The Old Elephant Route

Elephants in the Magic Light

"The Old Elephant Route" had a worldwide distribution on television and for the first time time revealed the threatened splendours of Namdapha National Park. It is one of the last of the primary forests left in Asia and the only one where tropical vegetation grows below snow-capped mountains.



As a young forest officer in Assam in the 1930's, P.D. Stracey heard of an ancient migratory route of wild elephants on the border between Burma and India through the Chaukan Pass. He mentioned it in his book "Elephant Gold" but never saw it himself.

In 2000, Prajna CHOWTA decides to research the subject with the help of Surendra VARMA, a field biologist from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and Mujeeb KHAN, a Karnataka Forest Department mahout, based in Sakrebail, Shimoga. Their plan is to find out if elephants from northern Burma can migrate through mountain passes, and still communicate with elephants from Assam, in India and vice-versa.

It is a great challenge to undertake such an expedition, as the border has been practically closed since the Second World War and its access is restricted. Even today the area is politically sensitive, sometimes dangerous, and security remains under army control.
This film was the first ever made in this region.


Director: Philippe Gautier
The team of the Old Elephant Route Writers: Prajna CHOWTA, Philippe Gautier
Producers: Gioia Avvantaggiato, GA&A Productions, Rome, Serge Lalou, Les Films d'Ici, Paris
Line Producer: Réjane Michel
Camera: Philippe Gautier, S. Nagabushanam
Editor: Giuliano Papacchioli
Sound editor & Mix: Jean Malet
Maps Animation: Gianluca Rendina
Voice Over: Prajna Chowta, Simon Pare
Production Managers: Réjane Michel, Sabina Tranquilli, Patricia Conord
Film Archives: The Image Bank, Imperial War Museum, British Movietone News

Music: Igor Stravinsky "The Rite of Spring"
"Traditional choirs of the Bonpos"
Ocora Radio France

Produced in Association with Animal Planet, DISCOVERY International, La Cinquième and Tele +

Format: 52 minutes. Digital Video, color - Stereo
Sales (International): GA&A, Rome

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