Research Article

Saving the Tiger

Guy Mountfort


In Oryx, September 1972, Zafar Futehally described how, when it was found that the number of tigers in India had dropped to below 2000, Project Tiger was launched, with a Task Force appointed by Mrs Gandhi, and chaired by Dr Karan Singh, Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation and of the Indian Wildlife Board; the World Wildlife Fund promised a million dollars if the Indian Government would take the necessary conservation measures, and the President, HRH Prince Bernhard, has launched an international campaign to raise the money. Tiger hunting had already been banned throughout India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan, and the US and Britain have banned the import of tiger skins—tigers are one of the five endangered cats covered by the fur trade's voluntary ban agreed in 1970. Last summer the Indian Government produced a very valuable 100-page report on the tiger situation, supported by detailed surveys and proposing the creation of eight tiger reserves based on existing sanctuaries. In this article Guy Mountfort who is a WWF Trustee, and has made a special study of the Indian wildlife situation, describes the proposed reserves and continues the story of what he calls ‘the biggest and most important advance in the conservation of Asiatic wildlife’.