Home Art & Culture Couple Bought 300 Acres Of Abandoned Land In 1991. 26 Years Later,...

Couple Bought 300 Acres Of Abandoned Land In 1991. 26 Years Later, They Turned It Into THIS.. I Can’t Believe My Eyes!

Pamela Gale Malhotra and her husband Anil Malhotra have spent 25 years of their life buying denuded and abandoned land in Karnataka’s Kodagu district and reforesting it. Today, the couple owns Sai Sanctuary, the only private wildlife sanctuary in India. It covers more than 300 acres of wildlife with more than 300 kinds of birds as well as many rare and globally threatened animal species, including Asian elephants and Bengal tigers.

“When I came here with a friend who suggested I buy this land, it was a wasteland of 55 acres. The owner wanted to sell because he couldn’t grow coffee or anything else here,” said Anil, an alumnus of Doon School, who worked in the real estate and restaurant business in the US before moving to India. “For me and Pamela, this was what we were looking for all our life,” he added.

Kodagu district is the part of India where the sanctuary is located, the area has suffered from a dramatic decrease in forest cover – from 86% in the 1970s to 16% today. “There was so much deforestation, the timber lobby was in charge, and the river was polluted. And no one seemed to care. That was when we decided to do something to reclaim the forests in India,” Anil told TOI.

In a new short film by CNN’s Great Big Story about the Malhotras and their inspiring work, Pamela explains, “First came the grasses, they came in thick. Then smaller shrubs; with them the insects returned. Then the trees, and with the trees, the monkeys and elephants.”

The couple is obviously have a deep passion for nature and animals. Their efforts to ensure the forests are a suitable shelter for the animals deserve all the respect and the appreciation. “We both feel a tremendous amount of joy when we walk through the sanctuary,” said Pamela. “I’ve never felt this kind of joy in anything else that I’ve done in my life.”

Kodagu district in South India is suffering from extreme deforestation

Image credits: Infinite Windows

But Pamela Gale Malhotra and her husband, Anil Malhotra, decided to fight

Image credits: Infinite Windows

So the couple co-founded SAI Sanctuary in 1991

Image credits: The Better India

Since then, they have been replanting trees and expanding the sanctuary. It now covers over 300 acres of wildlife

Image credits: Great Big Story

The area is home to more than 200 globally endangered species, including Asian elephants

Image credits: The Better India

“When we first came here, most of the lands that were sold to us, were abandoned lands”

Image credits: SAI Sanctuary

“Abandoned rice fields, coffee, and cardamom fields as well”

Image credits: Great Big Story

“[It] took a lot of care, energy, and years to bring it back”

Image credits: The Better India

“I remember walking through the forest, you wouldn’t hear anything but the sound of your own feet”

Image credits: Great Big Story

“Now, the place is alive with sound”

Image credits: Great Big Story

Pamela hopes that the forest continues to be protected and expanded

Image credits: Infinite Windows

“We both feel a tremendous amount of joy when we walk through the sanctuary”

Image credits: Great Big Story

“I’ve never felt this kind of joy in anything else that I’ve done in my life”

Image credits: Infinite Windows

Watch the couple’s video below