Would you like to walk through one of the hathivanas (elephant forests) maintained by Mauryan king Chandragupta? Do you wish to be part of the royal dinner of a Mughal Emperor, with the menu containing a variety of forty meat dishes? Desirous of having a glimpse of the head on the shield and full-mount trophies of tigers and lions, decorating the halls and walls of the military lounges, lavish palaces and royal houses of the British Raj? Conservation Conundrum: Journey of India’s Wildlife through Ages paints a picture of the colonial times, the trials and tribulations, persecution and perturbation of the country’s wild animals in its recorded history.
The author has captured the theme through a historian’s kaleidoscope, where, from a period of plenty in ancient India, animal numbers plummeted to its lowest, when the country was into its first two decades of independence. The central thread is formed by how, from a situation of no hope, most of the iconic wildlife species registered a turnaround and smart recovery in a span of half a century, despite the odds working against them. With this book, the author tries to find an answer to the dilemma of whether it is human needs and interest or the future of the wild denizens that are important to a developing nation like India.
Hailing from a trading family in Tirumangalam, Madurai district, the author joined the Indian Forest Service (IFS) in 1982, while pursuing a doctoral degree in Environmental Sciences. Besides serving in the Tamil Nadu Forest Department in various capacities, he also worked as the Director of Environment and Member Secretary of Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board on deputation. He maintained academic interests throughout his professional career and authored more than 25 research papers on forestry, wildlife and environment. Two of his papers were awarded a prize by the Indian Forester, India's peer-reviewed journal on forestry and wildlife. Two of his books on forest history and a book on wildlife rescue won an award from the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education. Altogether, he has authored ten books.