Updated: Sep 16
16 September 2023 is the date of the Annual CJMT Community Guardian (CJMTCG) awards.
Thanks to Covid and later, it has not been held for 3 years..but it's about time it was!
And who better than focusing on the driven, brilliant yet low key leader of ARRC Jayanthi Kallam - one of the newest; yet most effective and inspirational animal welfare leaders in Bangalore..
Ask anyone who has ever reached out to ARRC, and watch the look of appreciation, admiration and gratitude on their face.
That's ARRC (Avian and Reptile Rehabilitation Center) for you. And that's why Founder Trustee Jayanthi Kallam is the natural choice. Here are a few of the reasons why.
They have a near 100% success rate in avian & reptilian rescue - there have been practically no cases which have been either unattended or incomplete since ARRC has come in. Along with incredible organisations like PFA and CUPA they form a very strong bastion for wildlife rescue that is specifically focused on both the avian and reptiles species.
Prompt, metrics driven, efficient & low key.
It's rare that a call remains unattended, a rescue not caught and picked up.However it’s equally rare to see any tom-tomming about their rescues or achievements to the general public or media. What was especially laudable was that even during Covid, they ran the helpline literally 24/7 ensuring that avians and reptiles who were injured or hurt , still got the immediate and necessary action needed.. Above and beyond the call of duty, clearly. Oh, and and data? Jayanthi has the stats on her fingertips, the metrics and insights off the top of her head.
Great team, training and leadership
Run by people from diverse backgrounds -be it wildlife, the corporate world etc- ARRC brings a strong process oriented, people focused approach to its vision. The training to the team is exemplary and most are super switched on, very responsive, and carry the same pragmatic, goal oriented safety oriented approach of their leadership team.
Investment in infra, transport. medical facilities, IT and process
ARRC seems to have made great efforts to increase the transport facilities, JCBs. electric extendable ladders to reach great heights, and such tools so as to reach these suffering, difficult and inaccessible animals and birds. By adhering to the highest standards of the Zoo Authorities and even going a step beyond in their facility , they have set up high benchmarks and followed stringent SOPs. Strong grasp and adherence to wildlife rules and legal requirements & release sets them apart. The reptiles and birds are always released safely back to their original habitat after treatment. Their IT systems and processes seem to be strong because they are able to allot or redirect rescuers though their IT automatically , saving time and lives. Perhaps Jayanthi's own global tech background has played a part in this.
Self funded and no request for rescue donations
It is a huge boon to see case reporters so impressed by the turnaround time, effective treatment and 'no donation' policy of ARRC and its volunteer team. ARRC seem very strict on this - as citizens confirm that despite their wanting to support , ARRC or a volunteer have not accepted a donation. ARRC seems to be self supported and adequately funded, and this sets them apart as they are not dependent on or under pressure for public donations or individual rescue funding, to continue their work and vision.
Focus on creating awareness and advocacy
Among the many awareness campaigns run, ARRC multipronged program to ban Manjha, considering the number of birds cruelly caught in the illegal manja (the banned kite flying thread), has been exemplary. With a well supported online petition , full fledged Manja campaign with many NGOs like CUPA , PFA , CJMT and others, a cross-city, national level, best practices approach, working with Wildlife, GoK, Pollution Board, BBMP and Police, there has been substantial improvement seen and reduction in manjha accidents and rescues . A documentary film to create awareness on this called Manjha, was released this year to great appreciation.
They need no pats or accolades for what they do from their heart and soul.
However for us at CJ Memorial Trust , it is an honour to confer the 2023 CJ Memorial Trust Community Guardian Award to
Jayanthi Kallam, Founder ARRC, Avian and Reptile Rehabilitation Center.
About Jayanthi Kallam
Jayanthi Kallam is the Executive Director of ARRC. She also serves as a board member of the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (IWRC). She holds a Masters in Business Administration from New York University (NYU). She worked in various MNCs in the U.S. for 12 years before quitting her corporate job to pursue her interests in conservation.
She worked as a full time wildlife rehabilitator in the US for 3 years before deciding to move to India in 2015 to serve her home country. She has done courses on ornithology and ecology from Cornell University and Harvard University, USA. She is the only Certified Wildlife Rehabilitator (CWR) in India, a certification offered by the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council to highly qualified wildlife rehabilitators all across the world.
Jayanthi Kallam also studied veterinary technology and worked at various wildlife rehabilitation organizations and veterinary practices. She is a member of several US and international wildlife rehabilitation organizations. She has participated and presented at several Wildlife Rehabilitation conferences in the US. She co-founded ARRT and ReACT, non-governmental organisations dedicated to the causes of wildlife and the environment. She is regularly invited to speak and conduct training workshops for various organisations throughout India
Jayanthi Kallam TED Talk
Jayanthi in conversation on with CJMT Founder during Covid
Avian and Reptile Rehabilitation Centrer @ARRC has been nothing short of a blessing to many of us facing injured birds, reptiles, bats or even other wildlife. Jayanthi Kallam the ED has been synonymous with ARRC and the incredible rescues by her team especially in COVID times has empowered many of us who did not know what to do or how handle these delicate and wild beings.
Heres an informal chat with the low key, yet deeply committed Jayanthi Kallam - and the way forward. What a quiet powerhouse she is, and how lucky Bangalore is to have her!
Plaque & Citation