Valmik Thapar

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Valmik Thapar
Valmik thapar 200.jpg
Born 1952 (age 62–63)
New Delhi
Occupation natural historian, wildlife documentary filmmaker, conservationist
Known for Land of the Tiger (1997)
Spouse(s) Sanjana Kapoor

Valmik Thapar (born 1952) is an Indian naturalist, conservationist and writer.[1][2] He is the author of 14 books and several articles, and has produced a range of programmes for television.[3] Today he is one of India's most respected wildlife experts and conservationists, having produced and narrated documentaries on India's natural habitat for such media as the BBC, Animal Planet, Discovery and National Geographic.

Early life[edit]

Valmik Thapar was born in New Delhi to Raj and Romesh Thapar, a noted journalist and political commentator, who founded political journal, Seminar in 1959. The historian Romila Thapar is his aunt.

He married theatre personality Sanjana Kapoor and the couple have a son, Hamir. They live in Delhi.[4]


Valmik Thapar spent decades following the fortunes of India's tiger population. He was influenced by Fateh Singh Rathore.[5]

His stewardship of the Ranthambore Foundation was recognised and he was appointed a member of the Tiger Task Force of 2005 by the Government of India. He criticised the majority Task Force view in his dissent note as excessively focussed on the prospects of co-existence of tigers and humans, which was, in his view not consistent with the objective of the panel.

A tiger in India's Bandhavgarh reserve in 2006

His writings have analysed the perceived failure of Project Tiger, a conservation apparatus created in 1973 by the Government of India.[6] He has critiqued Project Tiger, drawing attention to its mismanagement by a forest bureaucracy that is largely not scientifically trained. His most recent book The Last Tiger (Oxford University Press) makes this case strongly.

Among the consistent criticisms levelled by Thapar at India's Ministry of Environment and Forests relates to its unwillingness to curb poaching through armed patrols and its refusal to open forests to scholarly scientific enquiry.

His famous relationship with 'Macchli' a female tigress is documented in some of his chronicles.[7]

His view on Ranthambore Tiger T24 transfer to Zoo[edit]

As per the Hindustan Times

Joining the debate on the fate of T-24 (Ustad), Valmik Thapar, one of India’s most respected wildlife experts and conservationists, said relocating Ustad was the best option: “In my 40 years of experience of the tigers of Ranthambore, T-24 is the most dangerous tiger I have ever encountered. He killed four people, including two forest guards and two locals. The local villagers were partly eaten. The forest guards were not eaten because their bodies were retrieved keeping the tiger at bay.

“After the first two kills I had suggested that this tiger be relocated to a captive enclosure but the tiger was given the benefit of the doubt. Later, two forest personnel have had to sacrifice their lives as a result. T-24 (9-years-old) territory included the path pilgrims take to and around the sacred Ganesha temple and Ranthambore fort. This last kill took place at the entry point of pilgrims and in daylight.

“The forest department and the government of Rajasthan have done a spectacularly successful job in relocating a man killing and eating tiger to a one hectare enclosure in Udaipur where he has eaten and is calm and where he will spend his last years. By doing this they have made Ranthambore safer for the brave forest guards who patrol and the tens of thousands of pilgrims who walk.

“Our feelings today must be for the families who suffered tragically in these five years that have gone by. It is for these families that we need to collect money and help. Any person or group who believed that he should have not been relocated would have to bear the responsibility on their shoulders for the next human kill and the accelerating conflict that could result. T-24 was given the maximum benefit of doubt that any man-eating tiger has ever got in recent Indian history.”

Selected TV works[edit]

  • Tiger Crisis
  • Land of the Tiger
  • Tigers' Fortress
  • Danger in Tiger Paradise
  • Search for Tigers
  • Overpopulation


Book by Valmik Thapar

1. With Tigers in the Wild, Vikas Publishing, Delhi

2. Tiger: Portrait of a Predator, Collins UK

3. Tigers: The Secret Life, Hamish Hamilton, Penguin, UK

4. The Tiger’s Destiny, Kyle Ceathie, UK

5. The Land of the Tiger: A Natural History of the Indian Subcontinent, BBC Publishing, UK

6. The Secret Life of Tigers, Oxford University Press, Delhi

7. Tiger, Wayland, UK

8. Wild Tigers of Ranthambhore, Oxford University Press, India

9. Bridge of God: 20 Days in the Masai Mara, Private

10. The Cult of the Tiger, Oxford University Press, India

11. Tiger: The Ultimate Guide, Two Brothers Press, USA

12. The Last Tiger, Oxford University Press, India

13. The Illustrated Tigers of India, Oxford University Press, India

14. Ranthambhore: 10 Days in the Tiger Fortress, Oxford University Press, India

15. Tigers and the Banyan Tree, Private

16. An African Diary: 12 Days in Kenya’s Magical Wilderness, Oxford University Press, India

17. The Tiger: Soul of India, Oxford University Press, India

14. Tigers, My Life: Ranthambhore and Beyond, Oxford University Press, India

15. Tigers in the Emerald Forest: Ranthambhore after the Monsoon, Oxford University Press, India

16. Tiger Fire, Aleph Publishing, India

16. Wild Fire, Aleph Publishing, India

17. My Life with Tiger: Ranthambhore and Beyond, Oxford University Press, India

Books co-authored by Valmik Thapar

1. With Tigers in the Wild with Fateh Singh Rathore, Vikas Publishing, Delhi

2. Tigers and Tigerwallahs with Jim Corbett, Billy Arjan Singh, Geoffrey C. Ward and Diane Raines Ward, Oxford University Press, Delhi

3. Exotic Aliens with Romila Thapar and Yusuf Ansari, Aleph Publishing

Books edited by Valmik Thapar

1. Saving Wild Tigers, 1900–2000: The Essential Writings, Permanent Black, India

2. Battling for Survival, Oxford University Press, India


External links[edit]