Geoffrey C. Ward & Diane Raines Ward
Oxford University Press 2002
It’s a grim account of the battle being fought to save India’s forests – and of the men at its forefront. The indefatigable Fateh Singh Rathore- the Tiger of Ranthambore made famous by his pupil – Valmik Thapar – a prolific wildlife writer and photographer. The irascible ‘Billy’ Arjan Singh – who was ever ready to fight with anyone and everyone to guard ‘his’ precious forests of Dudhwa. This quirky lover of nature hand raised a tigress and three leopards at his farm the Tiger Haven to be returned to the wild.
The overall story is one of gloom – where forest cover is wilting in the face of the onslaught of a burgeoning population. Of the horrible revenge killings of defenceless animals. Of the ugly poachers. Of the deathly struggle between God’s creatures for space and the right to exist.
The writer exhorts us drawing room conservationists to jump into the fray and to cast our weight behind those locked in this impossible battle to save our wilderness from extinction.
The book has been written by a professional writer which sets it apart from the works of practicing environmentalists and wildlife biologists who are rarely as successful in conjuring up the wilderness world that we are striving to save.
A must read for those interested in the conservation efforts in India.