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Honorary Tiger

by Duff Hart-Davis

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An affectionate biography of India's renowned 'tiger-man'.

Having devoted fifty years of his life to animal conservation and now popularly known as India's latter-day Jim Corbett and 'tiger-man', eighty-seven-year-old Billy Arjan Singh is by any standards an extraordinary man.

Hart-Davies' biography traces Billy's path to conservation from his game shooting as a boy on the family estate, to his life as a farmer in North Kheri, where he witnessed first-hand the devastation of wildlife at the hands of humans.

Billy's building of Tiger Haven - a magical spot at the edge of the jungle - saw his energetic launch into the area of conservation. As a freelance wildlife warden, he played a major role in the creation of the Dudhwa National Park in 1973, authorised by India's prime minister of the day, Indira Gandhi. In 1976 he was awarded the WWF gold medal for his work in saving an important herd of swamp deer.

Billy Arjan Singh recently became the first Indian to receive the J. Paul Getty Wildlife Conservation award (2004), which serves to recognise outstanding contributions in International Conservation.

Popularly known as India's latter-day Jim Corbett and ‘tiger man', 87-year-old Billy Arjan Singh is by any standards an extraordinary man. At Tiger Haven, his home in a magical spot on the edge of the jungle in UP, Billy's experiments with bringing up three orphaned leopards, and also Tara, a tiger cub which he imported from a zoo in England - shot him into both fame and controversy. His aim was to see if Tara's instincts would make her revert to the wild when she became mature. They did - and over the years she produced four litters of cubs, thus proving his contention that it is possible to supplement dwindling wild stocks with zoo-born animals. But when it was discovered that the tigress had Siberian genes in her ancestry, he was accused of having introduced a ‘genetic cocktail' into the jungle. Undeterred, Billy remained a champion of the forest and its denizens. It was almost entirely due to his advocacy that in 1973 the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, authorized the creation of the Dudhwa National Park. Now, in his eighties, comes recognition for his efforts: In March 2005 he received the J. Paul Getty Wildlife Conservation award - a global honour administered by the World Wildlife Fund, that serves to recognize outstanding contributions in international conservation. In the same year, he received the Padma Shri from the President of India. In this affectionate biography, the British author Duff Hart-Davis tells the story of a man absolutely dedicated to the cause of animals, who has given fifty years of his own life to their conservation.

About the Author:

Duff Hart-Davis has written or edited more than thirty books, specializing in biography and natural history. From 1986 to 2001 he contributed a weekly column on country matters to the London Independent. His illustrated encyclopedia Fauna Britannica, was described by the London Sunday Telegraph as 'Highly readable, skillfully researched ... myriad fascinating details.'





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Title: Honorary Tiger
Author(s): Duff Hart-Davis
Language: English
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