Kailash Sankhala (1925–1994) was a renowned naturalist and conservationist of India. He was the director of Delhi Zoological Park and Chief Wildlife Warden of Rajasthan. Born on 30 January 1925 he is best known for his work in preserving tigers. He was well known around the globe as the Tiger Man, and was involved in the formation of Project Tiger, the world's largest wildlife conservation programme set up in India in 1973.
Successful wildlife manager
Kailash Sankhala  successfully managed Sariska, Bharatpur, Banvihar and Ranthambhor Wildlife Sanctuaries and the forest divisions of Rajasthan until 1964, and in 1965 was appointed Director of the Delhi Zoological Park which in 1969 was rated one of the first three zoological parks in the world. For five years Sankhala served as head of the world-famous zoo at Delhi, where his firmly held views on what zoos should be initially aroused anger, and later admiration. He had confrontations too with the Indian tourist establishment, and with the poachers who wished to make quick money out of tiger skins. Then in 1972 he was appointed head of 'Project Tiger', a worldwide attempt to save the Indian tiger from extinction: five years later he gave up his job with the problem solved.
Founding director of the Project Tiger
Kailash Shankhala  was first conservationist who raised voice in favour of protecting the tiger as early as 1956. He spearheaded the crusade and succeeded in helping rescue the species from the brink of extinction when hunting tiger was in practice. He carried through this challenging mission with untiring energy and dedication even at the risk of his career and death threats. He conducted an extensive study under the Jawahar Lal Nehru felloship during a time when tiger population was dwindling at an alarming rate due to poaching and hunting. His research later lead him to launch the Project Tiger in 1973. He was founding director of the Project Tiger in 1973.
He was a distinguished naturalist and a forest officer who founded many National Parks in India. He was known the world over as an authority on Tigers and has written many books on National Parks and Indian wildlife as well as on popular science topics.
In 1989 he established the Tiger trust to continue his commitment to tiger conservation. The Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt of India has established Kilash sankhala fellowship for conservation efforts.
He was conferred with Padma Shri in 1982. His list of achievements is endless as is the list of merits and accolades he received for his tireless efforts to protect the tiger and its habitat. In 1965, the government of Rajasthan bestowed on him the Merit Award for outstanding contribution in wildlife conservation. Mr. Sankhala received another Merit Award in 1982 for his book on the tiger. On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Project Tiger, the government of India awarded Mr. Sankhala with a Special Honour for his outstanding services. That is not all. He was the first civil servant to receive the Jawahar Lal Nehru Fellowship in 1969 to study the tiger and in 1992 he was awarded the country’s highest civil honour, the Padma Shri by the President of India. Quite evidently, he lived a remarkable life, devoting it freely and generously to the protection of the tiger whose preservation he saw as linked inextricably to the entire chain and web of life.
He authored many books on tigers and allied topics and set up a trust called Tiger Trust to carry on his work. The important books authored by him are:
- The Story of Indian Tiger: Roli Books ISBN 81-7437-088-9
- Gardens of God: The waterbird sanctuary at Bharatpur (Unknown Binding)
- Wild Beauty: National Book Trust
- Return of the Tiger: Lustre Press
- The Story of Indian Tiger: Lustre Press
He died on 15th of August 1994 in Jaipur.