Directed by Amit V. Masurkar (‘Newton’), ‘Sherni is a poignant Indian drama film about Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Vidya Vincent (Vidya Balan), who has been recently appointed to her post in the jungles of Madhya Pradesh, India. After a female tiger, codenamed T12, comes into contact with the local villagers, the inevitable human-animal conflict ensues, and two people are killed. As a result, the issue gets muddled by the involvement of the politicians.
Vidya Balan starrer movie Sherni released on Amazon Prime today. Situated in the forests of Madhya Pradesh, the story of the film revolves around a female forest officer who leads a team of trackers and locals to capture an unsettled tigress alive. All this while battling several obstacles and pressures from nature and locals.
K M Abharna, a 2013 batch officer, who shattered several patriarchial stereotypes and worked for wildlife conservation wihout making much noise is the real Sherni not many people know of.
She was apparently the officer in charge in the case of the tigress Avni, who was shot dead in 2018.
She took charge as the Deputy Conservator of Forest, Pandharkavda division at a time when the situation was tense and people were agitating against the forest department for not being able to handle man-animal conflicts in the region properly.
From forming teams of female forest guards to be in constant touch with villagers to 24/7 monitoring and gridwise camera traps, she took a several steps to bring situation under control.
Her work in the field of reducing man-animal conflict has been commendable. She created an all-woman team of forest guards to educate people and raise awareness in tiger-populated areas of Maregaon and Pandharkawada Range in Maharashtra.
Before handling the crisis in Maharashtra, K M Abharna was posted as the incharge of Central Range of Kaziranga National Park, that houses the largest population of one-horned rhinos. During her posting there, she ensured zero-poaching of greater one-horned rhinos at Central Range.
Not just this, she also neutralised illegal fishing networks in the region and implemented plastic ban making the area plastic-free in 2016-17.
As an Assistant Conservator Forest (ACF), she contributed to a community-based study and detailed report on monkey menace by involving the local community to mitigate human-monkey conflict in as many as 40 villages of the Dergaon Range, Golaghat Forest Division, Assam in 2015.
She is currently posted as the director of Bamboo Research and Training Centre in Maharashtra.