Tuesday, March 8, 2011

RIP Fateh Singh Rathore...

The 3000 or so tigers alive today lost a human ally in Mr. Rathore on March 1. He was a man who fought for them single-handedly, against the wishes of people and . The Tiger Guru, died of cancer at his home just outside of Ranthambhore the 116 square-mile tiger preserve he helped create.

The Indian government banned tiger hunting in 1969, and three years later started Project Tiger to create preserves. Persuading villagers to move “was one of my most difficult assignments,” Mr. Rathore told Sanctuary Asia magazine, which is published by a nongovernmental organization of the same name.

“The people hugged the trees and wept,” he said. “I was crying with them because, inside me, I knew they were paying the price for something they may never understand.” The government compensated them with money and land, but there were violent confrontations. In 1981, a mob armed with clubs fractured Mr. Rathore’s skull and kneecap.

(via NYTimes International edition)