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Indian Couple Gives Up Their Careers, Quietly Buys Land To Help Out Tigers

As much as we all hear about how we should follow our dreams, it's not always as easy to do as it sounds. There's a lot to be said for having a full time job that pays the bills. Giving that up to chase a great big maybe is not for the faint of heart.

But that's just what Aditya and Poonam Singh did, and it wasn't even for their own benefit, but for their country's beautiful, majestic tigers.

A little more than 20 years ago, Aditya and Poonam lived a relatively comfortable life in Delhi.

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Aditya had a stable, secure job in the civil service, and the pair had a good home in Delhi. But, as Mongabay reported, the two made a fateful trip to Ranthambore National Park back in the late '90s, and it was love at first sight for both of them.

"My first sighting was a tigress with three cubs on a hill," Poonam recalled. "It was magical. At the end of the trip, I just asked him if we can move to Ranthambore. He wanted it too and within months we moved."

Aditya gave up his civil service job and picked up a camera.

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And together, he and Poonam, who has also pursued endeavors in sculpting and fashion design, opened a tourist resort near Ranthambore.

While running the resort, Poonam honed her hospitality management skills, and Aditya turned into an award-winning wildlife photographer — a career that he helped alongside a lifelong project to help out Ranthambore's tigers.

When Poonam and Aditya first moved to the area, nearby farmers had a serious tiger problem.

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The Ranthambore tigers had a habit of roaming into their fields and preying on their livestock. So, Aditya and Poonam started to quietly buy up small parcels of land from the farmers looking to quit the area, especially any land that happened to be next to the tiger reserve.

The big idea they had for the land was to do as little as possible.

Over the past 20 years, Aditya and Poonam have acquired about 35 acres of land.

Aditya Singh

And, by and large, they haven't touched it. "I just bought this and did nothing to it except removing invasive species," Aditya explained.

Without any work on the land, the forest has had a chance to re-grow and spread, providing more natural habitat for the tigers and their prey. "We allowed the land to recover and now after 20 years it has become a lush green patch of forest which is frequently visited by all kinds of animals, including tigers, leopards, and wild boars, throughout the year," Aditya said.

The area's remaining farmers can thank Aditya and Poonam for reduced action from tigers.

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All that extra habitat means the tigers don't have to venture into the farmers' fields in search of a meal.

"It is simply because the animals understand that in this patch of the forest they get prey, water, and safe shelter without any disturbance," Aditya said.

Aditya and Poonam have since closed the doors on their resort.

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However, they haven't stopped advocating for the tigers, and plan to continue buying up land around the park. Aditya says he often fields questions and proposals about putting the land to use, but and Poonam won't be developing it.

"Money was never the consideration," he said. "It is just about my love for nature and wildlife. Instead, these days I am getting serious queries from people across India who want to replicate a similar model in their state."

So tigers might just become a full time gig for the pair.

Aditya Singh

Aditya always has his photography, and Poonam is an experienced manager, and together they plan on running a solar- and wind-powered homestay that features some watering holes where thirsty animals can come for some relief.

h/t: Mongabay