(Hardback | ISBN 9789386582652 | 368 pp + 16 pp colour insert | Aug 2018)
In this seminal book about the Indian tiger, Raghu Chundawat, a renowned conservation biologist, shares his findings from the only long-term ecological research project on tigers undertaken in India till date.
Chundawat closely studied the Panna tigers and their prey, from 1996 to 2006—meticulously recording their space use, movements, feeding and reproductive behaviours—in the dry tropical forests of Madhya Pradesh. With support from the national park management, he oversaw a spectacular revival of Panna’s tiger population.
However, by 2002-03, the fortunes of Panna’s tigers, and Chundawat’s research, nosedived when the park management changed. Monitoring privileges and access to the park were curtailed, and subsequently, poaching and poisoning of tigers spiked. When Chundawat blew the whistle on the alarming decline, he faced immense backlash from the state wildlife authorities. Despite the systemic opposition, Chundawat continued the fight to save Panna’s tigers, collecting data and petitioning the government to intervene.
In this immensely informative work, Chundawat presents not just his research, but also an insider’s account of the politics and administrative apathy plaguing Indian wildlife conservation. He discusses the larger threats to Indian wildlife—and the possible solutions. Filled with stunning photographs, The Rise and Fall of the Emerald Tigers is a must-read for all wildlife enthusiasts and researchers across the world.
‘A book whose lessons must be learnt if the Tiger is to survive in India, written by a naturalist who has lived in a sanctuary during the demise of the species there, and recorded the subsequent revival too.’—Mark Tully
‘This book is a must-read for everything you ever wanted to know about wild tigers in India. Both their life and death. It also details the horrors of our government’s conservation strategies and what our institutions and forest departments can do to destroy tigers. Not to be missed.’—Valmik Thapar
‘Panthera tigris is in deep trouble. If you want to play a real part in saving the cat, you must read and digest what Dr Raghu Chundawat, who blew the whistle on the great Panna Tiger Reserve debacle, has put together in The Rise and Fall of the Emerald Tigers. Science and heart wrapped up in one package—lessons learned from this stark, honest book could bring the tiger and its wildernesses back from the precipice.’—Bittu Sahgal, editor, Sanctuary Asia