The world knows about the Jim Corbett national park in India, but not many of us are aware that the man behind India’s first national park was a blue-eyed, 6 feet tall guy, who hunted man-eating tigers and leopards, saving lives of thousands of people.
Who was Jim Corbett?
The man behind the world famous Jim Corbett National Park in India, was born as
Edward James Jim Corbett, the eight child of William Christopher and Mary Jane
Corbett. He was born on July 25th, 1875 in Nainital India and lived his retired life till death in Nyeri, Kenya with his sister. He lived early years of his life in Kaladhungiand after his father’s death, moved to Nainital.
Jim Corbett was a renowned hunter, naturalist and conservationist with British origins, and was also a world famous author. He was a sought after name during his times to hunt the man-eating beasts – tiger and leopards, and had won many accolades from the government and local people for his brave acts. He was a life-saving legendary figure, who was respected and given the title of ‘Holy-man’ by the local people. It is noteworthy that he only hunted for those tigers and leopards, which killed men. He is said to have 33 documented kills of tigers and leopards under his name, some of these most talked about are the Champawat Tiger – (responsible for 436 documented deaths), the Leopard of Rudraprayag (126 deaths), the Tigers of Chowgarh and the Panar Leopard.
The Works of Jim Corbett
Jim Corbett’s book – ‘Man-eaters of Kumaon’ became very popular in India, England and United States and was translated into 27 languages. After the Indian independence, Director Byron Haskin adapted his book into a Hollywood movie, which was unfortunately not a success. BBC made a documentary based on the book much later in 1986.
His initial love for hunting man-eating tigers which began at a young age of 10 was later replaced by his growing passion for wildlife photography. He was deeply concerned about the living conditions of the tigers, and educated children about wildlife, especially tigers. He played an integral part in setting up the All-India Conference for Preservation of Wildlife.
Jim never married. He lived the later part of his life in Kenya with his sister Maggie. He sold his house in Nainital, which is now the famous Jim Corbett Museum, attracting wildlife enthusiasts from all over the world. He died of a heart attack and breathed his last on April 19, 1955.Some of the other books authored by Jim are The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag, The Temple Tiger, More Man-Eaters of Kumaon, Jungle Lore, My India among others.
Visiting the Jim Corbett National Park
The Jim Corbett National Park in India, Asia’s oldest and India’s first, was established in 1936. The park was called Hailey National Park, which was renamed after Jim Corbett in 1957. It is located in the Uttarakhand region of India. It is home for the famous white Bengal tiger. Currently there are a number of Tiger conservation projects that are on in Corbett. He was also a lecturer at schools and colleges, inspiring children to converse mother nature and also, sharing with them the importance of doing so.
Tourism in the park is permitted in selected areas where over 70,000 local and international tourists visit every year to explore the fabulous landscapes and view animals in their natural habitat. The ideal time to visit is between mid November and mid June. The park is not accessible during the rest of the year. Ramnagar, located 240 km away from Delhi is an ideal to base to live in during your visits.
Becoming a Part of the Jim Corbett Initiatives
For animal enthusiasts and nature lovers looking for ways to contribute to the various activities that they take on, visitors and tourists have an opportunity to make donations to their eco-development and conservation initiatives. It is their endeavor to conserving nature in all its diversity by ensuring minima disturbance due to humans and protecting local endangered species such as the elephants and tigers.
Today, the park employs a staff of 400 odd permanent members and often provides opportunities for temporary employees to come on board and assist in meeting their objectives.
Jim Corbett has been and will always be a role model for wildlife enthusiasts and conservationists. He dedicated his life for the love of nature and continued to do so till the last moment.