Founder – Gautom Menon (Tiger MeNon)
As a young kid growing up in Kuwait this was a creature that caught my imagination in every sense. Of course it had everything to do with the vivid stripes and the majestic looks of a Tiger . Much later, as a teen the fascination was fuelled by that poem written by William Blake and that great rock tune by the Survivor.
In high school I had the fortune of representing the Tigers Sports house and this only furthered my keenness for this animal, at this stage I knew nothing about conservation or the fact the Tiger was already an endangered animal. But I had an inkling that I wanted to start a business with something to do with the Tiger imagery. Back in 2006 when I had decided to create India’s first premium rum, I felt the Tiger captured the imagination of India more than any other animal, and hence decided to use the Tiger imagery and registered “Wild Tiger” as a brand. But the conservation message only really struck me during a wildlife safari trip with my friends at Yi (Young Indians) to Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh, India. It took 5 safari trips in the wild before we could finally sight a Tiger, it was simply mesmerising, so majestic, so marvellous.
After that experience and with some insights on Tiger conservation, I was perturbed to learn the grave danger to the very existence of this animal. It was clear to me then that we should build the CSR initiative for the future Rum business around Tiger Conservation and aid in whatever little way we can. It’s our national animal after all and we cannot watch it slip into extinction. It’s my personal belief that any company, brand or organisation that is benefitting from a particular animals imagery’s as a part of its identity has to without fail give back to its preservation or upkeep.
WTF (Wild Tiger Foundation) was conceptualised after taking into cognizance my good friends Suprej Venkat & Rohit Rajendran.
My deepest gratitude to tiger expert, Dr. K. Ullas Karanth for agreeing to don the role of a mentor to us wildlife enthusiasts. Together we friends, well wishers and associates hope to make a difference in this landscape.
On a lighter note, the next time you hear the word WTF it only means Wild Tiger Foundation.
Let’s raise a toast to our tiger’, let’s raise a toast to WTF.
Co-Founder – Suprej
Wildlife has been a part of our weekend family culture right from my school days. For us holidays meant going to Masinagudi at every opportunity. We used to go week in and week out to the extent that people were more surprised to find me in Coimbatore!
I have always wanted to be amongst nature and in particular I enjoy trekking and driving through forests for days together. A chance of sighting an elephant would make me leave all my work behind and make the most of the opportunity to view wildlife.
Needless to say, a tiger sighting is the ultimate reward for anyone on safari in India and when I got an invitation from my childhood friend Gautom to co-found WTF, it was something that was on mind too and a very straight forward decision to be on board.
Together with our friends and associates we aim to work alongside with other NGO’s on ground as enablers and do our little bit as responsible citizens. It’s not just to be involved with something I am deeply passionate but more about making a difference in preserving our country’s pride and heritage before it’s all too late.