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On the trail of the Tiger

June 29, 2005

Tiger' Pataudi's family and supporters may be pleading his defence now, but the noble animals he got his nickname from are in more dire need of being saving.

As concern mounts about the thinning of tiger populations around the world, here are two very different types of books that deal with the magnificent animal.

Stephen Mills
BBC Books
168 pages

Stephen Mills, who has been a professional naturalist all his working life and has studied tigers in India and Nepal since the 1980s, wrote the BBC film Tiger Crisis, which helped to bring the increase in tiger poaching to international attention.

He is also a former chairman of the International Association of Wildlife Filmmakers and has published over 300 articles on wildlife.

Now, with this nicely illustrated and lucidly written book, Mills deals with every aspect of tiger behaviour: from their social structures, breeding patterns and family life to their eating habits and how they communicate and interact.

He also discusses recent attempts to conserve tigers, offering a possible blueprint for the future, and provides up-to-date information on how and where to try and see tigers in the wild.

Honorary Tiger: The Life Of Billy Arjan Singh
Duff Hart-Davis
Lotus/Roli Books
224 pages

A chronicle of a truly remarkable life. Now 87 years old, Billy Arjan Singh is popularly known as India's latter-day Jim Corbett and 'tiger man'.

At Tiger Haven, his home at the edge of a jungle in Uttar Pradesh, Billy's experiments with bringing up three orphaned leopards and a tiger cub brought him both fame and controversy, as he succeeded in demonstrating that dwindling wildlife can be supplemented with zoo-born animals.

He has remained a champion of the forest and its regal inhabitants for many decades and has recently received the J Paul Getty Wildlife Conservation award -- a global honour administered by the World Wildlife Fund.
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