- Date: January 04, 2010
- In This Story:
“The air we breathe and the water we drink stem from the biodiversity of the universal environment and its economics. The tiger is at the centre of this truth. If it goes, we go.”
Billy Arjan Singh
WWF bids farewell to “Billy” Arjan Singh, 92, the legendary Indian tiger conservationist who passed away on Jan 1, 2010.
During an extraordinary life, most of which was spent on his farm Tiger Haven, Billy devoted himself to tiger conservation.
The former hunter turned conservationist was instrumental in persuading Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to create a tiger reserve in Dudhwa. Today, Dudhwa National Park is home to tigers, elephants and rhinos, and a vital link in the Terai Arc Landscape.
Billy was the author of many popular books and received worldwide acclaim for his conservation efforts which includes India's highest national award the Padma Shri (1995), World Wildlife Fund gold medal (1996), the Order of the Golden Ark (1997), the J.Paul Getty Wildlife Conservation award (2004) the Yash Bharati and the Padma Bhushan (2006).
Billy was an opinion-maker and a proponent of direct action whose legacy will continue to motivate wildlife conservationists around the world.
I had the privilege of meeting Billy several times and interacting with him. Even with failing health, his eyes would light up at the mention of the tiger and he was always eager to engage in efforts in support of this majestic animal. He held very strong views and would regularly type away letters on his trusty typewriter to flag his concerns on issues that he considered important.
Head of TRAFFIC India
Billy didn’t shy away from a challenge and it was a privilege to have worked with him in the Terai Arc Landscape. He was a strong ally who showed us that one person can—and does—make a difference. We owe him a debt of gratitude for leading by example.
Deputy Director, Eastern Himalayas
There was no one quite like Billy. He was a one-man park service and conservation department on tigers and Asian mammals. The success that is Dudhwa National Park is perhaps the most fitting epitaph for Billy.
Dr Eric Dinerstein
Chief Scientist, WWF