Reliance Foundation Announces New Animal Welfare Initiative 'Vantara'

Reliance Foundation Announces New Animal Welfare Initiative 'Vantara'

The Vantara initiative, the first of its kind in India, has been conceptualized and birthed under the passionate leadership of Anant Ambani, Director on the boards of RIL and Reliance Foundation.

ANIUpdated: Monday, February 26, 2024, 04:15 PM IST
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Anant Ambani | Pinterest

Reliance Industries and Reliance Foundation on Monday announced the launch of the Vantara (Star of the Forest) programme, an umbrella initiative to focus on the rescue, treatment, care, and rehabilitation of injured, abused, and threatened animals, both in India and abroad.


Spread over 3000 acres within the Green Belt of Reliance's Jamnagar Refinery Complex in Gujarat, Vantara aims to be one of the leading contributors to conservation efforts globally.


By working with leading experts in animal care and welfare, Vantara has converted a sprawling 3000-acre space into a jungle-like environment that mimics the natural, enriching, lush and verdant habitat for the rescued species to thrive in.


The Vantara initiative, the first of its kind in India, has been conceptualized and birthed under the passionate leadership of Anant Ambani, Director on the Boards of RIL and Reliance Foundation. Ambani is also spearheading Reliance's ambitious renewable energy business in Jamnagar, and, in that capacity, is responsible for leading Reliance's journey to become a Net Carbon Zero company by 2035.

Vantara is focused on creating best-in-class animal conservation and care practices, including state-of-the-art healthcare, hospitals, research, and academic centres. Within its programmes, Vantara also focuses on integrating advanced research and collaboration with reputed international universities and organisations such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF).


Over the last few years, the programme has rescued more than 200 elephants, and thousands of other animals, reptiles and birds from unsafe situations. It has undertaken initiatives in key species including rhino, leopard and crocodile rehabilitation.


Of late, Vantara has also taken part in foreign rescue missions in countries like Mexico, Venezuela etc. It recently brought in several big animals answering a call from Central American zoo authorities. All such rescue and rehabilitation missions are undertaken under strict legal and regulatory frameworks in India and internationally.


Speaking at the occasion, Anant Ambani said, "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, address urgent threats to species, and establish Vantara as a leading-edge conservation programme. We are delighted that our efforts have been recognised in India and internationally.

Some of India's and the world's top zoological and medical experts have joined our mission, and we have been blessed to receive active collaborations and guidance of government bodies, research and educational institutions. Vantara aims to partner with the Zoo Authority of India and other relevant government organisations 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."

Vantara has a centre for elephants

Explaining the philosophy that inspired him to establish Vantara, Ambani added, "Vantara is a combination of the age-old ethical value of compassion with the excellence of modern scientific and technological professionalism. I see Jeev Seva (animal care) as a seva towards the almighty as well as humanity."


Vantara has a centre for elephants and facilities for several other large and small species, including lions and tigers, crocodiles, leopards, etc.
Anant said during media interaction, " The process is going to be ongoing. We build slowly and slowly. This is something which will take a lot of time, we don't have a definite answer...Every time, we will be adding something new. We started the wildlife rescue center building at the peak of COVID. The whole world was suffering, and we all had time to think about it. So, in the peak of COVID, we started building the wildlife rescue center."

Elephant Centre


The Centre for Elephants at Vantara is spread over a large part of the 3000 acre premises with state-of-the-art shelters, scientifically designed day and night enclosures, hydrotherapy pools, water bodies, & a large elephant jacuzzi for treating arthritis in elephants. It is home to over 200 elephants, who are cared for round-the-clock by a specialized and trained staff of over 500 people, including vets, biologists, pathologists, nutritionists, and naturalists.

The centre has a 25,000 elephant hospital, one of the largest in the world, fully equipped with portable x-ray machines, laser machines for diverse treatments, a fully equipped pharmacy, a pathology for all diagnostic tests, an imported elephant restraining device for diagnosis, hydraulic pulleys and cranes, hydraulic surgical table, and a hyperbaric oxygen chamber for the elephants. The hospital carries out cataract and endoscopic guided surgeries (with a first of its kind specially designed endoscopy equipment) and is capable of executing any surgery necessary.


The centre has a special kitchen of over 14000 square feet dedicated to preparing a curated diet for each elephant keeping in mind their most necessary physical needs, including their oral health.
The centre also applies ayurveda techniques to care for the elephants, from the application of hot oil massages to multani mitti, ayurveda practitioners also work round the clock for the elephants.

Rescue & Rehabilitation Centre


For other wild animals that have been deployed in circuses or congested zoos, a 'Rescue and Rehabilitation' centre of over 650 acres within the 3000 acre premises has been created where animals from distressed and dangerous environments from India and all over the world are rescued and housed in state-of-the-art large enclosures and shelters.


With a staff strength of about 2100+, the rescue and rehabilitation Centre has rescued about 200 leopards from all over India which have suffered injuries in road accidents or man-wild conflicts. It has rescued over 1000 crocodiles from a severely overcrowded and congested facility in Tamil Nadu. It has rescued animals from hunting lodges in Africa, animals under threat of euthanasia in Slovakia, severely distressed animals from facilities in Mexico.


The centre has a 1 lakh-square foot hospital & medical research centre. The hospital and research centre possess the most advanced technology, with an ICU, MRI, CT scan, X-ray, ultrasound, endoscopy, dental scalar, lithotripsy, dialysis, OR1 technology that enables live videoconferences for surgeries, and a blood plasma separator.
Over 2000+ animals across 43 species are under the care of the 'Rescue & Rehabilitation Center'.


For about 7 endangered species of Indian as well as foreign animals the Centre has started conservation breeding programs with the objective of having a viable reserve population to repopulate the populations of endangered species in their native habitats to save them from extinction.
Today, the Vantara ecosystem has provided a new lease of life and hope to over 200 elephants, over 300 large felines such as leopards, tigers, lions, jaguars, etc., over 300 herbivores such as deer, and over 1200 reptiles such as crocodiles, snakes, and turtles.

Compliance in Rescue and Exchange


All the rescued animals have been brought to Vantara after obtaining 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 recognition Zoo rules, 2009. All animal exchange programmes are done on approval / permission from Central Zoo

Authority. Vantara has also answered to exchange requests from other institutions in India and overseas. Such animals were brought in after obtaining necessary permissions from the Central Zoo Authority, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Directorate General of Foreign Trade, Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau.

National and International Collaborations


The Vantara programme has gained tremendously by working together with international organisations like Venezuelan National Foundation of Zoos and by associating with reputed organisations worldwide like the Smithsonian and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. In India, it collaborates with the National Zoological Park, Assam State Zoo, Nagaland Zoological Park, Sardar Patel Zoological Park, etc.

Education and Awareness


In order to increase awareness of conservation issues among people particularly the youth and children, the Vantara initiative envisages close collaboration with educational institutions including knowledge and resource exchange. It also envisages creation of a display area for some of the animals in modern and futuristic, climate controlled enclosures setting new standards in compassion and care.

Green Areas


Firmly believing that rescue and conservation of animals must go hand-in-hand with greening initiatives, the Vantara programme also envisages a continuing greening of the Reliance Refinery areas and has already greened thousands of acres of Land.

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