When they saw how pollution was destroying India’s fresh water supply and forests were stripped bare by unrestrained agriculture practices, this couple sold their home in America to rebuild a rainforest — and create the first private wildlife sanctuary on the subcontinent.
Pamela and Anil K Malhotra sold their home in Hawaii and started buying land in 1986. They purchased a 55-acre coffee farm and began planting native trees and plants.
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Much of the land in the area had been over-farmed, stripped of nutrients, and could no longer grow crops.
The Malhotras snatched up other smaller farm plots with the same problem and found the owners were happy to take money in exchange for the spent acreage.
Over the years, they assembled and planted 300 acres—and as vegetation returned, so did the animals.
More than 300 types of birds have flocked to the refuge, along with elephants, tigers, leopards, and other threatened and endangered species, all taking shelter in the renewed rainforest.
Their “Save Animals Initiative Sanctuary” in the Western Ghats mountain range, which parallels India’s west coast near the country’s southern tip, is not the only brilliant example of private citizens restoring acres of rainforest.
A man in Columbia took miles of desolate savannah without a tree or bird in sight and created a native rainforest in soil so acidic and inhospitable it was considered impossible by experts. Paolo Lugari’s called his 8,000 Hectares (30 square mile) project Las Gaviotas, “The Seagull” because the idea was inspired when he saw a lone seagull far inland from a distant sea and dreamed of what could be.
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