Tulika Publishers launched  the book ‘Ira the Little Dolphin’, the third book of Shekar Dattatri, a a Chennai-based wildlife and conservation filmmaker, on June 7, 2014 at Alliance Francaise, Nungambakkam. This event was also an occasion for screening of the premiere of the film ‘Chilka – The Jewel of Odisha’.
Large group of people with many children filled the venue that evening. On arriving, Shekar Dattatri took a group picture with all the small kids. Aneesha Vijaykumar, from Tulika, gave an introductory speech to the event and also introduced Mr. Dattatri, though he is well-known and did not require any introduction.

Photos by Harishreya V & Sandhya V

Mr. Dattatri finds catching people young as the best way for wildlife conservation.
He mentioned that one of the reasons he started loving wildlife was because of the Gerald Durrel books that his sister had introduced him to, when he was young.

A few years ago, Chilika had been covered with weeds and water hyacinths. Then, the Chilika Development Authority had taken the initiative and had transformed Chilika into a wonderful place. So, Mr. Dattatri was all praise for the Chilika Development Authorities, during the event.

Mr. Dattatri spoke a few words on the Irrawaddy dolphins, and about how shy they were by nature, for people could only catch sight of their dorsal fin or the tail, mostly. He also commented that he had always went about everywhere for cobras, elephants and other land animals, but had quite ignored the aquatic ones. He told the audience that Dolphins are the most important animals in Chilika.

After this, the short film-‘Chilika- The Jewel Of Odisha’- by Mr. Dattatri, was played. It is a  film about the diversified wildlife found in Chilika, and also about the fishermen of Chilika.

Mr. Dattatri treated the kids as the special guests and launched the book ‘Ira the Little Dolphin’.

During the Question &Answer session, Mr. Dattatri entertained 8-10 questions from the audience. One of the interesting questions was about the composition of the Chilika lake. Chilika has brackish water. But its brackishness varies, and is not uniform throughout. Near the sea, it is almost salty. Near the river, it’s almost fresh. In between, the composition varies greatly. And, this is the reason why Chilika has such wonderful, diversified wildlife, Mr. Dattatri said.

Many children took photos along with the author of the book Mr. Dattatri and he signed the copies of the book for all of them.