken Tail’s remarkable story, Sonja Gandhi, one of India’s most powerful politicians, was inspired to designate a new national park in Darra as a safe haven for tigers following in his path.
To learn more about this episode, visit the website <pbs.org/Broken-Tail-a-Tigers-Last-Journey>.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Crossing the Line
Caption: Irish cameraman Colin Stafford-Johnson and a tiger in Ranthambhore National Park in NATURE "Broken Tail: A Tiger's Last Journey."
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