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One Health, One Future: How TACO and its Wildlife Conservation Efforts Forged a Path to Harmony for Humans and Animals

At the epicentre of TACO's collaborative venture with the Ranthambore National Park lies a resolute commitment to fortify patrolling measures, elevating the fight against wildlife crime to new heights.
Indian Masterminds Stories

In Rajasthan’s tiger territory, where conservation whispers vie with poaching’s shadows, a landmark partnership rewrites the script. The Animal Care Organization (TACO), spearheaded by the Anil Agarwal Foundation, has joined hands with the Ranthambore National Park and Ramgarh Vishdhari Tiger Reserve, both home to big cats, in a groundbreaking collaboration. This is not just a pact; it is a paradigm shift. The partnership goes beyond simply protecting the species. The goal is to foster a future where conservation thrives not through confrontation, but through harmonious coexistence by combining human resolve with technological innovation. TACO has established a global precedent, demonstrating that even in the face of formidable challenges, collaboration paves the way for transformative outcomes. In this union, hope flourishes as a resilient ecosystem, not just for tigers, but for the very essence of our planet.

Bolstering Anti-Poaching Measures

At the epicentre of TACO’s collaborative venture with the Ranthambore National Park lies a resolute commitment to fortify patrolling measures, elevating the fight against wildlife crime to new heights. In 2022, TACO had allocated a significant sum of INR 1 crore to the Forest Department of Rajasthan to procure patrolling vehicles at Ranthambore National Park, a testament to its unwavering commitment to safeguarding India’s iconic big cats. TACO’s fleet of seven patrolling vehicles are strengthening the park’s anti-poaching measures and response mechanism, fortifying defences against escalating threats to Ranthambore National Park.

Last year, TACO also announced a grant of INR 1 crore to Ramgarh Vishdhari Tiger Reserve to establish five solar-powered anti-poaching camps in vulnerable areas. These solar-powered camps that will be strategically positioned within the reserve camps are not merely a deterrent to poachers, but also mark a leap towards sustainable energy practices within wildlife conservation. This eco-friendly approach aligns with TACO’s broader commitment to the principles of One Health, acknowledging the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental well-being.

Beyond anti-poaching camps, TACO’s collaboration includes providing two advanced surveillance vehicles to field rangers. Equipped with cutting-edge technology, these vehicles promise enhanced on-ground mobility, ensuring the safety of the reserve’s inhabitants and the preservation of their natural habitat. The organization’s legacy of impactful contributions extends beyond financial support, embodying a broader commitment to holistic wildlife conservation.

Conservation Impact on the Ground

Nestled in the southeastern expanse of Rajasthan, the Ramgarh Vishdhari Tiger Reserve unfolds across an expansive 1502 sq km. A relatively recent addition to India’s conservation efforts, it was accorded the prestigious designation of a tiger reserve in 2022, solidifying its role as the fourth in Rajasthan. As this biodiverse haven evolves into a critical conservation battleground, its impact on the preservation of India’s iconic big cats, and its broader biodiversity, is increasingly apparent. Among its illustrious residents are the majestic tigers, elusive panthers, lumbering sloth bears, and a vibrant assortment of avian wonders. The addition of tiger cubs last year marks a poignant chapter in the reserve’s conservation narrative. This surge in the tiger population attests to the success of concerted efforts aimed at providing a conducive environment for these apex predators to breed and thrive.

The synergy between TACO’s commitment and the reserve’s ecological richness is a testament to the shared commitment to a sustainable future. TACO’s financial backing, coupled with its recognition of the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health, positions it as a key player in shaping the conservation landscape in India.

Challenges and Opportunities

Navigating the delicate balance between wildlife preservation and habitat conservation, the reserve currently grapples with a set of challenges and opportunities. Human-wildlife conflict, habitat fragmentation, and the persistent threat of poaching continue to demand strategic interventions.

Concurrently, the reserve stands as a canvas for researchers, conservationists, and policymakers to collaboratively forge ahead in the development and implementation of sustainable practices. This collective effort not only safeguards biodiversity but also addresses the intricacies of local community needs, presenting a unique opportunity to harmonize conservation with human livelihoods.

Recognition and Awards

TACO is the brainchild of Ms. Priya Agarwal Hebbar, Chairperson, Hindustan Zinc Ltd and Non-Executive Director, Vedanta Ltd. Apart from leading social impact initiatives under the Anil Agarwal Foundation, Ms. Hebbar now also proudly anchors TACO. Undoubtedly, under her leadership, TACO has made a great impact and been widely recognized, receiving prestigious awards for its trailblazing work in animal welfare and social responsibility. Notably, it received the CSR Excellence Award from the Government of Haryana and was acknowledged by the National Veterinary Foundation for its exemplary service.

Expanding Veterinary Healthcare Services

Beyond its role in wildlife conservation, TACO is venturing into urban landscapes with a strategic focus on veterinary healthcare services. The Anil Agarwal Foundation (AAF), through the TACO initiatives like ambulance facilities, and veterinary training workshops, is set to bolster and support veterinary healthcare services in the urban hub of Delhi-NCR.  During last year’s flood disaster in Delhi NCR region, TACO promptly actioned its services and team to aid affected animals and community, with food and medical attention, near its shelter in Faridabad. This expansion signals a progressive shift in TACO’s mission, reaching beyond the conventional boundaries of conservation to address the crucial intersection of animal welfare and urban life.

To this end, AAF has allocated an initial corpus of Rs. 100 crores. Currently operational in the National Capital Region, the project is already making strides in elevating veterinary healthcare standards. With ambitious plans for expansion across multiple states in India including an upcoming shelter in Rajasthan that will have a special focus on declining population of camelids in the region, TACO’s ventures in animal welfare amplifies its dedication to the broader principles of One Health.

As TACO continues to make strides in wildlife conservation, the organization’s multifaceted approach, encompassing anti-poaching measures, surveillance infrastructure, and community engagement, sets a precedent for effective and sustainable conservation efforts. With an array of initiatives under its six pillars, TACO is poised to play a pivotal role in reshaping the landscape of animal welfare and conservation in India.


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