Spotlighting Conservation Through the Eye of the Tiger
Tiger 24, a documentary by Warren Pereira BA ’99, was released in 2022 to strong acclaim. It’s contributing to public awareness of tiger conservation and raising questions about human relationships to large predators in their natural habitats.
When Warren Pereira BA ’99 graduated from Lewis & Clark, he was driven to create a multitude of impassioned short films. As a biology major, he acknowledges it was an unexpected path; however, it’s one he’s fully embraced due to his love of filmmaking. Making films has been a major part of his life over the past 15 years.
Pereira’s most recent project, Tiger 24, has encapsulated what he hopes to achieve through the documentary form, merging his own unique filmmaking style with important messaging surrounding animal conservation. The film has already received acclaim for depicting the true story of a tiger that was removed from his habitat in Rajasthan, India, for allegedly killing multiple people who encroached on his territory. Pereira is currently wrapping up the theatrical release for Tiger 24 in India after its North American release last fall.
“The story of T-24 had to be told because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime historic story,” Pereira said. “I felt a responsibility to do it because I’m the only person in the world with the 4K ultra-high definition footage on T-24. I went to the limits of investigative journalism to get everything that was needed to make the film.”
After graduating from L&C, Pereira moved to Los Angeles to write a feature film but ended up being intrigued by the stories of endangered tigers in his home country of India.
“I decided to make a tiger documentary because originally I’m from India, where tigers are an important part of the culture,” Pereira said. “I also studied animal behavior while at Lewis& Clark, so I had that background. Plus, I obviously had a film background. So I started going to different tiger reserves to find a subject tiger.”
He became interested in the story of T-24, a male tiger residing in the Ranthambore National Park. Three years into Pereira’s film project, T-24 was removed from the park and placed into a zoo, which created a spirited national conversation.
“It turned out he was a tiger that had allegedly killed a few people, so there was this big ‘man-eater’ sort of connotation around him,” Pereira said. “T-24’s case eventually went to the Supreme Court of India, billboards were erected, TV and news shows were made about him. It galvanized an entire nation.”
Pereira notes that through preservation of a tiger’s habitat, the ecosystem and biodiversity within it will be preserved as well. In telling the story of T-24, he hopes that his documentary will serve as an engaging way to underscore the importance of conservation.
A charismatic character like T-24 allows you to look at conservation in a way that’s entertaining and compelling while still bringing up important issues,” said Pereira. T-24 has since passed away.
Pereira has new film projects in the works, including a documentary about a tiger named Bamera. It’s another commentary on the lack of space for large predators, but this time, Pereira plans to take a different approach to telling the story.
“I want to have it be about 50 percent with my live-action documentary footage in the field and about 50 percent through animation, because there are gaps in the story that I don’t have on camera. I think it will be very compelling to mix the formats as I envision it,” said Pereira.
Ultimately, Pereira wants people to draw their own conclusions about the best possible remedies for addressing the conservation issues raised in his films. He recognizes the value in having discourse around these topics.
“I don’t want to say I have a solution or a prescription for these problems,” said Pereira, “but I think my films start that conversation.”
—by Gabe Korer
Tiger 24 is available for streaming on all major digital platforms. For more information about the film, including a schedule of screenings and festivals, visit t24movie.com.