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Boardroom fights for jungle

Mumbai, July 2: The tigers have got visitors, and they mean business ' the business of saving the big cats.

Some of the top guns of corporate India have taken it upon themselves to conserve wildlife and are stepping out from air-conditioned boardrooms into the jungles. The reason: you can’t just sit and watch the tigers vanish and mouth jargons like depleting green cover.

DSP Merill Lynch chairman Hemendra Kothari, a forest lover, has taken the lead in getting together fellow business barons to help raise funds for wildlife conservation as well as start a serious dialogue with the government and NGOs for future initiatives.

“Global warming has serious implications and there is a need to create awareness about its effects on our environment. Much needs to be done about protecting our forests, and the government does not have enough resources. It is time to see if the private sector can help in any way,” Kothari said.

Kothari played a key role in bringing together industry captains like Mukesh Ambani, Ratan Tata, Adi Godrej, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, K.V. Kamath, Kumarmangalam Birla and S. Ramadorai and issuing a strong statement when tigers vanished from Rajasthan’s Sariska reserve.

In fact, many of these big guns take a keen personal interest in wildlife.

“He does his bit about wildlife in his characteristic low-key manner. He makes sure no one tampers with water bodies and natural habitats in his projects. In the Jamnagar plant, care is taken that hundreds of migratory birds which flock there are not disturbed,” said a Reliance spokesperson about Ambani.

“From just 28 tiger reserves across India, more than 300 rivers originate. The rivers would dry up tomorrow if the forests are not protected. We have to think about the way ahead,” Kothari says.

So, he set up the Wild Life Conservation Trust two years ago which works with NGOs like the Delhi-based Sanskara Development Trust and the Asia Conservation Awareness Program.

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