As this year marks the 10th edition of Travel + Leisure India & South Asia’s reader’s choice India’s Best Awards, we are elated to introduce IBA Icons—an editorial-led category that felicitates 10 changemakers and trendsetters across hospitality and lifestyle industries. Presenting the Champion of Wildlife Conservation, Jaisal Singh.
Founder & Chairman, SUJÁN
Jaisal Singh saw his first tiger in the winter of 1979. But he doesn’t remember it, for he was just eight weeks old—carried into the jungles of Ranthambhore in the arms of his parents, Tejbir and Malvika, who spent their days studying, recording, and filming the region’s wilderness. That Ranthambhore was declared a National Park the same year was a cosmic clue to Singh’s destiny. “I was fortunate to spend a considerable part of my childhood in the wild, surrounded by my family of passionate conservationists; it was impossible not to be influenced!” says Singh. It was in his late teens, when he was playing polo for the Jodhpur team, that Singh struck gold. “I wanted to spend as much time as possible in Ranthambhore, and it was then that the idea of creating a tented camp—one that could become a model for positive-impact, responsible tourism—came to me. With that, I could share this unique landscape with people, and at the same time make a contribution to conservation.” He has done exactly that—with SUJÁN (thesujanlife.com) camps in Ranthambhore, Jawai Bandh, Jaisalmer, and Masai Mara. SUJÁN’s conservation initiatives run across several districts of Rajasthan with a focus on four tenets: conservation of biodiversity, holistic community development, and the preservation of culture and heritage. “We’ve proven that a model of ethically sound and sustainable safari operations can benefit local communities, and play a role in preserving wildlife and its habitat,” says the pioneer, who has a long bucket list of wildlife adventures, with the gorillas of Rwanda presently at the top.