The wealthiest family in India, known for its luxurious lifestyle and control of India’s most valuable company, has a new venture: building the largest zoo in the world.
The Ambanis, the billionaire family who owns the $ 168 billion Reliance Industries conglomerate, plan to build a 280-acre zoo and an animal rescue sanctuary called the “Green Zoo Kingdom of Rescue and Rehabilitation” in Jamnagar, a city in western India. , reports The Week Magazine. Mukesh Ambani, owner and majority shareholder of Reliance, is worth $ 78.3 billion, making him the 12th richest person in the world.
The zoo is the “pet project” of Anant Ambani, Mukesh Ambani’s 25-year-old son, for The Week. Anant is a board member of Jio, Reliance’s telecommunications arm. The zoo will be built next to the company’s refinery in Jamnagar, by The Week.
The Anant Ambani zoo is expected to house about 100 species of animals, birds and reptiles from India and around the world, including African lions, pygmy hippos, Bengal tigers and Komodo dragons, according to local media reports. The animals will be housed in various areas with names like Frog House, Dragon’s Land, Aquatic Kingdom, Indian Desert and Exotic Island.
Bringing criticism after closing a deal for two rare black panthers
The Green Zoological Kingdom of Rescue and Rehabilitation, due to open in 2023, has already generated some controversy.
In January, Reliance Industries struck a deal to obtain two rare black panthers from the Assam State Zoo in Guwahati, the Times of India reported. In return, Reliance agreed to send two pairs of Israeli zebras to the Guwahati zoo. But activists and a local political party criticized the transfer of the panthers from the state zoo Guwahati to the private zoo of the Ambanis, according to Northeast Now News.
“It seems that even wild animals kept in captivity in zoos cannot escape the tentacles of large corporate houses, such as the recent ‘silent’ transfer of two black panthers from the State Zoo in Guwahati to a zoo in Gujarat being created by the Reliance group of Ambanis proved it, “said Bobbeeta Sharma, leader of the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee, in a statement, according to the publication.
About 100 activists gathered in front of the Guwahati Zoo to protest the transfer of the panthers on Sunday, according to Telegraph India.
It is not clear whether Reliance bought 280 acres in Jamnagar to develop the zoo or whether the company already owned the land. A Reliance spokesman did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on this story.
A family that mixes with celebrities and tech CEOs
Mukesh Ambani, 63, was Asia’s richest man for about two years before being dethroned in December by Chinese billionaire Zhong Shanshan, for bottled water and vaccines. Still, he is the second richest man in Asia and by far the richest man in India – the next richest is Gautam Adani, who has a fortune of $ 45 billion compared to Ambani’s $ 78 billion.
The Ambani family is known for its luxurious lifestyle. They live in a 27-story skyscraper in Mumbai, which has three helipads and cost $ 1 billion to build. The wedding of Ambani’s daughter, Isha Ambani, in 2018, was attended by people like Hillary Clinton, Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, and Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas. And perhaps most impressive, Beyoncé gave a private performance.
Reliance Industries – which was founded by Mukesh Ambani’s father – is India’s most valuable company, with arms in energy, telecommunications, retail, petrochemicals and more.
Ambani’s other two children, the 29-year-old twins Isha Ambani and Akash Ambani, also hold positions at the company.
According to Business Today, Isha holds two advisory and consulting roles at Jio, Reliance’s lucrative telecommunications arm that secured a $ 5.7 billion investment from Facebook last year. Akash also works at Jio as part of the executive committee. He is involved in the development of the company’s products, messaging and chat services.