In 1972, a quarter century after Indian independence, the colonial legacy of shikar had continued despite the concerns that trophy hunting, trade in wildlife products and the increasing loss of natural habitat were taking a huge toll on India’s famed and diverse wildlife. The cheetah was already extinct; tiger numbers had plummeted and other wild animals including mammals, birds and reptiles were faring no better. This called for urgent measures. Many believed that national wildlife legislation was one such measure.
In 2022, India celebrated 75 years of Independence and 50 years of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. A lot has since happened on the wildlife front, and a lot more could have been achieved. Wildlife India at 50 captures India’s 50-year-long wildlife journey through the eyes and experiences of a diverse set of authors who themselves played a part in it.