Richard Branson was recently in India visiting Corbett National Park, a 520 sq. km refuge that acts as a protected area for the critically endangered Bengal tiger. The billionaire businessman and philanthropist has partnered his Virgin Unite Foundation with WildAid to draw awareness to the plight of these great animals – and help fund efforts to stabilize and grow populations. It is estimated that little more than 1,600 tigers are left throughout India.
“The tiger is desperately, desperately in need of help,” he told The Times of India. “They’ve got just two white tigers left in Rewa. I don’t think you can have too many people trying to help. What we’re hoping, with this trip, is to get maybe 30 foreign entrepreneurs working with 30 Indian entrepreneurs, see whether we can make a real difference and not just talk, see what practical help we can give them on the ground. Once you start seeing the numbers going up, from 1,500 to 3,000, things will be hopeful, but at the moment, that doesn’t seem to be happening.”
As for devoting much of his time to charity and initiatives like tiger conservation, Branson says that work to him is more important as a legacy than anything a bank statement could ever relate.
“When you go to your grave, when the obituary is written, it doesn’t say ‘He had 10 billion’ or ‘He had one billion’ – that’s not what people are going to be interested in,” he said. “They’re going to be interested in what you’ve given to society, the difference you’ve made to other lives, not how much money you have.”
To become involved with efforts to save India’s tigers – check out WildAid’s official site here.