This couple turned a wasteland into a rainforest. Here’s how they did it.

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This couple turned a wasteland into a rainforest. Here’s how they did it.

Pamela and Anil Malhotra had a dream: they wanted to create their own private wildlife sanctuary as part of their commitment to animals and nature.

It took over 23 years, but they did it. Today, they watch over 300 acres of rainforest in Kodagu, India, which hosts animals like Bengal tigers and Asian elephants.

But the process wasn’t easy. When they bought their first 55 acres of land in 1991, the plot had been stripped bare because of deforestation and abandonment by farmers. The couple bought up more acres of land like this, expanding their holding.

Then they undertook the painstaking, slow process of reforestation, planting native trees and flora and keeping poachers away. As the green cover grew back, it began to attract small animals and birds. Soon, larger animals followed.

As the forest grew, Anil and Pamela turned it into SAI Sanctuary, and made it a place where nature comes first. They do grow some coffee and cardamom — a native plant — on the land, farming organically, and run it on wind and solar energy. They are selective about which tourists they allow on the land, and don’t allow smoking or drinking. They don’t allow people to roam alone, and try to raise awareness about wildlife and poaching to the nearby villages and schools.

Today, SAI Sanctuary is a thriving ecosystem — as well as a testament to the power of what just a few people can do, if they use their resources wisely.

“For anyone who wants to bring a change, we advise them to set one single goal and believe that they can achieve it,” says the couple.

Watch Anil and Pamela in action, and behold the remarkable natural beauty of their sanctuary…

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