Indian wildlife documentaries to watch

India's varied topography offers a variety of wildlife, flora and fauna


Poacher, the web series on wildlife crime being streamed on Amazon Prime, is getting rave reviews. Directed by Richie Mehta of Delhi Crime fame, and starring Nimisha Sajayan and Roshan Mathew among others, Poacher is about forest officials getting to the bottom of an ivory smuggling racket. 

Here's are some documentaries and docu-series on India's flora and fauna, which will help you appreciate the diversities in the country's wildlife and why it is important to conserve them.

Wild Karnataka: This documentary celebrates the diversity of the state of Karnataka. This documentary, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, gives a glimpse into the state's flora and fauna. And into the large number of elephants and tigers. It has been filmed over four years using drones and hidden cameras. Background music for the film has been provided by Grammy-winning Ricky Kej. It was directed by Amoghavarsha an Indian filmmaker and wildlife photographer, who has worked with National Geographic and BBC. Watch it on YouTube.

Elephant Whisperers: This one won the Academy Award for the best documentary short film. It was directed by Kartiki Gonsalves. It tells the tale of Bomman and Bellie, a couple in Tamil Nadu’s Mudumalai, who care for an orphaned elephant, Raghu. The couple works tirelessly to ensure Raghu's well-being. Watch it on Netflix.

Chilika - the Jewel of Odisha: Chilika, Asia's brackish lake and lagoon, was considered a dying wetland until it was scientifically restored. It is the largest wintering ground for waterfowl in the subcontinent. It hosts migrant birds from Central Asia, Siberia and Europe. The short documentary showcases the biodiversity at the lake. The film has been directed by Shekhar Dattari. Watch it on YouTube.

A Dream of Trees: This documentary follows the work of two scientists, Divya Mudappa and TR Shankar Raman. In 2001, they set out to restore degraded tropical rainforests in the Anamalai Hills of the Western Ghats. The duo go about doing this with the help of tea and coffee plantation companies. As the restoration progresses, it revives the forest, bringing back wildlife. Watch it on YouTube.

The Real Black Panther: This documentary short, follows the tale of Saya, the only black panther in Nagarhole Tiger Reserve's Kabini. In this film, directed by John Cullum, Saya is shown wanting to challenge the status quo and stake his claim to the throne. Watch it on Disney+Hotstar.

Gaur in my Garden: This documentary is directed by Rita Banerji, a conservation filmmaker. It showcases human-animal interactions and conflicts in Kotagiri, Nilgiris. It mainly focuses on the experiences of the residents with the Indian bison, a threatened and endangered species. Watch it on YouTube.

The Jujurana's Kingdom: This documentary short, made by Munmun Dhalaria, journeys into the life of the colourful and vulnerable pheasant, Jujurana. The bird is native to Hazara in Pakistan and Uttarakhand in India. The film highlights what it takes to protect the species. Watch it on YouTube.

On the Brink: This docu-series showcases various species of animals across India. The series brings in local conservationists, environmentalists, scientists, and biologists, who talk about wildlife and the various methods that are implemented to protect endangered species. It takes us through various habitats across the country, following the rarest of animals and the effect climate change has on their life. Watch it on Disney+ Hotstar.

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