The story of this Indian man who decided to preserve the natural world is not only inspirational – but a great lesson that we all need to learn before it is too late.
Jadav Payeng who lives on Majuli in Assam, India – the world’s largest river island has single-handedly created a forest bigger than New York’s Central Park that is now home to tigers and 115 elephants.
Watch the video below:
Video Credit: William D McMaster
After about of extreme flooding and drought in 1979, Jadav was very much aware of the devastation caused to the land.
In an effort to prevent this, Jadav, who was then 16-year-old, decided he would plant a sapling in the barren soil every day.
He is now 39 years old, and he has created a forest bigger than New York’s Central Park.
His woodland covers 1,360 acres which are now home to Bengal tigers, rhino, vultures and 115 elephants.
A photojournalist and wildlife enthusiast Jitu Kalita came across Jadav in 2007 when he had hired a boat to take pictures of birds around a river named the Brahmaputra.
Kalita told about Jadav in the documentary Forest Man:
‘I saw something strange… it looked like a forest far in the distance.’
‘I began walking towards it, and when I reached it, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I had found a dense forest in the middle of a barren wasteland.’
Inspired by his story, Kalita spent time learning about his life’s work and published an article in a local paper.
His documentary Forest Man has received more than 2.7million views on YouTube. Now, Jadav is known as the ‘Forest Man of India.’
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