Wildlife is an important but still underrated experience when it comes to Indian adventure enthusiasts. And like everywhere else nothing prepares you better than a book so we thought to share our top 10 Must Reads for any Wildlife lover.
With the support from Government and National Parks of India getting their acts together, India surely has a fortune to offer to wildlife aficionados. If you are an animal lover and like exploring safaris you’d definitely like these books too. These books will give you more insight and help you discover the life of animals in the national parks. So here are out top 10 must reads.
Some of the best Indian wildlife books
1. Man-eaters of Kumaon by Jim Corbett
Jim Corbett was rightly referred to as the Hero of the Jungle. Possibly no one understood the Indian forests better than Jim. A fearless hunter, a skilled tracker, and an expert in the ways of the jungle, Corbett preferred solo hunt trips on foot, accompanied sometimes by his dog Robin. Above all Man-Eaters is an account of the thrilling first-hand encounters. Corbett experienced many of them in the jungles of Nainital. At the request of the impoverished locals he tracked and killed tigers and leopards which had become man-eaters. Man-Eaters of Kumaon is undoubtedly one of the best wildlife books you’d across.
2. The Elephant Whispers by Lawrence Anthony
The Elephant Whispers by South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony is not just a book on his struggles to form a bond with the elephants but a heartwarming, adventurous, and emotional memoir of his experiences with the elephants. Set against the backdrop of life on an African game reserve when Lawrence was requested to accept the heard of “rogue” on his Thula Thula game reserve. Lawrence was quite sure to refuse the request but he knew it was only him who could save the herd from being killed. It is an incredible story of his struggle to form a bond with these elephants who eventually accepted Anthony as their matriarch. This herd of elephants was present to mourn for his death in 2012 when he died.
3. Jim Corbett the Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag
This book is an exclusive adaption work of Corbett’s most difficult hunt of the ferocious man-eating leopard of all time. Corbett’s most sustained and unique effort was the way he elaborated every minute detail of his encounter with his toughest opponent, the notorious man eating leopard of Rudraprayag.
Several reasons make Man-Eating Leopard a great Indian wildlife book. It is a story comprising emotions of a hunter, his empathy towards the inhabitants and their losses, but above all how Corbett accepted his failure and was out beaten by the leopard for 8 years with his veritable cunning before he finally takes him down. A masterpiece narrated in the most beautiful manner.
4. Indian Mammals by Vivek Menon
An absorbing book on Indian Wildlife, Indian Mammals has been penned by Vivek Menon. The guide features the heterogeneous diversity of more than 400 species of mammals found in the Indian sub-continent. This extensively researched field guide is a must-have for all wildlife lovers and conversationalists. With 1000 outstanding photographs and 150 distribution maps it provides a unique perspective. This encyclopedic up-to-date Indian wildlife book outlines the basic identification features, biometrics, behavior, social strategies, habitat, and distribution of Indian mammals like elephants, tigers, rhinos, rodents, and bats. Indian mammals is a passionate work of Vivek Menon which would definitely benefit each category of the reader be it a naturalist, wildlifer lover, conservationists, and eco-tourists.
5. Birds of the Indian Subcontinent by Richard Grimmett
This book is an innovative study of the feathered creatures found in the Indian Subcontinent. The book has been compiled in detail to help the readers with researched first-hand information covering the wide range of bird species in countries like India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and the Maldives. The authors have very creatively used 214 color plates to distinguish among the numerous bird classes. The detailed text is supported by colored maps to further help in the classification of the birds by places of their origin. Out of 1300 species of birds, the birds covered in the book are Otus thilohoffmanni, S. whistleri and Seicercus burkii. A delightful read offering an interactive way to engage the reader.
6. A Life with Wildlife: From Princely India to the Present by M.K. Ranjitsinh
A Life with Wildlife is an insightful depiction of wildlife conservation in India. The extensive efforts put in by the top people in power makes it a gripping tale to read. Dr. M.K. Ranjitsinh has put forth challenges he witnessed of conservation in a democracy like India and how they were countered with. An active wildlife conversationalist, Dr. M.K. Ranjitsinh played a pivot role in India’s wildlife conservation history. A Life with Wildlife is the only book which takes into account the revelation of Bhopal Gas Tragedy and its impact on wildlife. One of the top 10 must reads for any budding conservationist or a wildlife lover.
7. The Rise & Fall of the Emerald Tigers – Raghu Chundawat
Raghu Chundawat’s immensely intriguing work on everything you ever wanted to read about Indian Tigers is exceptional. This book is an anthology of Chundawat’s findings from the only research project on tigers undertaken in India till date. The Emerald Tigers is a firsthand narration on the Panna tigers. It talks about how poaching and poisoning resulted in a subsequent decline of population. Raghu Chundawat fought all odds, be it the political parties’ intervention or backlash from the Panna wildlife sanctuary authorities but continued his fight to save Panna’s tigers. Every wildlife lover will enjoy reading this book and so it makes to our top 10 must reads.
8. Vanishing Stripes by Jai Mohan & Akash Mohan
Vanishing Stripes is a book that reveals actual insights as to why the man-animal conflicts take place and how people around the world can help to combat this issue. An excellent read for wildlife lovers with real thrilling stories explaining what it is to live near wildlife and the overall experience of living in the wild. It is a wonderful tribute to India’s forests and, especially to its mega fauna like tigers, leopards and sloth bears. The message that the author has tried to put across with his writing is that humankind should be more conscious towards preserving the wildlife we are gifted with and strike a sustainable balance with our action
9. Whispers from the Wild – E.R.C. Davidar
A wonderful book that elaborates on how listening to the wild species can reveal wonders about them. E.R.C Davidar the author of Whispers from the Wild has encapsulated his experiences of talking to tigers, how to befriend an elephant and how to live in a jungle. The book educates the readers about wildlife conservation in the Nilgiris. E.R.C. DAVIDAR was a lawyer by profession and a naturalist who has to his credit the establishment of the first private elephant corridor in India, besides his acclaimed book Cheetal Walk.
10. Voices in the Wilderness by Prerna Singh Bindra
Voices in the Wilderness is penned in a contemporary style of writing by 20 eminent authors, naturalists, scientists. They have come together to make this book on wildlife a unique addition to the wildlife conservation system of India. The book draws its readers with its interesting writing style capturing their imagination with its vivid description of the stunning tiger to the gentle caterpillar. Voices in the Wilderness is a celebration of India’s enrapturing wildlife. It’s a story of joys & mysteries of nature which would be a delightful read for any wildlife lover and so we just couldn’t miss this one from our top 10 must reads.