Photo Courtesy: Irani Saikia/WTI.
It is rumoured that in his lifetime, infamous tiger parts-trader Sansar Chand was only ever fearful of a handful of people, of whom Ashok Kumar was one. One of the pioneers of the fight back against wildlife crime in India, Ashok Kumar’s purpose, and intellect helped, early in the day, to mould some of the country’s finest wildlife organisations, including TRAFFIC-India, the Wildlife Protection Society of India and the Wildlife Trust of India, of which he is currently the Chairman Emeritus. Working undercover in the field, andon the all-important subsequent legal follow-up proceedings, he tracked and exposed innumerable wildlife crimes, including, but far from limited to, poaching and the trade in ivory, rhino horn, and shahtoosh. A man of profound foresight, Ashok Kumar’s purpose and legacy will live on through the institutions he helped establish and the army of credible conservationists he personally mentored.
First published in: Sanctuary Asia, Vol. XXXV No. 12, December 2015.