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Second Nature
ISBN 9788192326924 / Rs 499.00 / 152 pp / Hardbound / January 2018

Second NatureSaving Tiger Landscapes in the Twenty-First Century


Beneath Sanjay Gubbi’s gentle demeanour lies Gandhian tenacity.Gubbi’s home state of Karnataka preserves some of the healthiest tigerlandscapes in the world, thanks in part to his dogged commitment to achieve the seemingly impossible—reroute highways that lie inside the core areas of tiger reserves, restrict traffic through national parks at night, ensure better working conditions for forest staff, and, importantly, meticulously map and link the state’s fragile protected areas. Most amazing of all, he has done this while collaborating with labyrinthine government departments.

Second Nature is Gubbi’s forthright account of how he has achieved this, rallying support from unexpected quarters under trying conditions, while reaching out to the powers that be in Bengaluru and New Delhi. He paints a picture that is at once optimistic and sombre, and ultimately, one that requires people to band together constantly to save what is left of what is most beautiful on Earth.

Sanjay Gubbi is a scientist studying big cats like leopards and tigers in the wild. As a conservationist, he has achieved the remarkable feat of linking 21 reserves in Karnataka to reduce the terrible impact of habitat fragmentation. He was awarded the prestigious Whitley Award in 2017. He serves on several government committees including the State Board for Wildlife. He is especially keen on popularising conservation through local languages.

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Sanjay Gubbi has been an indefatigable and informed champion for nature conservation in Karnataka, particularly, and across the Western Ghats ecosystem. He brings formidable academic expertise and meticulous fieldwork to his public campaigns. This book brings together his work over the past two decades and tells wonderful stories of ecological activism under difficult conditions. His untiring efforts provide a ray of hope at a time when the nation’s extraordinary biodiversity is under severe stress. I learnt much from him when I was Minister of Environment and Forests and this book shows why decision-makers should take him and what he says seriously.

- Jairam Ramesh, Former Minister of Environment and Forests

Sanjay Gubbi takes us behind the scenes in the struggle to set aside wildlands in one of the most rapidly developing nations on Earth. He chronicles his close collaboration with concerned and sympathetic government officials and conservationists of all stripes to overcome inertia, short-sightedness and, in some cases, nefarious plots to derail his noble undertakings. Sanjay seems like the best friend the wildlife of south India have ever had. Every aspiring young conservationist should read this book to gain inspiration. We need a thousand more Sanjay Gubbis.

- Eric Dinerstein, scientist and author of Tigerland and Other Unintended Destinations, Kingdom of Rarities, and several other books.

Sanjay Gubbi’s Second Nature is one of the few books I have ever read that deals with the nuts and bolts of applied conservation work in India. In almost painstaking detail, Gubbi shows how the field of conservation is not simply about biologists sitting in beautiful environments and watching nature. It is in fact a difficult odyssey that takes one from government offices, to local villages, to the courtroom, working with the whole spectrum of society that is needed to achieve sustainable conservation goals. This book is about both success and failure in one of the most beautiful and important tiger landscapes in the world. But most importantly, Gubbi’s story shows that with passion, good science, perseverance, and a little bit of luck, it is possible to fight seemingly overwhelming odds and save important pieces of the natural world for future generations.

- Alan Rabinowitz, CEO, Panthera
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