Daulat Singh Shaktawat

Wildlife Service Awards (2011)

Assistant Conservator of Forests (ACF) in the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, braveheart and tiger lover

Daulat Singh Shaktawat, It is on the shoulders of such men that the world of conservation stands when we want to save the tiger, or its forests. Born and brought up in Rajasthan, this brave man was attacked in 1985 by the villagers of Sherpur and Khilchipur who killed a member of his patrolling party. Yet Daulat Singh was back on duty the very next morning. In Sariska, in 1997, a leopard that came out of anaesthesia faster than expected badly mauled him… and again, he was back on duty the day he was discharged from hospital. In 2010, in a now-famous incident on the fringes of the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve at Bhuri Pahari, he lost an eye when ‘T-Seven’ – a terrified and confused tiger that was being harassed by a mob of over 3,000 villagers, suddenly turned on him. Daulat Singh’s first coherent comment was: “It was not ‘T-Seven’s fault. If the villagers had not forced him back, the tiger would have quietly returned to the forest.” For several months after this attack, his life hung in the balance. When he was discharged, he heard that T-Seven had wandered out of Ranthambhore to Karoli, then Dholpur, and Mathura, all the way to the Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur, where he lived for four months. When the Wildlife Institute of India team decided to tranquillise T-Seven for release in Sariska, Daulat Singh insisted he accompany the team so that he could be certain that the tiger he saved from the mob was safely released. This incredibly courageous man is the quintessential tiger defender.

For this we honour him.