Anant Ambani, youngest son of Mukesh Ambani, oversees Vantara – an amalgam of the Radhe Krishna Temple Elephant Welfare Trust and Greens Zoological, Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre. As Anant’s ambitions to house animals at Jamnagar have expanded, India’s laws and regulations on wildlife have been weakened.
Illustration by Mika Tennekoon; photographs from IMAGO/NurPhoto and Wikimedia Commons
Anant Ambani, youngest son of Mukesh Ambani, oversees Vantara – an amalgam of the Radhe Krishna Temple Elephant Welfare Trust and Greens Zoological, Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre. As Anant’s ambitions to house animals at Jamnagar have expanded, India’s laws and regulations on wildlife have been weakened. Illustration by Mika Tennekoon; photographs from IMAGO/NurPhoto and Wikimedia Commons

The costs of Reliance’s wildlife ambitions

Led by Anant Ambani and supported by the Indian government, Reliance’s effort to shelter abused elephants has transmuted into an enormous wildlife centre – raising concerns over the sourcing of some animals as well as over India’s wildlife management

M Rajshekhar is an independent reporter studying corruption, oligarchy and the political economy of India’s environment. He is also the author of ‘Despite the State: Why India Lets Its People Down and How They Cope’.

Reporting for this story was supported by the Pulitzer Center.

1: Welcome to Vantara

FOR MANY, the first inkling came from the save-the-date card, speckled with images of exotic birds and animals: an elephant with a calf, a leopard, an African lion, a tiger, a chital, flamingoes, a peacock, and three parrots winging through the air. Above them all, a minimalist sketch of Ganesh, remover of obstacles in Hindu mythology.

The save-the-date card for the pre-wedding celebration of Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant.
The save-the-date card for the pre-wedding celebration of Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant.

Overleaf, a description of the venue for the pre-wedding celebrations of Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant explained why:

In 1997, Reliance built the world’s largest grassroot refining complex near Jamnagar. Over the years, we planted more than ten million trees in this arid region, transforming it into a bustling green community, flourishing with flowers and fruits, and housing Asia’s largest mango orchard!
Taking the spirit of this initiative further, Anant has lovingly nurtured this complex into a haven of care and compassion for over thousands of rescued animals.
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