Space: the single largest factor facing conservation today!
As the human population continues to explode, so too do our demands on the land. We, like every animal, require food to sustain ourselves. Being creatures of consumption and excess, the recent years have seen a seemingly uncontrolled expansion of agricultural land and encroachment of humans and their livestock into nearly every corner of the earth. The result has been a drastic reduction in the land available to animals… humans and animals are on a collision course. Around the world you can see countless examples of how human growth, and supposed progress, has come at the expense of the indigenous wildlife.
I had read about a place which was an exception to the global rule of man’s dominance over wildlife. A place where people and leopards coexisted in a culture of respect; a place where leopards move through the rural villages and where pilgrims trekked past leopards on their way to ancient temples. Having worked with most of the big cats in three continents, experiencing human-wildlife conflict first-hand, I decided that I had to see this place for myself. It was this, which bought me to India three weeks ago. I had arrived in a country with a population of over a billion. Space here comes at a absolute premium.
SUJAN had made the decision to build a low impact, luxury tented-camp in the area and I decided to go and assist in setting it up. They are determined to contribute to the conservation of not only the leopard, but of the extraordinary relationship, mutualism, and way of life that exists in this area. They want to expose people to the lesser known of the Indian cats whilst providing a perfect setting for discussion, relaxation and enjoyment.
Located midway between Udaipur and Jodhpur, nestled in a bowl of granite cliffs and rolling hills is JAWAI Leopard Camp. Here you have the opportunity to witness something remarkable. The chance to explore rural India whilst on safari.
Although the focus of the camp is on the remarkable leopards, the experience goes well beyond that. A visit here is an exploration of culture, history and new approaches to providing space for animals to thrive. You will leave with a refreshing view on the human-wildlife dynamic.
I look forward to sharing our journey with you…
Written and photographed by Adam Bannister