Couple Spends 26 Years Rebuilding an Ecosystem on Abandoned Land in India

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.

SAI Sanctuary: Website 
h/t: [Bored Panda]

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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