Kailash Sankhala (30 January 1925 – 15 August 1994) was an Indian naturalist and conservationist. He was the Director of Delhi Zoological Park and Chief Wildlife Warden of Rajasthan. He is best known for his work in preserving tigers. He was well known as "The Tiger Man of India", and was involved in the formation of Project Tiger, a conservation programme set up in India in 1973.
Sankhala managed wildlife sanctuaries in Sariska, Bharatpur, Banvihar and Ranthambhor, and the forest divisions of Rajasthan until 1964. In 1965, he was appointed Director of the Delhi Zoological Park. For five years Sankhala served as head of the zoo, 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 1973 he was appointed head of Project Tiger, an attempt to save the Indian tiger from extinction.
Kailash Shankhala was the first conservationist who raised his voice in favour of protecting the tiger as early as 1956. He conducted an extensive study under the Jawahar Lal Nehru fellowship during a time when tiger population was dwindling at an alarming rate due to poaching and hunting. His research later lead him to become director of Project Tiger in 1973. In 1989, he established the Tiger Trust to continue his commitment to tiger conservation.
Sankhala died on 15 August 1994 in Jaipur. Sankhala's son Pradeep Sankhala took over the charge of the Tiger Trust after his fathers death and upon his death in 2003, his son Amit Sankhala stepped in.
Awards and honours
He was the first civil servant to receive the Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship in 1969 to study the tiger. In 1965, the government of Rajasthan bestowed on Sankhala the Merit Award for outstanding contribution in wildlife conservation. He received another Merit Award in 1982 for his book on the tiger, and in 1992 he was awarded the country's highest civil honour, the Padma Shri by the President of India. The Ministry of Environment and Forests has established the Kailash Sankhala Fellowship award for conservation efforts.
- Kailash Sankhala (1973). Wild Beauty: A Study of Indian Wildlife. National Book Trust, India; [sole distributors: Thomson Press (India).
- Kailash Sankhala (1975). Tigerland. Bobbs-Merrill. ISBN 978-0-672-52037-2.
- Kailash Sankhala (1990). Tiger. Metro.
- Kailash Sankhala (1990). Gardens of God: The Waterbird Sanctuary at Bharatpur. Vikas Publishing House.
- Kailash Sankhala (1993). Return of the Tiger. Lustre Press.
- Kailash Sankhala; Swaraj Chauhan (1997). The Story of Indian Tiger. Grange Books. ISBN 978-1-85627-888-1.
- Valmik Thapar (1 February 2006). Saving Wild Tigers 1900–2000. Orient Blackswan. pp. 155–. ISBN 978-81-7824-150-0.
- Sujit Mukherjee (1 January 1993). Forster and Further: The Tradition of Anglo-Indian Fiction. Orient Blackswan. pp. 222–. ISBN 978-0-86311-289-8.
- Reed Business Information (28 March 1974). New Scientist. Reed Business Information. pp. 804–. ISSN 0262-4079.
- Ronald Tilson; Philip J. Nyhus (30 November 2009). Tigers of the World: The Science, Politics and Conservation of Panthera tigris. Academic Press. pp. 5–. ISBN 978-0-08-094751-8.
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- "Shri Kailash Sankhla National Wildlife Fellowship Award – Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Government of India". envfor.nic.in.
- "Tiger! The Story of the Indian Tiger". Diary – Tales from Wild India – Conservation Magazine.