forty–year legacy of working with wildlife through filming, monitoring, researching and creating awareness about our ecosystem, particularly in Ranthambhore, show conservation efforts as an important aspect of our operations at SUJÁN. From the time Jaisal’s parents, Malvika and Tejbir first arrived in Ranthambhore in 1974 to film and create awareness about the region’s extraordinary wildlife, until today, when the Forest Department of Rajasthan can count on us to provide help and support for their own conservation efforts, SUJÁN continues to play a pioneering role. For us, conservation defines the preservation of both our natural heritage as well as the rich cultural traditions of India.
Our commitment to conservation engages with issues at two levels. The first is the practical, hands–on assistance and support we provide to government and non–governmental agencies working with anti–poaching programmes, forest monitoring and wildlife research. The second is through the creation of awareness about wildlife, the environment and the need to save habitats. From providing vehicles to the Forest Department for regular patrolling and donating troop–carriers to their teams, to digging wells for providing water in newly added areas of the Park, our conservation efforts operate even when Camps close during the monsoon.
Prolific afforestation, particularly pre–monsoon, the use of local materials in low impact construction such as mud walls and grass banks, and a careful use of fuel are just some of the ways in which we help reduce the carbon footprint around Ranthambhore. Our farm and dairy help preserve gene strains of indigenous poultry and cattle while providing homegrown produce, tended by local farmers.
While we work with anti–poaching teams at Sher Bagh, Ranthambhore, we also support and showcase the vibrant music traditions of Manganiar folk performers at The Serai, Jaisalmer, to promote their bardic traditions to ensure these voices never fade into oblivion. At JAWAI, our field team has carried out critical research documenting the behaviour of species inhabiting the unmatched landscape around our camp and with SUJÁN Rajmahal Palace opening in Jaipur, we continue to unlock the secrets and history of the magnificent capital of Rajasthan.
Working for conservation principally means working with local communities living in and around wildlife habitats. That over 82 percent of our team is drawn from local communities is a statistic we are proud of. Imparting skills, conducting language courses and providing local communities with an independent source of income goes a long way in not just building trust, but making them stakeholders in the preservation of the ecosystem. Thus, while providing knowledge as well as economic sustenance, we also invest in areas upon which lives – particularly in rural India – depend.
Over the last five years, over 3000 local villagers have been treated at our camps, which have witnessed a progressively higher number of women patients, year on year. In 2015 alone, 604 patients were examined and treated for a range of ailments. Our veterinarian services have attended to nearly 70,000 animals over the last five years, leading to a significant drop in cattle disease such as ‘foot and mouth’.
Local schools have been adopted for the purpose of intensive teacher training programmes to upgrade the skills of local teachers and inject higher standards of teaching at the most crucial level of primary education in rural India. Plans are also in place to partner with communities in creating awareness and knowledge about local wildlife so that all of us can coexist in greater harmony with our wild neighbours.
At JAWAI, we have done pioneering work in researching many facets about the leopard population as well as the supporting prey species. While this is ongoing we are working with the local people as well as sections of the Forest Department to ascertain the behavioral characteristics of the leopard population. A catalogue of bird species has already been processed taking the count of existing species from an estimated 77 to over 150. A special initiative to train and utilize the skills of our local Rabari herdsmen is underway and JAWAI Leopard Camp currently employs some of these charismatic people at camp.
For the purpose of imparting awareness, SUJÁN holds key conclaves and discussions with experts, scientists and concerned government officials. Our aim is to ensure that every guest who participates in a SUJÁN experience leaves better informed and more passionate about the need for best conservation practices. SUJÁN has been committed to these principles from the day we began our operations, in circa 2000.
W ith each of our properties being set in diverse locations bound by historical and cultural importance, we offer guests a chance to experience the destination through tailor–made excursions. Within the State of Rajasthan our properties lie close to four of the six UNESCO hill forts. Together, these reflect the elaborate, fortified seats of power of Rajput princely states that flourished between the 8th and 18th centuries.
Dastkar Ranthambhore is a non–profit organization that produces handicrafts created by local women, from an area around the Ranthambhore National Park. The organization was founded in 1989 to empower and provide income to villages in the neighbourhood of the tiger reserve. At Sher Bagh we are committed to the idea that craft can be a powerful social, economic, and cultural force with enormous potential to transform the lives of the poor. We are proud to have been supporters of Dastkar. Guests can have an opportunity to engage with the women and watch them at work. The products include apparels, toys, quilts, pillows, throws, and more. The centre is a short walk or drive from camp.
Jaisal’s family put Ranthambhore on the map through their pioneering filming of tigers in the wild and in 1988 along with the late Fateh Singh Rathore and other prominent conservationists, they established The Ranthambhore Foundation, a non–governmental organization (NGO), working closely with the communities around the park
The SNS Foundation (SNSF) represents the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of our larger conglomerate ‘ANAND’ and has spent over five decades establishing social initiatives that provide health services, education, gender empowerment, meaningful training and skill sets to communities wherever our organization has a base. Our aim is to help create an economically progressive and environmentally sustainable society that lives in harmony with itself.
Elephant Pepper Camp has been the driving force in creating the Mara North Conservancy (MNC), which covers a core parcel of approximately 30,000 hectares bordering the Masai Mara National Reserve to the north, effectively increasing its size by 21 percent. The conservancy, established in 2009, provides some of the Masai Mara ecosystem's prime game viewing, whilst guaranteeing over 800 Masai landowners stable revenue, transparent financial management and the preservation of the ancient balance between wildlife and traditional pastoralism. Elephant Pepper Camp is one of the few camps in Kenya to have been awarded a ‘Gold Level’ Eco Rating by the internationally recognized civil society organization, Eco Tourism Kenya, for two consecutive years.
Tiger Watch is a non–governmental organization (NGO) registered in Mumbai under the Bombay Public Trusts Act. This organization has, as its primary objective, the conservation and protection of wildlife, at the Ranthambhore National Park, Rajasthan.
The Zoological Society London(ZSL) runs conservation programmes in Britain and over 50 countries worldwide; the conservation of wild animals and their natural habitats is fundamental to its mission. ZSL works with local communities to conserve the environment and promote sustainability. For over 180 years the Zoological Society London has played an essential role in convening experts to address challenging science and conservation issues, including hosting high–profile public meetings, symposia, national and international workshops. Throughout the world they work with governments, civil society and the private sector to conserve species and habitats.
H ospitality is one of the 25 economic sectors identified by the Government of India to boost employment opportunities and enhance quality production, contributing to local economies through this initiative. While many chain hotels source their products from the least expensive destinations, a stress on generating local employment, sourcing local produce and giving back directly to local communities has always been our practice. One of the underlying objectives of ‘Make in India’ is to conduct operations with minimal negative impact on the environment. In our practices SUJÁN from the day of its conception in 2000, has been committed to these principles long before they became fashionable.
he national campaign to keep India clean has always had our full support. Litter cleaning drives have been an intrinsic part of our operations. The next step of providing permanent solutions for the eradication of litter and the means for efficient garbage disposal, is our current mission. Not only do teams, led by senior members of SUJÁN, practice regular litter removal from all our locations, we also provide infrastructure for waste disposal to villages in our vicinity and train members of local communities to implement this in a systematic manner.
Alongside the physical installation of easy to clean, mobile, waste–disposal units, recurrent workshops on the need to dispose garbage carefully are also regularly conducted. Local village councils have been trained to restore hitherto unused land to grow fast growing trees which in turn can be profitably sold, bringing revenue directly to the village councils or panchayats.