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Expert wildlife tracker featured in documentary seeks aid


Nov. 30, 2019

The Irula tribesman, Bomman, is struggling to make a living and has appealed to the government for a pension
An expert wildlife tracker, noted for being a significant part of the award-winning Krupakar-Senani wildlife documentary on the elusive dhole, is struggling to make a living and has appealed to the Nilgiris district administration for welfare assistance.
The tribesman, Bomman, an Irula tribesman from Theppakadu, features prominently in the 2006 wildlife documentary, Wild Dog Diaries , filmed in Mudumalai and Bandipur Tiger Reserves. The film is noted for helping enhance researchers’ understanding of the elusive dhole, also known as the Indian or Asian wild dog.
However, Mr. Bomman, who supported his family with a stipend from the Indian Institute of Science, whose researchers he assisted in tracking down wildlife in the Sigur plateau, retired more than four years ago. He also worked for the forest department as a temporary staff member.
“Over the last few years, I have grown older and I am unable to support myself. So I have appealed to the district administration to sanction a pension that will help me and my family make ends meet,” said Mr. Bomman who is now 65 years old.
Bomman’s wife, Varsi, said that the family’s dilapidated home in Theppakadu is in need of urgent repairs too, while Bomman’s poor health is also costing the family, as he needs medicines to address multiple health issues.
“After the documentary came out, many people used to seek him out due to his reputation as an expert tracker, and we made enough money to get through each month, but gradually, our income has ceased due to my husband being unable to work,” said Varsi, who said that Bomman was open to sharing his vast knowledge about tracking different species of wildlife with the younger generation.
“More youngsters from our communities are losing their connection with the forest, so Bomman could even help the forest department in helping to manage the forest with his vast indigenous knowledge of wildlife,” she said, urging the district administration to sanction old-age pension for her husband. “We have been told that we should meet concerned officials in December, so we hope that the sanction for the pension is given,” she said.
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