Bomman and Bellie Amma are a caretaker couple from Tamil Nadu, India, who have dedicated their lives to protecting elephants. Growing up in the forest, they developed a unique bond with the majestic animals and worked tirelessly to preserve their habitat for over four decades.

Bomman and Bellie Amma belong to a community of forest dwellers who have living in the region for centuries. They have a deep understanding of the forest and its inhabitants, particularly the elephants, whom they consider family members. Using traditional methods passed down through generations, they communicate with the elephants using unique sounds and hand gestures. This communication helps them to understand the animals’ behavior and intentions, which they use to protect them from threats.

Their love for elephants began in their childhood. Their father, also a forest dweller, taught them to respect and protect the animals. They learned about the importance of maintaining a balance between humans and wildlife and were determined to do their part to preserve it.
As they grew older, they became more involved in protecting the elephants. They often ventured deep into the forest to search for animals needing help. They would provide medical care for injured elephants, and sometimes they would even hand-feed them.

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Their efforts were noticed. The local forest department recognized their unique abilities and appointed them official elephant trackers. They would track down elephants that had strayed from their herds and bring them back to safety. However, their work was not without its challenges. The biggest threat to the elephants came from poachers who would kill them for their ivory tusks. Bomman and Bellie Amma knew they had to do something to stop this.
They started organizing awareness campaigns in their community to educate people about the importance of protecting elephants. They would also patrol the forest and report suspicious activities to the authorities.

Their efforts paid off, and poaching incidents decreased significantly. The local authorities recognized their contribution to the protection of elephants and awarded them for their actions.In recent years, they have become more involved in conservation efforts. They have been advocating for the preservation of the forest and its inhabitants. They have also been working with local NGOs to promote sustainable livelihoods for forest dwellers, which would reduce their dependence on the forest for their livelihoods.

An historic day for India at the Oscars as two Indian movies won awards at the prestigious event. One of them was “The Elephant Whisperers”, which won the award in the “Best Documentary Short” category. “The Elephant Whisperers”, directed by Kartiki Gonsalves, is the story of how Bomman along with his wife Bellie Amma take care of an orphaned elephant named Raghu, who is injured and needs to be brought back to health. Gonsalves has previously worked as a social documentary filmmaker, photojournalist, and natural historian.

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On Wednesday, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M.K. Stalin, extended his congratulations and felicitations to Bomman and Bellie, who serve as caretakers at Theppakadu Elephant Camp. The duo had been featured in the Oscar-winning short documentary film, ‘The Elephant Whisperers’, directed by Kartiki Gonsalves. Furthermore, the Chief Minister announced a grant of Rs. 1 lakh to each of the 91 elephant caretakers in the two camps from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.

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