SAI ( Save Animals Initiative) sanctuary, India’s 1st and only private sanctuary.
After moving from Hawaii to Himalayas with the genuine aim to set up a sanctuary, Pamela and Anil Malhotra at last settled in hot spot of lush green western ghats, at Kodagu district, Karnataka. Back in 1991 the couple bought 50 acres of barren land from farmers, and gradually 50 became 300 acreage.
Now after 27 years, with tirelessly efforts of planting native trees, stopping poaching personally, engaging with local people, creating awareness on conservation and with the Constant love for nature mother, they have created a beautiful home for numerous animals, around 300 species of birds and thousands of indigenous trees.
Visit http://www.saisanctuary.com/cont.htm to know more about the wonderful work they have been doing.
our first guest for the is Mrs. Pamela Gale Malhotra, co chairperson and secretary of SAI Sanctuary Trust
Q1.How did your journey of wildlife start ?
It goes back to my childhood, I was bought up in East coast of USA, we had lots of trees in our backyard which bordered the forest of one the wealthiest person of the area. He had large estate whith small wildlife.Luckily he loved children, so he allowed us to play in his forest. So from early age I loved wildlife and forest. And then, there is my mother’s connection from native American, so she always loved every aspect of nature and wildlife. It is combination of where I grew up and environment I was able to spend my formative years, which meant unlike children of today, I was out all the time, Observing wildlife, interacting with wildlife. We always had animals at our home, be it rescued dogs, squirrels, rabbits.
I grew up in that kind of background. It’s firmly rooted there and I am never ever a city person ( chuckles).
Q2.What is that one experience that has set you on track with wildlife ?
You would have to go back to 40 years, the experiences in forests with my husband, Anil.
Our first experience with Chickadee, a kind of nut-hatcher bird. It trusted us, to be able to come near us,play a game of hide and seek, and it sat behind us to see how far we could turn/twist our heads around to look at it.
It was not just the the joy of being with nature but we had spiritual connect.
Yes, that would have the been the earliest experiences of setting our goal. The goal to live and work in nature.
‘We had something to work for and see the light at the end of the tunnel and keep going.’
Q3.What inspires you to overcome your hardships everyday?
What brings me through those obstacles is just being with peace of nature. No matter what obstacles , if I am able to spend any time in heart of nature, where I am able to experience peace and calm, it puts me back.
Q4.Do you think there is still a positive or constructive end for us ?
I think, a lot of that depends on use of the world, if you haven’t read an article written by Rex weyler, the original co founder of Greenpeace. It’s about a 15 year old girl, Greta Thunberg, addressed the COP 24 UN climate conference. She finally said what the political delegates have failed to say.
If that kind of commitment is moved by majority of young people, then there is hope. But I have to say a major part of young population in India is poisoned by consumerism of the west.
The concept of keeping up with your neighbors, trying to prove your superiority over others. This mentality is opposite of what we need right now on the earth for survival.
We need co – operation and willingness of sacrifice, if we are to survive as species. Earth will survive one way or other. She will continue to evolve and recover from what we have done or doing to her. But we, as a species may not.
So we have to change the complete Attitude towards nature, from treating as a resource to living being, we should respect and love her because we have evolved at her heart. We have to return that heart and help healing it, by healing the forest and wildlife.
Secondly, we are grossly over populated. And If we don’t stop over populations voluntarily, then nature will do it in a difficult way, it maybe a human specific plague, famine or climate change we are bringing about. In her ability to regaining the balance, a lot of people may die. since we are grossly overpopulated we use over 50% of resources and leave less than 50% to other species.
All we do is consume. Other species are critically important for proper functioning of nature.
Last segment : Dissolving Delusion
Q5.What is the one misconceptions you want to eradicate?
I would probably say that, the predominant feeling of humanity now is that, we have to conquer, manipulate and control Nature. That is the most absurd Attitude to a force that’s far more powerful than we will ever be. Which has given rise to the attitude of taking what we want more than what we need and exploiting nature and other species in every way without any thought or consideration.
We need to realize, that we are not on this earth to control Nature . We are here because we evolved in Nature and we can’t remain here unless we work with the nature.
It’s isn’t a question of conquering but a question of co operating.