Anil and Pamela Malhotra have transformed the ecosystem of 300 acres of denuded farmland in Karnataka into India’s first private wildlife sanctuary.
The couple have turned a stretch of Karnataka’s forest into a one-of-kind flora and fauna reserve
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.
The Malhotras have dedicated their lives to cultivating a vibrant ecosystem on deforested land
Starting with just 55 acres of private land, the SAI (Save Animals Initiative) Sanctuary, located in the Kodagu district in the Indian state of Karnataka, 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.”
The Malhotras 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.
The sanctuary, which offers a unique experience to the visitors, runs completely on solar and alternate energy.
For days of heavy rainfall in the monsoon, the three small windmills meet the needs of providing enough electricity to the sanctuary.
See below as the couple explain how they nursed a rainforest back to life.
Stay & Help: Eco-tourist Cottages at SAI Sanctuary
Eco-tourist cottages are open for guests! Located within the Sanctuary grounds, these eco-friendly cottages give you the opportunity to experience first-hand the peace and beauty of the Sanctuary while being surrounded by the wonders of Nature in all Her various forms—large and small, flora and fauna.