Ramesh Pratap Singh, IFS (Retired)

Wildlife Service Awards (2017)

Field Director, devoted wildlife manager and staunch protector

Ramesh Pratap Singh, IFS (Retired) Keeping our precious Protected Areas (PAs) inviolate is an undertaking that requires the highest level of commitment and dedication. After serving in the Indian Forestry Services for more than three decades, R.P. Singh has worked through every tangent of wildlife conservation required to enable the revival of some of India’s most visited tiger destinations.

Singh began his administrative career as a Sub-Divisional Officer at Maharajpur, where the buffer zone of Kanha Tiger Reserve came under his jurisdiction. From there, he went from strength to strength, donning many a challenging hat, including that of Field Director of Satpura National Park, Field Director of Kanha Tiger Reserve, and Deputy Director of Bandhavgarh National Park. After a lifetime of managing wild habitats, he retired from the service as the Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) and Head of the State Tiger Strike Force, Madhya Pradesh, in 2017.

His profound understanding of wildlife conservation, forest management, administration and law and his sensitivity to local communities, led to landmark developments across various Protected Areas. From voluntary relocations to wildlife crime control, Singh displayed exemplary management capability. He was involved in the first, successful translocation of the highly endangered barasingha from Kanha to Bori Sanctuary in Satpura Tiger Reserve, and methodically tackled every micro intervention such as ensuring healthy hard ground sal forests and swamp generation, which are the species’ niche requirements.

Through his tenure as CCF and Field Director of Satpura National Park between 2011 and 2015, he successfully orchestrated the voluntary relocation of a staggering 37 villages from within the core of the tiger reserve. This helped alleviate biotic pressure on the park to a great extent, the strongest testimony to this being the reappearance of rare species in the area, such as the smooth coated otter, Indian grey wolf and honey badger.

As the head of M.P. Forest Department‘s State Tiger Strike Force, he oversaw the arrest of more than 200 wildlife criminals by implementing intense measures to combat poaching and trade. His valiant efforts have helped clamp down several major wildlife crime syndicates and their illegal operations in Madhya Pradesh.

R.P. Singh, in the pursuit of the preservation and protection of his beloved wilds, has left an indelible mark in India’s history of forest management and conservation, inspiring a whole generation of young officers.

And for this, we honour him.