रविवार, 23 अगस्त 2009

Billy Arjan Singh

Lieutenant Kunwar "Billy" Arjan Singh (15 August 1917-) is a former hunter turned avid conservationist and author.
Kunwar "Billy" Arjan Singh was born in Gorakhpur on 15 August 1917 as the second son of Kunwar Jasbir Singh, CIE (1887-1942), a member of the royal Ahluwalia dynasty of Kapurthala. His grandfather was Harnam Singh, Raja Maharaj Singh was his uncle, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur was his aunt and his elder brother was Air Vice-Marshal Kunwar Jaswant Singh, PVSM (1915-1963) In 1940, Singh was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the British Indian Army and fought in the Second World War, retiring in 1946 as a Lieutenant. Upon his return to India he purchased a farm on the edge of Dudhwa National Park in the Lakhimpur Kheri district of India. He still lives here in a residence he designed and calls 'Tiger Haven'.
Singh was honoured for his conservation efforts with Padma Shri in 1995. One of India's highest national awards it is conferred on people who distinguish themselves in different fields. This was closely followed by the world wildlife gold medal in 1996, then the Order of the Golden Ark only a year later and the lifetime award for tiger conservation in March 1999.
In 2004, when in his eighties, Billy Arjan Singh received the J.Paul Getty Wildlife Conservation award - a global honor administered by the World Wildlife fund - in recognition of his outstanding contribution to international conservation. He has been honored by several awards including the Padma Bhushan in 2006[1].
He is an author and has several popular wildlife books to his credit.[2].
1 Genetic pollution in wild Bengal Tigers
2 References
3 External links
3.1 Books authored
3.2 Films featuring Billy Arjan Singh and the Big Cats
Genetic pollution in wild Bengal Tigers
Tara a hand reared supposedly Bangal tigress acquired from Twycross Zoo in England in July 1976 was trained by Billy Arjan Singh and reintroduced to the wild in Dudhwa National Park, India with the permission of India's then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in an attempt to prove the experts wrong that zoo bred hand reared Tigers can ever be released in the wild with success. In the 1990s, some tigers from Dhudhwa were observed which had the typical appearance of Siberian tigers: white complexion, pale fur, large head and wide stripes. With recent advances in science it was subsequently found that Siberian Tigers genes have polluted the otherwise pure Bengal Tiger gene pool of Dudhwa National Park. It was proved later that Twycross Zoo had been irresponsible and maintained no breeding records and had given India a hybrid Siberian-Bengal Tigress instead. Dudhwa tigers constitute about 1% of India's total wild population, but the possibility exists of this genetic pollution spreading to other tiger groups, at its worst, this could jeopardize the Bengal tiger as a distinct subspecies[3][4][5][2][6][7][8][9][10][11]
^ Billy Arjan Singh awarded Padma Bhushan, WWF-India (Worldwide Fund for Nature - India), 30 Mar 2006
^ a b BOOKS By & About Billy Arjan Singh
^ Indian tiger isn't 100 per cent "swadeshi (Made in India)"; by PALLAVA BAGLA; Indian Express Newspaper; November 19, 1998
^ Tainted Royalty, WILDLIFE: ROYAL BENGAL TIGER, A controversy arises over the purity of the Indian tiger after DNA samples show Siberian tiger genes. By Subhadra Menon. INDIA TODAY, November 17, 1997
^ The Tale of Tara, 4: Tara's Heritage from Tiger Territory website
^ Genetic pollution in wild Bengal tigers, Tiger Territory website
^ Interview with Billy Arjan Singh: Dudhwa's Tiger man, October 2000, Sanctuary Asia Magazine, sanctuaryasia.com
^ Mitochondrial DNA sequence divergence among big cats and their hybrids by Pattabhiraman Shankaranarayanan* and Lalji Singh*, *Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Uppal Road, Hyderabad 500 007, India, Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, CCMB Campus, Uppal Road, Hyderabad 500 007, India
^ Central Zoo Authority of India (CZA), Government of India
^ "Indians Look At Their Big Cats' Genes", Science, Random Samples, Volume 278, Number 5339, Issue of 31 October 1997, 278: 807 (DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5339.807b) (in Random Samples),The American Association for the Advancement of Science
^ Book - Tara : The Cocktail Tigress/Ram Lakhan Singh. Edited by Rahul Karmakar. Allahabad, Print World, 2000, xxxviii, 108 p., ills., $22. ISBN 81-7738-000-1. A book criticizing Billy Arjan Singh's release of hand reared hybrid Tigress Tara in the wild at Dudhwa National Park in India

Dudhwa National Park

Dudhwa National Park comprises of sal forests, marshes and grasslands which harbour a wide variety of wildlife। The Park is famous for the reintroduced one horned rhino and swamp deer (barasingha)
Dudhwa National Park, in Lakhimpur-Kheri District of Uttar Pradesh, adjacent to Nepal border, is one of the major projects for wildlife preservation in India। Spread over an expanse of approximately 811 sq।kms of marshes, grasslands and dense forests, it is a home for over 38 species of mammals, 16 species of reptiles and numerous species of birds. It has two core areas: Dudhwa National Park and Kishanpur wildlife sanctuary. They are 15 kms. apart with agricultural land between them. Unlike other major national parks in India like Corbett, Kaziranga etc., its un commercialized environment makes it an ideal place for animal and bird lovers to spend a day or two in peace, closest to nature.After independence of India in 1947, the locals starting encroaching the wilderness of the jungle and the forests started being replaced by paddy and sugarcane. Its location on the Indo-Nepal border provides ideal environment for poachers who hunt for the animals here and sell their products in Nepal, which being a tourist place gives them a huge market for these things. It was a heaven for poachers, game lovers and locals. It is due to the untiring and single-handed efforts of 'Billy' Arjan Singh that this park now stands with its richness. The area was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1965 which received a lot of criticism from the people benefiting from the area. Standing up to the point of being obsessive, Billy favored the decision and went on to convince the erstwhile Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, to declare the forest as a National park in 1977. In 1984-85, seven rhinos were relocated from Assam and Nepal to Dudhwa to rehabilitate a rhino population which lived here 150 years ago. Four years later, it was declared a Tiger Reserve under the Project Tiger and currently is a major habitat for tigers in India.
Dudhwa National Park Attraction Details:
Apart from the swamp deer, there are at least 37 species of mammals and 16 species of reptiles. Dudhwa Wildlife Sanctuary is said to have 101 tigers and four leopards. Recently, the hispid hare has also been spotted in the area. It was here in 1984 that a major rhinoceros rehabilitation project was started since these forests had been the habitat of the rhinoceros 150 years ago. Five rhinos were relocated from Assam but two of the females died due to the strain of transportation. These were replaced in 1985 by four more females from Nepal. Dudhwa's birds, in particular, are a delight for any avid bird watcher. The marshlands are especially inviting for about 400 species of resident and migratory birds including the Swamp Partridge, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Bengal Florican, plenty of painted storks, sarus cranes, owls, barbets, woodpeckers, minivets and many more. Much of the park’s avian fauna is aquatic in nature, and is found around Dudhwa’s lakes- especially Banke Tal.The major vegetation types in this region are tropical semi-evergreen forest, tropical moist deciduous forest, riparian and swamp forest and dry deciduous forest. The dominant tree species are Shorea robusta, Terminalis tomentosa, Adina cordifolia, Terminalia belerica, Eugenia jambolana, Dalbergia sissoo, and Bombax malabaricum. The various types of forests throughout the park are interrupted by wide stretches of mesophyllous grasslands locally called the phantas. SafarisThe forest provides no jeep safaris or guides. Jeeps and mini buses can be hired to move around inside the park. Elephant rides through the Park are also available and moreover the mahouts or Elephant drivers also double up as guides. Other Attractions The park is conveniently located at an easily approachable distance from all the major tourist attractions of the state. Travel to the historic city of Lucknow or pay a visit to the shimmering water of the Ganga at Varanasi. You can also visit Agra, home of the Taj Mahal.
Best Time to Visit Dudhwa National Park:
November to May (The park remains closed from July to October)
How to reach Dudhwa National Park:
Air :Lucknow is the most convenient airport. Indian Airlines operates a number of flights to Lucknow from major cities across the country. The timings of flights from Delhi are 9:30 (except Tuesday), 10:00 (Tuesday), 16:05 (throughout the week) and 17:30 (Wed, Fri, Sun). Air Sahara flies from Mumbai to Lucknow at 19:30. Outside India, Nepal at 35 kms is the nearest airport. Rail : The nearest railheads are Dudhwa (4 kms), Palia (10 kms) and Mailani (37 kms), however the most convenient way would be to travel to Lucknow (conveniently connected to most of the Indian cities) and hit the road or take a train to any of the nearer stations from there. Some of the important daily trains from Delhi to Lucknow are Kaifiyat Exp. (19:25), Lucknow Mail (22:00), Shramjeni N Exp. (13:15), Vaishali Exp. (19:50), Gorakdam Exp. (20:15), Sapt Kranti Exp. (16:45) and Bihar S Kranti (14:40). Other daily Mumbai-Lucknow trains are Kushinagar Exp. (22:55) and Pushpak Exp. (8:20).Road : The State Roadways buses and private bus services link Palia to Lakhimpur Kheri, Shahjahanpur, Bareilly and Delhi. Buses are frequent between Palia and Dudhwa. The most convenient way to travel to the park, if you are coming in from India, is to make your way to Lucknow, either by air or by rail and take a bus or train to Dudhwa, which is just 4 km from the entry gate of the park. For foreign tourists looking to start their journey of India from Dudhwa, it is advisable to travel to the Nepal airport and take one of the number of transport means available from there. To travel by road from Delhi, take the NH24 to Shahjahanpur via Ghaziabad, Moradabad, Rampur and Bareilly. A district road from here will take you to Dudhwa via Pawayan, Kutar, Mailani, Bhira and Palia.
Where to stay in Dudhwa National Park:
Accommodation in the park is available at log huts, lodges and forest resthouses at Dudhwa, Sathiana, Bankatti, Kila and Sonaripur. All are pretty minimalist (except the one at Dudhwa, which has a small canteen attached to it), and charge a nominal tariff of a couple of hundred bucks a night. Also in the park, on its southern periphery, is a lodge owned by `Billy’ Arjan Singh, the conservationist who has largely been responsible for the setting up of Dudhwa. Another option is to stay outside the park; Palia has a handful of hotels, and luxuries that you won’t get in the park- provisions, medical facilities, and telephones included. The hotels in the town, obviously charge more than what you’ll pay in Dudhwa; about Rs 500-700 a night is a fair estimate.

Dudhwa National Park

Distance from Delhi : 420kmDistance from Lucknow : 260kmTotal area : 490sq kmBest time to visit : October to April
¤ Dudhwa National Park - The Largest and Thickest Forests ReserveAs the morning sun shines over the 50 feet tall Sal trees, dragonflies stretch out their wings by the gentle warmth of the golden sun. Sitting calmly on the dew- drenched leaves, they bask in the fresh warmth to recharge themselves for the day’s flight. Somewhere in the distance a koyal welcomes the morning with it's musical ode. Very little of the sun is able to cut through the thickness of the jungle. But what reaches the ground definitely explodes into a majestic display of light and shadow on the canvas of dry leaves. An occasional rustle sends shivers down the spine. This is Dudhwa National Park,the most precious reserves, that makes excellent wildlfie holiday vacations in India.¤ LocationAround 420km by road from Delhi and 260km from Lucknow, Dudhwa National Park is spread over 490sq km along with a buffer area of over 100sq km. Besides massive grassland and swamps, the Park boasts of one of the finest qualities of Sal (Shorea robusta) forests in India. Some of these trees are more than 150 years old and over 70 feet tall. But when the area was first notified as a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1965, and later as a National Park in 1977, it faced intense opposition from foresters, game lovers and local inhabitants.¤ Converted Into National ParkNobody wanted to lose this precious piece of land that was a life-support system for the locals. It was Billy Arjun Singh who stepped in to see Dudhwa through its fate. Committed to the point of being obsessive, this man stood firmly in favour of the jungle and convinced the erstwhile Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to notify the forest as a National Park. This was a turning point in the history of Dudhwa National Park. Till then, the forest was a safe haven for both poachers and timber smugglers. Soon strict measures were taken to save the forest. In 1976, the park boasted of a population of 50 tigers, 41 elephants and 76 bears apart from five species of deer, more than 400 species of birds, a few crocodiles, and some other species of mammals and reptiles. officials claim that today the tiger population in Dudhwa has touched 70. However, the local NGOs believe that the number of tigers in Dudhwa doesn’t cross 20.¤ Main Wildlife Attractions
BarasinghaDudhwa National Park holidays will take you to your most thrilling holiday vacations where one rendezvous the barasingha, or the swamp deer, which can be seen in herds of more than a 100। India is the only country where this species of deer is found. According to a crude estimate, only 4,000 odd barasinghas have survived on the planet today, out of which more than 2,000 are found in Dudhwa. Smaller than the sambar, the barasinghas have 12 antlers that can collectively measure more than 100cm in height. A full-grown stag can weigh as much as 180kg and measure 135cm at shoulder height. The coat is slightly woolly, dark brown to pale yellow, adapted perfectly to camouflage the herd in the tall elephant grasses of the region. With the onset of winter, there is plenty of food to eat and warm sun for the deer to bask in. It is the right time for the females to conceive and for the males to form harems. This is the season when the swamps of Dudhwa echo with the frequent wallowing of rutting stags. There is hardly a serious conflict between the adult males. Mock fights entail stiff postures and shrill calls rather than the actual locking of the horns. But the most intriguing behaviour of the rutting male swamp deer is to decorate its antlers with grass – probably a ritual before going in for a mass courting.Time For The New BornsThe onset of spring brings back harmony. The females have conceived and now the herd should be prepared to welcome the newborn fawns. There is no point wearing domineering antlers now. With winter gone, it’s time to shed the woolly coats. During this point of time in the year, one can hardly see any fights amongst the males. Suddenly everyone in the herd is busy grazing, preparing themselves for the harsh summer ahead. Tiger PopulationAnother major attraction of the Dudhwa National Park is its tiger population. Holidays in Dudhwa National Park gives ample opportunity to site the majestic creatures, the tigers.Once Dudhwa was severely affected by man-eating tigers. Although today one hardly hears of man-eating tigers in Dudhwa, the structure of the Park could have facilitated the attacks. This is probably the only Park that doesn't have adequate buffer area to support the main Park. This leads to conflict between human beings and animals that do not respect each other’s territories.In the late 70s, Dudhwa became a wildlife hotspot that was famous the world over. The reason – indiscriminate killings by a tiger. On March 2, 1978, the first ever case of man-eating in the history of the National Park was registered. Soon after, three more men were killed. Suddenly, shock and fear gripped the entire area. The entire city lodged a protest with the forest officials, demanding the man-eater be killed.The Increasing Incidence of Man- EatingOne after another, reports of more killings began to make the headlines of newspapers, but soon, the tale of the man-eating tiger acquired a new twist. The forest officials and the public had by now started believing that Tara, a tigress born in a zoo in London, brought up in Billy Arjun Singh’s farmhouse, Tiger Haven and rehabilitated in Dudhwa, was behind the killings. Billy, the man who was instrumental in getting the Park notified was conducting experiments on the big cats.After rearing leopard and tiger cubs to adulthood, he had tried to rehabilitate them in the jungle. These experiments invited both criticism and appreciation from wildlife lovers all over the world. The forest officials and the locals had a strong feeling that Billy’s experiments had failed and the tigress he introduced in the wild had not acquired the skill, agility or technique to hunt, which is very important for any tiger to survive. Tara was born and brought up in the company of men, and the forest officials believed that she was not afraid of human beings. They were convinced that since she did not know how to hunt alert and agile wild animals, she had taken to man-eating. Even today, the controversy rages on.However, after a total 24 cases of man-eating, the killer tigress was done to death by the forest officials (Billy himself was one of the hunters) on November 11, 1979. It was once again a season of arguments and counter arguments. While one lobby tried to project the killed tigress as Tara, Billy presented evidence to deny the same. Nonetheless, whosoever she was, this man-eating tigress of Dudhwa is very much alive in the memories of the elders and the staff of Dudhwa.Tigers Are Not Born Man-EatersIt is not so that Dudhwa has only negative experiments to its credit; it has a few success stories as well. Billy and Ram Lakhan Singh Yadav, who was the Director of the Park, even conducted experiments to reform man-eating tigers. Both Billy and Yadav are passionate conservationists. Both of them are of the opinion that tigers are not born man-eaters, they are forced into man-eating only when human beings encroach upon their habitat and interfere with their lifestyle. Guided by their instincts in such a situation, tigers are forced to attack and eat man. Detailed and minute observations of the site of killings over a period of time turned this conjecture into a belief. Reform Brought In Wildlife Rules Eventually, the Billy-Yadav team came across a man-eater that had killed and eaten four people. This tiger, that later came to be known as the long-toed tiger, had taken to man-eating by chance. The first prey of this tiger was a grass-cutter who had intruded into its territory rather inadvertently. Outraged by such behaviour, the tiger killed the man and took to man-eating. This incident helped further strenthen Billy and Yadav’s belief. The long-toed tiger was neither weak nor old. Both Billy and Yadav decided to reform him, for they did not accept that the tiger was killing humans as a substitute for its natural prey. They decided to get the tiger back to his natural prey. For this it was necessary to transfer him to an area of low human interference and high natural prey availability.In its new home, the long-toed tiger was offered regular baits, 32 in all. The quantity of food offered to the tiger was reduced with each passing day. and the result was that the long-toed tiger was forced to hunt to compensate for the decreased quantity of readily available food. In forty days, the long-toed tiger was fully cured and he returned to his natural prey and started hunting. What Billy and Yadav did was that they simply reformed wildlife rules. Until then it was believed that once the tiger took to man-eating, it was very difficult to reform it. The only way out was to shoot it.Although wildlife conservationists the world over welcomed the experiment, Billy and Yadav soon realised that the same formula could not be used for every man-eater. Sometime later in August, 1978, Yadav was forced to shoot a tiger that had claimed 16 human lives in the district of Lakhimpur-kheri. Another man-eating tigress was shot by Yadav in November the same year. Yadav wanted to reform this tigress that was rearing two cubs on the one hand, and, had eaten six people, on the other. One should try and understand the dilemma that a conservationist-hunter faces in such a situation: the life and security of one’s fellow human beings versus the will to conserve and save another ‘fellow species’ who, by accident, turns ‘criminal’. Yadav ended up shooting the tigress Gola, the mother of two cubs. Other Incidence of Man - EatingAround this time, Dudhwa witnessed many incidences of man-eating. Sometimes two or three tigers together would spread havoc. On December 6, 1978, the hunter Mahindera Singh shot the man-eating tigress of Gola-Barocha. 70km from Dudhwa, another tigress was killed after she killed six people. On February 24, 1979 the jungles of Dudhwa saw the death of another man-eater.When dead the tiger that measured almost three metres was brought to the head-office at Lakhimpur-kheri, thousands of people flock to see the animal. Another tiger was killed in April 1980 in the forest of the Bajarghat section in the Terai. The man-eating tiger of Bhira that had killed ten people was shot dead on April 12, 1982.One after another, many man-eaters showed up at Dudhwa and disappeared. The forest officials, along with their honorary warden Billy Arjun Singh tried to save and reform some of them. But unchecked intrusion by people for fodder prompted the tigers to attack and kill. Moreover, lack of simple resources like tranquillisers and adequate skills, made trapping and relocating the animals back in the heart of the jungle, impossible for the forest officials. The ‘Project Reform Tiger’ suffered a serious setback due to these incidents. Billy Arjun Singh still lives in his farmhouse, Tiger Haven. The man is so dedicated to the well being of wildlife that he has kept a portion of his farm reserved for wild deer to graze on. Today Dudhwa is more or less silent, although occasionally one can hear of stray incidents of man-mauling by tigers on the peripheries. But these instances cannot be branded as cases of man-eating. Today Dudhwa is very much like any other National Park in the country. For both the wild animals and the local inhabitants.