This book charts key moments in the fight to save the tiger, from early beginnings until now. It comprises the finest examples of tiger conservation by the greatest defenders of wild tigers. Between 1875 and 1925 more than 80,000 tigers were slaughtered. Over the next fifty years the massacre grew so alarming that the tiger was driven to the brink of extinction. Alongside this mindless butchery, there began a crusade to protect the tiger.
The earliest essay here laments India's vanishing wilderness. By 1920 E.P.Stebbing, one of the first great protectors, speaks out for changes in wildlife laws. Then F.W.Champion, renowned for his pioneering writings, argues against motorcars in forests and limits on gun licences. Jim Corbett is heard befriending the tiger while pointing out that hunters create man-eaters.
Later there is S.H. Prater, pleading for protection measures. The 1950s and 1960s are represented by E.P. Gee and Richard Perry, who feared the tiger was doomed. George Schaller, a guru to tigerwallahs, is seen injecting science into investigations of tiger decline. Indian voices are heard soon: Billy Arjan Singh, K. Sankhala, M. Krishnan and S.P. Shahi. Then recent spokesmen: Peter Jackson, John Seidensticker, Ullas Karanth, Geoffrey Ward and Alan Rabinowitz, who have 'scientised' an issue which now covers Thailand, Indo-China, Nepal, Bangladesh and Siberia.
In recent times no activist has been more passionate about tiger conservation than Valmik Thapar. The present book is part of his ongoing crusade. It is also a wonderfully readable anthology on the perils faced by tigers, and the travails of those trying to ensure it retains its regal, untamed magnificence.