The killing of Tigers and Leopards started since the arrival of the Mughals in India. Shikar or hunting as a sport was introduced by the Mughals, who ruled this land for 300 years. However, the Mughals did not kill them indiscriminately and few Mughal Emperors like Jehangir were sensitive towards conservation of nature and wildlife.
With the arrival of the British things started changing. Though on the positive side lot of observation, documentation and records started to be maintained but it also provided the information of the Indian Tiger and Leopards from being plentiful in the 19th century to the survival of man at the cost of these magnificent animals. One can imagine the magnitude of Tiger hunting during those days by the fact that in the year 1926 Maharaja of Alwar had organized a Tiger hunt for his British guest for which he had engaged a dozen elephants and close to 300 people. Europeans came to India in the 18th century and brought with them modern weaponry like guns and explosives. The Europeans ‘were the real plunderers of wildlife in India. With the departure of the British the leaders of our country directed their energies towards rebuilding the country. The affairs of the state and feeding the hungry population took center stage and protection of the flora and fauna took a backseat. In 1972 the stringent Wildlife Protection Act was introduced and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was pivotal in working towards protecting wildlife in India. Unfortunately the killing by poachers and people due to conflict of interest hasn’t stopped.
By: Madhuchanda Saxena