By the early 1970s Indian tigers had been hunted and poached to the edge of extinction – just 1800 were left, down from an estimated 40,000 in the 1930s.
The Prime Minister at the time, Indira Gandhi, banned hunting and set up 15 reserves across the country to try to re-establish the tiger in its natural habitat.
These reserves allowed the land to return to nature and the tigers to flourish, protected by wardens.
Tiger expert Valmik Thapar tells the BBC how he saw tiger numbers grow substantially, reaching 4000 in the 1990s. But since then poaching has returned and he fears for the future of the tiger.
: The stories of our times told by the people who were there.