The Tata group is, without fanfare and with plenty of responsibility, doing its bit to turn the tide on wildlife conservation. With biodiversity an important component of their sustainability agenda, several Tata companies have been working to help shelter and save at-risk species. Their efforts in this sphere range from creating secure habitats for animals and running awareness programmes for communities to supporting breeding programmes and safeguarding natural ecosystems.
Whale shark, Tata Chemicals, Gujarat, India
Growing up to 60 feet long, the majestic whale shark is the largest fish on the planet. Once slaughtered for its oil and meat, this inhabitant of the Gujarat coastline is now protected by the ‘save the whale shark’ campaign, launched in 2004 by Tata Chemicals in partnership with the Wildlife Trust of India and the Gujarat State Forest Department. The campaign took an emotional route, naming the fish as vhali, or dear one, and likening it to a prodigal daughter returning to her native place. Till date, 585 whale sharks have been rescued and released in their watery homes.
Waterfowl, Tata Chemicals, Gujarat, India
Birdsong fills the air as more than a hundred species of aquatic birds make their home at the Charakla saltworks of Tata Chemicals at Okhamandal, Gujarat. Waterfowl need wetlands to nest in, and the Charakla saltworks shelters the only active nesting site for Caspian terns in India. These birds have been nesting regularly here for more than two decades now. Part saltworks and part bird sanctuary, Charakla is a success story that can be replicated in other threatened habitats.
Greater sage-grouse, Tata Chemicals North America, Wyoming, USA
The greater sage-grouse of Wyoming, which depends upon the sagebrush habitat for its food and shelter, was at risk of becoming endangered. Tata Chemicals North America’s processing facility in Green River, Wyoming, is located close to sage-grouse mating areas. The company’s engineering team used cutting-edge ventilation fans and mining technology to reduce the impact of its manufacturing business on the local environment, resulting in a practical and sustainable solution.
Golden mahseer, Tata Power, Lonavla, India
For 45 years, Tata Power has been working to save the mahseer, an endangered freshwater game fish species that includes the famous Himalayan golden mahseer. This is one of the biggest conservation efforts in India. The state-of-the-art hatchery at Walwhan, Lonavla, close to Mumbai, has the capacity to hatch over 500,000 eggs at a time. In the last 40 years, more than 7 million fingerlings of mahseer have been produced and reintroduced into water bodies across India.
Caribou, Tata Steel Minerals Canada
In Canada, the migratory caribou is a fundamental part of the ecology. Tata Steel Minerals Canada (TSMC) supports the Caribou Ungava Research Project, commissioned in 2015 in the Quebec-Labrador Peninsula. The project examines how climate change, industrial development, hunting, etc affect the caribou population, through analysis of data from radio collars, aerial surveys and advanced modelling techniques. TSMC also supports ArcticNet, an international survey of caribou across North America and Europe.
Olive Ridley turtle, Tata Consultancy Services, Maharashtra, India
Marine turtles play a vital role in maintaining the health of the world’s oceans. Tata Consultancy Services, along with the non-profit Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra, has implemented the Marine Turtle Conservation Program since 2010 to protect turtle breeding sites on beaches. Over a hundred Olive Ridley turtle nests have been protected, more than 12,000 eggs successfully translocated to a hatchery, and some 6,000 hatchlings successfully released into their natural habitat.
Red panda, Tata Capital and Tata Housing in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, India
The first-ever scientific assessment of the red panda in the Himalayas concluded that its actual habitat had shrunk 60 percent from previous estimates. Tata Housing and Tata Capital have been working in partnership with World Wildlife Fund India to protect specific red panda sites in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, and also to influence state policies towards red panda conservation and the biodiversity preservation effort.
Snow leopard, Tata Housing, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, India
One of the rarest cats in the world, the snow leopard is the only big cat to be found at high-altitude mountainous regions. In the last two decades, its global population has declined by a third, leaving an estimated 4,500–7,500 in number. There are only 500 of these cats in India, spread across the north from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh. Tata Housing has been a part of Project Save Our Snow Leopards in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund India since January 2014.
One-horned rhinoceros, Tata Capital, Assam, India
The greater one-horned rhinoceros is one of India’s iconic wildlife species. Slaughtered for its horns, it has been wiped out everywhere save for Nepal and India. Tata Capital and the World Wildlife Fund hope to increase the distribution of one-horned rhinos in more areas of Assam through wild-to-wild translocations, which will help secure its long-term survival. A new protected area — Laokhowa Burachapori Wildlife Sanctuary — is being prepared to further the effort.
Great Indian hornbill, Tata Coffee, Karnataka, India
With oversized beaks and colourful plumage, the great Indian hornbill is an incredibly beautiful bird. It is also endangered. Tata Coffee, finding nesting trees of the hornbill in its plantations, has committed itself to conserve and protect the bird. The company has set up the Tata Coffee Hornbill Foundation to study the bird’s unique breeding biology, its role as seed dispersers and its seasonal movement patterns and roosting behaviour.
Tata Steel Zoological Park, Tata Steel, Jamshedpur, India
The Tata Steel Zoological Park in Jamshedpur covers 37 hectares of wooded area and animal enclosures that provide a safe haven to animals, birds, reptiles and aquatic animals. Set up in 1991, the zoo is sanctuary to a large number of animals that include the African lion, Bengal tiger, sloth bear and hippopotamus. Conservation and captive breeding programmes are the objective of the zoo. The green cover is also home to over 35 species of birds.