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Kailash Sankhala

1925 – 1994

Kailash Sankhla

About Kailash Sankhala

Kailash Sankhala was an Indian naturalist and conservationist. He first started his journey with The Forest Service in 1953 and managed wildlife sanctuaries in Sariska, Bharatpur, Banvihar, and Ranthambore. In the year 1965, Sankhala was appointed as the 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.

Kailash Sankhla and Project Tiger

In 1973 he was appointed head of Project Tiger, an attempt to save the Indian tiger from extinction. Kailash Sankhala was the first conservationist who raised his voice in favor of protecting the tiger as early as 1956. He conducted an extensive study under the Jawahar Lal Nehru fellowship during a time when the tiger population was dwindling at an alarming rate due to poaching and hunting. His research later leads him to become the first Director of Project Tiger in 1973. In 1989, he established the Tiger Trust to continue his commitment to tiger conservation.

Kailash Sankhla – Merits

In 1965, the government of Rajasthan bestowed on Sankhala the Merit Award for outstanding contribution to wildlife conservation. He was the first civil servant to receive the Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship in 1970 to study the tiger. He received another Merit Award in 1982 for his book on the tiger, and in 1992 was awarded the country’s fourth highest civil honor, the Padma Shri by the President of India. The Ministry of Environment and Forests has established the Kailash Sankhala Fellowship award for conservation efforts in his honor.

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