Pamela and Anil K Malhotra, a passionate couple with a deep love for nature and wildlife, embarked on a journey to create India's first private wildlife sanctuary, Save Animals Initiative (SAI) Sanctuary, located in the Kodagu district of the Indian state of Karnataka.
For us, it was a dream come true. We had always been concerned about the fast-paced deterioration of the natural environment and the loss of wildlife habitat due to human interference. We felt the need to take action and contribute to the conservation of India's biodiversity and natural heritage.
We purchased 300 acres of denuded farmland and began the process of transforming it into a thriving wildlife sanctuary. We used reforestation, soil conservation, and sustainable agricultural practices to improve soil health, protect biodiversity, and provide food and income for local communities. The effort wasn't easy, but seeing the land come to life and the wildlife thriving in their natural habitat made it all worth it.
The wildlife sanctuary started in 1991. After 23 years, they had transformed the 55 acres of barren land they bought in 1991 into a 300-acre sanctuary with a river that is home to fish and snakes, including the King Cobra. The huge trees and thick forest helped several birds like the hornbill find their homes. There are over 300 species of birds that visit this sanctuary. Several cameras are installed across the sanctuary to identify new animals and keep a track on poachers.
When the Malhotra couple purchased the land, there were already native species of cardamom and other trees that were planted. They planted more native trees around these. As the tree cover expanded, the animal and bird species increased. The flora includes hundreds of varieties of indigenous trees.
The couple grow 10-12 acres of coffee and around 15 acres of cardamom. They are involved in organic farming. The sanctuary is off-grid and it runs completely on solar and alternate energy. It is a registered not-for-profit trust which runs on donations which get tax exemptions.
The SAI Sanctuary is now home to a wide variety of species including elephants, leopards, tigers, gaurs, sambars, sloth bears, wild pigs, and many species of birds, reptiles, and butterflies. The sanctuary serves as an important resource for scientific research, education, and ecotourism. We feel proud that our sanctuary has become a destination for nature enthusiasts, wildlife lovers, photographers, researchers, and anyone looking for an opportunity to escape the stresses of modern life and experience the tranquility and beauty of the natural world.
We understand that the conservation is a continuous process, and it requires consistent management, research, and monitoring. This is why we have a dedicated team in place that works tirelessly to ensure that the sanctuary is well-maintained and the wildlife is protected. We also work closely with other conservation organizations to raise awareness about the importance of preserving India's natural heritage and to advocate for conservation policies.
Creating the SAI Sanctuary has been a fulfilling and rewarding experience for us. It has given us the opportunity to make a real difference and contribute to the protection of India's wildlife and natural environment. We hope that our sanctuary will serve as an inspiration for others to take action and work towards the conservation of nature. We believe that if we all do our part, we can protect the earth's wildlife and habitats for future generations to enjoy.
On International Women's Day in 2017, she was in New Delhi where she was awarded the Nari Shakti Puraskar by President Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.