Ambika Khare was born in Panna on 26 December 1932. He passed away at the age of 88 on the night of 16 April 2021. This man was ahead of his time and he was a great supporter of Panna Tiger Reserve. Ambika was a winner of Sanctuary Asia’s Green Teacher Award. This was for his seminal role in running Panna Nature Camps, lifelong teacher, educationist, mentor. He was larger than life. The kind of person you want to live forever.
In 2009 it was s officially accepted by the Forest Department that Panna Tiger Reserve had lost all but one of its tigers. Shri Rangaiah Sreenivasa Murthy, then Park Director, launched the Panna revival plan. Two female tigers, followed by a male tiger were introduced. They came from other Tiger Reserves of Madhya Pradesh. The first litter of four tiger cubs was discovered on 16 April 2010. This marked Panna’s remarkable turn around. This date has since been celebrated as Panna’s unique ‘Tiger Birthday’. Even this year, but the worsening COVID-19 situation put all celebration plans on hold.
The retired Rangaiah Sreenivasa Murthy, the architect of Panna’s revival, posted: “Really sad news. My association with Sir is 12 year long, he was a gem of a person. His contribution towards making the unique ‘Panna Nature Camps’ an effective tool of joining people with the park, will be remembered in the times to come.”
A senior and feted journalist from Panna, Arun Singh, told over the phone, “Even at this age, close to 90 years, Ambika Khare had a zest for life. He would go out for walks in the forests close to Panna. He would teach for up to 3 hours daily. Being largely isolated at home due to the pandemic may not have gone down well with his zest.”