Jamnagar is currently buzzing with excitement as preparations are underway for the upcoming pre-wedding festivities of Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant. The couple is set to tie the knot from March 1 to 3. But that’s not the only reason for Anant’s happiness. He recently unveiled his passion project – a cause that is extremely close to his heart.

Launched by Anant Ambani, “Vantara” is a comprehensive Animal Rescue, Care, Conservation, Treatment and Rehabilitation programme. It sprawls across a whopping 3,000 acres within the green belt of Reliance’s Jamnagar Refinery Complex in Gujarat. Translating to ‘Star of the Forest’, the Vantara programme is an umbrella initiative to focus on the welfare of injured, abused and threatened animals, both in India and abroad. 

Director on the boards of Reliance Industries Limited and Reliance Foundation, Anant Ambani says “We are focused on protecting critically endangered species native to India. We also want to restore vital habitats, address urgent threats to species and establish Vantara as a leading-edge conservation programme.” 

Anant Ambani Vantara animal welfare initiative care conservation rescue treatment rehabilitation programme vets elephant centre zoo

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The animal exchange programmes were carried out only after procuring the prior approval of the Chief Wildlife Wardens of the respective states and the Central Zoo Authority as per provisions laid under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and the Zoo Rules, 2009.

Anant’s Pet Project

The youngest Ambani heir talked about his family’s love for animals, citing his parents as his primary inspiration for the new initiative. “What started as a passion for me at a very young age has become a mission now with Vantara and our brilliant and committed team.”

“We are focused at protecting critically endangered species native to India. We also want to restore vital habitats and address urgent threats to species and establish Vantara as a leading-edge conservation programme,” Anant added. They have collaborated with esteemed organisations like the IUCN and WWF to ensure their efforts align with global conservation standards.

Anant Ambani Vantara animal welfare initiative care conservation rescue treatment rehabilitation programme zoo

About “Vantara

A non-profit initiative, the elephant centre is closed to the public while the rescue and rehabilitation centre is slated to open its doors for educational institutions in a bid to increase awareness of conservation issues among people. Meanwhile, a 500-acre zoological facility is also in the works, which will be opened to the public in the future.

The Vantara ecosystem comprises an Elephant Centre, which is home to over 200 rescued elephants. The ‘Green Zoological Rescue & Rehabilitation Centre’ is home to over 2,000 animals across 43 species. There’s a dedicated team of 3,000 people to manage the entire project.

Case Studies

Reliance Foundation shared the story of a young elephant Tarzan who underwent a very complicated cataract surgery performed by the dedicated vets at the Vantara facility. Through advanced medical techniques and unwavering commitment, the team successfully restored Tarzan’s vision.

In another case, nine-year-old leopard Deva sustained grievous wounds and an infection on his neck after being trapped in the metal wire snare for two days. As soon as they received word from the forest department, a team of vets and experts from Vantara rushed to the spot and treated the leopard over the next few days, till its complete recovery.

The Elephant Centre

Over 200 rescued or injured elephants from all over the country, coming from unfortunate situations like circuses will have a 3000-acre forest to themselves now – a barren parcel until 1998 – alongside their mahouts.

Here’s what the Elephant Centre has to offer:

  • State-of-the-art shelters,
  • Scientifically designed day and night enclosures,
  • Hydrotherapy pools, water bodies, and ayurveda treatment sections,
  • A large elephant jacuzzi for treating arthritis in elephants,
  • A 25,000 sq. ft. elephant hospital, one of the largest in the world.

Keeping in mind their most necessary physical needs including their oral health, the nutrition of each elephant is curated by Professor Dr Petra Wolf. He is a renowned expert roped in from Germany last year, who is now leading a team of five nutritionists from India to prepare food for the rescued elephants in a special kitchen of over 14,000 sq ft.

Rescue & Rehabilitation Centre

Take a look at some of the animals rehabilitated at Vantara’s 650-acre centre:

  • Tigers rescued from the hunting lodges of South Africa
  • Pygmy hippos brought in from Sri Lanka while the country was undergoing a financial crisis
  • Over 1,000 crocodiles from a severely overcrowded and congested facility in Tamil Nadu
  • 200 leopards from all over India, who have suffered injuries in road accidents or man-wild conflicts

The animals at the centre as well as those rescued from accidents and brought in after recommendations, receive treatment at Vantara‘s hospital. Spanning one lakh sq. ft., possessing the most advanced technology such as ICU, MRI, CT scan, X-ray, ultrasound, and endoscopy units amongst others, this hospital ensures the best treatment for these creatures.

Celebrities & Influencers Applaud Vantara

The Internet was filled with positive reactions to Anant Ambani’s dream venture catering to animal welfare. We saw various celebrities and digital creators talking about and lauding the initiative.

Ranveer Singh took to his Instagram to share glimpses of the animal conservation facility. “A watershed moment in animal welfare. Anant, you have the largest and kindest heart ♥️🧿🙏🏽✨” he wrote.

An animal lover herself, Dolly Singh shared her love for this project on her Instagram story. She further thanked Anant Ambani for undertaking this novel initiative.

Anant Ambani Vantara animal welfare initiative reliance foundation dolly singh

BeYouNick also celebrates the launch of such a coveted establishment for animals around the world.

Anant Ambani Vantara animal welfare initiative reliance foundation beyounick nick

The Way Forward

Having given a fresh lease of life to many animals, birds and reptiles, Vantara is eyeing to partner with the Zoo Authority of India and other relevant government organisations. Their goal is to improve all the 150-plus zoos in India in terms of training, capacity building and animal care infrastructure. “We hope Vantara becomes a beacon of hope globally and can showcase how a forward-thinking institution can help the global biodiversity conservation initiatives,” said Anant Ambani.

Under Anant Ambani’s visionary leadership, Vantara emerges as India’s pioneering effort in animal conservation. It definitely is a monumental step towards a brighter, more compassionate future for our planet’s precious wildlife.