Couple Spends 25 Years Planting a Rainforest, Hundreds of Endangered Animal Species Return

Rivers, rain, and exotic species like tigers, elephants, and leopards all returned to the once-arid countryside thanks to this husband-and-wife team. Anil Malhotra and Pamela have been turning over 300 abandoned acres of countryside in Southern India into a flourishing paradise since 1991.

Planting trees and reintroducing native species was all it took. Before decades of rigorous cultivation turned it into a desert, Southern India was covered in a beautiful tropical rainforest.

However, as trees were cut down to create room for agriculture, rainfall levels dropped, and water sources like rivers and aquifers ran dry. The pair worked to reforest the property and let it rewild itself after seeing the connection between drought and deforestation.

According to what Pamela states in the video below, the rainforest is responsible for more than half of the precipitation in those regions. She adds that hundreds of kilometers distant, on the plains, rain is produced in part because the rainforests trap moist air flowing in from the ocean.

The Malhotras’ native area of Kodagu has seen its forest cover decrease from 86% in the 1970s to less than 16% now as a direct result of agricultural practices.

The Malhotra family rapidly learned that the forest required more than just trees; it also required animals, particularly large ones.

Including the civet cat, river otter, gigantic Malabar squirrel, several varieties of deer, snake (including the Indian King Cobra) and monkey, fox, dhole (Indian wild dog), jackal, Asian elephant, leopard, and even the Royal Bengal Tiger, the Save Animals Initiative Sanctuary is host to over 200 endangered animals.

There are 700-year-old trees in the sanctuary, and each of them is home to at least 50 different kinds of flora and animals.

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