Couple Spends 25 Years Planting A Rainforest, Hundreds Of Endangered Animal Species Return

Pursuing a dream in life is not always easy, but the hard work and dedication pay off every single time. The planet is eager to see and feel the changes every one of us is able to make, so we should never hesitate to try, act, and create impact.

Remember that you can always start from scratch, as nowadays, you do not have an excuse of no barriers, money, or time.

Pamela and Anil Malhotra always knew what their dream in life was, but they came across numerous obstacles before they managed to make it come true.

After many years, in 1991, they found a suitable area in Southern India and started planting trees. Nowadays, their 300 acres of dry and deserted farmland is an oasis they created, known as Save Animals Initiative sanctuary.

Pamela explained:

 “We are very fortunate and blessed that our dreams became a reality with Sai Sanctuary. By being one with nature we’ve found peace and solitude within that have set the path for our lives. Believe in your ability to make your dreams come true.”

Save Animals Initiative Sanctuary. The trees they planted brought rainfall, streams, and rivers back to the land. 

Their main mission is to “ protect and preserve the last remaining natural Wild Places of the Earth—especially equatorial rainforests—thereby safeguarding our vital water sources as well as the planet’s rich biodiversity of both flora and fauna for ourselves and future generations.”

The area they chose was previously a lush tropical rainforest, but centuries of extensive farming have turned it into a desert. As trees were cut to make way for crops, the rivers and aquifers dried up and the rain stopped falling.

The couple was aware of the link between deforestation and drought, so they started planting native trees to help the area rewild.

Pamela explained that the forest produces more than half of the rainfall in rainforests, as they capture moist air from the ocean.

She says:

“So the forest is helping create above above-ground and below-ground water sources.”

The Malhotras initially bought a 55-acre coffee estate and started planting jackfruit, numerous fruit trees, Matti, Nandi, and Rosewood.

“Patches were cleared for coffee. So what we did was to fill up the patches with native trees. And, of course, the native trees come out way on top in absorbing carbon.”

Nowadays, the forest cover of the district of Kodagu, where the couple lives, is less than 16 percent, much less than the 86 percent in the 1970s, as a result of destructive farming practices and deforestation for construction and development.

Pamela adds:

“This is having disastrous effects on rainfall patterns and water supplies, not just in our district, but throughout the southern peninsula of India.

Her husband added:

“Streams and rivers originate from forests. That’s why so many have dried up or drastically reduced in size- deforestation. Without forests, there is no fresh water.”

Apart from trees, they knew they needed animals to keep the forest alive.

According to Pamela:

“There are 30 species of trees that are fully dependent on elephants for propagation because their seeds are so big only elephants can swallow them down and pass them whole. So, without the elephants, you don’t have these trees. 

If we can piece back together the migration corridor of elephants, and other great landscape animals, we’re protecting forests for all the other animals too.”

Nowadays, the Save Animals Initiative Sanctuary includes 700-year-old trees, which serve as micro-ecosystems for more than 50 other species of plants and animals, and more than 200 endangered species, like the river otter, jackal, fox, civet cat, giant Malabar squirrel, monkey, various types of deer, and snake (including the Indian King Cobra), dhole (Indian wild dog), leopard, the Asian elephant, and even the Royal Bengal Tiger.

Pamela stated:

“We’re not only seeing more of the species we had in the past, but even additional ones, some of which are quite endangered like the Nilgiri marten and, of course, the Asian elephant.

Over the past few years, the Asian elephants have come to the Sanctuary and given birth four times -- two boys and two girls. We have grass eaters like Sambar and Chital. We have also seen leopard cats. They come here because they feel safe. There is plenty of water. They can bring infants here without fear of human interference.”

She adds:

 “We use our sanctuary as a living laboratory. It becomes a way for people to see how Mother Nature if given half a chance, will regenerate herself.”

She explained that this has been the most fulfilling experience in their lives, and they would love to pass the lessons they’ve learned to others, as “our future as a beautiful living planet is dependent on it.”