Couple Converts 300 Acres of Barren Land into India’s First Private Wildlife Sanctuary
A couple has converted 300 acres of barren farmland in Karnataka into India’s first private wildlife sanctuary. The unused barren land was converted into India’s first private wildlife sanctuary by Pamela and her husband Anil K Malhotra. SAI Sanctuary trust also won the Wildlife and Tourism Initiative of the Year Award – 2014 for Eco-Tourism that protects forests and wildlife.
They have converted a barren land in Karnataka to a bio-diverse rainforest for elephants, tigers, leopards, deer, snakes, birds and hundreds of other creatures with in a time period of 25 years.
Malhotras’ Save Animals Initiative (SAI) Sanctuary in Brahmagiri involving 300 acres of land is the only private wildlife sanctuary in the country with more than 300 kinds of birds as well as many rare and threatened animal species.
These couples had a deep love towards nature from their childhood. When they visited Hawaii they understood about the real beauty of nature and forest. Pamela is a native of U.S.
“That is where we learnt the value of forests and realized that despite threats of global warming no serious efforts were being made to save forests for the future,” says Anil.
When they attended the funeral of Anil’s father in 1986, the environmental pollution in Haridwar really terrified them.
“There was so much deforestation, the timber lobby was in charge, and the river was polluted. And no one seemed to care. That was when we decided to do something to reclaim the forests in India,” says Anil, sitting below a dense canopy in front of their house facing the Brahmagiri hills.
Then they decided to buy large acres of barren land but couldn’t find any piece of land in north India. While searching for the land in south India, one of Malhotra’s friend commented that they should not expect anything in return from the land.
“We were not looking for money. Early on, we realized that shortage of fresh water would be a concern for India and the rest of the world. Acquisition, protection and reclamation of forested lands and wildlife sanctuary, where vital water sources have their origin, is the only way to save ourselves,” explains Anil.
Initially they bought the first 55 acres at the foothills of the Brahmagiri range and later they bought the lands on either side of the stream in the range and started fulfilling their dream to develop a bio-diverse rain forest.
“We started buying lands across the stream whenever they came up for sale. Many of the farmers considered their holdings ‘wasteland’ as very little grew on it and were happy to get money,” says Malhotra
“Once we bought the land, we allowed the forest to regenerate. We planted native species where necessary and allowed nature to take care of the rest,” says Anil.
Today, SAI Sanctuary covers approximately 300 acres, comprising different animal species as well as hundreds of indigenous trees and plants, which have medicinal value as well. The couples are providing awareness about the importance of afforestation to the public. They were able to wind up hunting and poaching there by setting camera traps. They are getting help from other trusts for the beautiful maintenance of the sanctuary.
This is a very good initiative taken by Indo – U.S. couples, isn’t? May this will create a deep impact on the environment friendly activities!!!