Rewilding by Bahar Dutt

Rating – 7/10

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Amazon Link

Book Compressed into 3 Points

  • Rewilding is a complicated conservation effort which involves restoring degraded landscapes by reintroducing wild animals into habitats where they were wiped out from.
  • While conservation might appear like a lost cause in India, there are stories of hope. People are working to restore wildlife in areas where they were wiped out.

Who is it for?

  • Wildlife and nature enthusiasts, ecologists.
  • People who fear that conservation is a lost cause.

Favourite Quotes

  • How do we build the case for rewilding other parts of the world where biodiversity thrives in a sea of humanity?
  • Perhaps the biggest lesson for me while writing this book was that Indian wildlife conservation has come of age. It has joined the dots, recognizing that the ‘ark to park’ continuum is a complex process. Rewilding is no longer about breeding animals in captivity and then setting them free. A consolidated plan to secure habitats and corridors is necessary
  • Rewilding helped me put the soul back on conservation.


  • Rewilding is the reintroduction of animals (by active human intervention) into spaces where they once roamed and were wiped out. This is species centric and not focused on a few individuals.
  • Rewilding a landscape  restores it to its natural state, while renewing faith in humanity’s ability to conserve natural spaces. This feeling is of vital importance in this day and age of gloom.
  • Rewilding is based around 3 ideas (called the 3Cs):
  1.  Cores
  2. Corridors
  3. Carnivores.
  • In India, the second C “Corridors” seem to be the most neglected in conservation and needs to be addressed. These are tracts that connect two large forest patches together, providing safe passage for animals to pass through. 
  • In the book, she examines the rewilding stories of several animals; the tiger, olive ridley turtle, one-horned rhinoceros, dugongs, gharial, mahaseer, gyps vulture, pygmy hog, red-crowned roofed turtle. She also looks at rewilding of wetlands and coral reefs.
  • She dives into the stories of each species, shining light on its main characters and taking us through their journeys. These are tales of success that we otherwise would never get to hear.
  • She takes us through the intricacies of each project, the tiny success and what problems they face. 
  • Each project is site specific, facing its unique challenges. Each must come up with its own solutions to tackle these problems.
  • One project that I would like to highlight in this article is the rewilding initiative of the Golden Mahseer. This is spearheaded by Tata Power. It is very unusual to see a private company heading a conservation drive, even more so when the species in question is particularly charismatic.
  • It began when Tata constructed a dam Walwan dam in Pune, which led to a massive decline in mahseer population. In response, Tata power took it up to help these fish breed and get their numbers up.
  • She brings up the point of involving the local communities in such endeavours. Ignoring the local populace is not only unethical, it prevents one from harnessing generational knowledge that can be vital to a conservation endeavour.
  • So while India has not fully embraced the concept of rewilding, there are few stories here and there which speak of its success. It is enlightening to know that there remains hope for the wilds of India.


This book is a much needed work that shines light on successful conservation stories. It gives tales of success their time in the limelight.

I like how it was written, but feel like some chapters could have been structured better. She groups together stories that should have been written separately; the introduction for example, seems slightly haphazard, including ideas that merited its own section. I also feel like it could have been priced lower.

The cover, designed by Meenakshi Subramanium. is exceptionally well done. Her work is phenomenal, and a massive inspiration for me. I highly recommend you see her work.

Published by Ishan Shanavas

I am a young adult, interested in nature, photography, art and culture. An aspiring polymath, I share my learnings through my blog. I also include insights from my favourite books.

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