In 1991 Pamela Gale Malhotra and her husband, Dr. Anil Malhotra opened the only private wildlife sanctuary in India, SAI Sanctuary. Now, 26 years later, their 300-acre sanctuary is home to more than 200 endangered species, ranging from the Asian elephant to the Indian King Cobra.
Starting with just 55 acres of private land, the sanctuary has grown progressively. “When we first came here, most of the lands that were sold to us, were abandoned lands,” Pamela shares. “Abandoned rice fields, coffee, and cardamom fields as well. A lot of deforestation had taken place. And that took a lot, a lot of care and energy and time and years to bring it back.”
Patiently building layers of nature to bring back the ecosystem, the 300 species of birds that fly through the forest canopy is proof of success. Staring down their skeptics, the sanctuary has become a biodiversity hotspot. “I remember walking through the forest, you wouldn’t hear anything but the sound of your own feet,” Pamela recalls. “Now, the place is alive with sound.”
They hope to continue expanding the sanctuary, allowing the wildlife an even larger safe haven and moving toward their goal of a restored balance between man and nature.
Pamela Gala Malhotra and Anil Malhotra have dedicated their lives to cultivating an ecosystem on deforested land in south India.
“People think that animals need the forest. But the truth is, the forest needs the animals equally. While the forest helps animals in providing shelter and food, animals help forests in regeneration,” explains Dr. Malhotra.
Learn more about India’s only private wildlife sanctuary in this short documentary.
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