|• Type||Panchayat raj|
|• Body||Gram panchayat|
|Time zone||UTC+5:30 (IST)|
|ISO 3166 code||IN-KA|
SAI (Save Animals Initiative) Sanctuary is located in the Kodagu district in the Indian state of Karnataka. SAI Sanctuary is the only private sanctuary in India. It is spread over an area of 1.2 square km. It is managed by SAI Sanctuary Trust. SAI Sanctuary trust won the Wildlife and Tourism Initiative of the Year Award – 2014 for Eco-Tourism that protects forests and wildlife.
Dr. A.K. Malhotra and Pamela Malhotra, the NRI duo behind this amazing SAI (Save Animals Initiative) Sanctuary Trust first went to the Himalayas, but as the laws in the Northern part of the country have a land ceiling of 12 acres, they came down South to give shape to their dreams of preservation and protection of nature and wildlife. They bought around 55 acres of unused and abandoned land from the farmers who were not using it due to excess of rainfall in Kodagu district of Karnataka. The passion to expand the green cover grew stronger and they kept buying lands from farmers who weren’t using them. This way the land was used and also farmers got money to repay their debts as the land was anyway lying idle. Gradually the 55 acre forest cover became larger and today covers 300 acres of the land.There were a lot of native trees that already existed there. The couple decided to retain those and follow three important rules: no chopping down of any tree, no human interference and no poachers. And with this thought, the efforts to make a wildlife sanctuary started in 1991. After 23 years, their unmatched passion for wildlife and nature has helped them transform the 55 acres of barren land in 1991 into a one-of-its-kind wildlife sanctuary spread over 300 acres, probably the only private sanctuary in the country! The sanctuary also has a beautiful river in the middle that is home to several aquatic species like fishes and snakes, including the King Cobra. The huge trees and thick forest has also helped several birds like hornbill find their homes. There are over 305 species of birds that visit this sanctuary regularly. 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 decided not to disturb those and planted more native trees around the existing ones. As the green cover expanded, the animal and bird species increased too. The flora of this sanctuary includes hundreds of varieties of indigenous trees, many of which are of medicinal value. The couple has grown 10-12 acres of coffee and around 15 acres of cardamom on the land. They are also involved in organic farming on the same land. 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. When Malhotra couple started this sanctuary, they invested their own money. Now they are a registered not-for-profit trust which runs on donations which get tax exemptions.
Apart from funds, another challenge comes while patrolling the sanctuary. As the area is very large it is hard to keep track of the poachers. To counter this, they spread awareness about preserving wildlife and nature in schools and nearby villages.
The couple, passionate about wildlife and nature conservation, bought 55 acres of land to plant native trees and protect the environment. Today, they are responsible for creating over 300 acres of wild life sanctuary that hosts animals like Bengal Tigers, Asian Elephants, Hyena, Wild Boar, Leopards, Sambhar, etc.
- "The Couple Who Bought Barren Land In 1991 And Transformed It Into A 300 Acre Wildlife Sanctuary". The Better India. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
- "Green Initiative". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
- The Outdoor Journal (12 February 2015). "Award-winning couple attempts to save India's rainforests by buying them up". The Outdoor Journal. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
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