A resident, tourist looking for resorts near Jim Corbett National Park, or just a curious being- no matter who you are out of all of these, this interesting story, journey or transformation of Mr. Edward James Corbett aka Jim Corbett will surely be a great read for you. He is a hunter turned conservationist who started this tiger reserve back in 1939 which after he passed away was named after him as Jim Corbett National Park.
When anyone goes to this place, he goes to a non-expected realm of nature’s beauty. The park is surrounded by dense and lush green Himalayan trees from all the sides and the villages nearby the reserve act as an abode to the birds, and animals that live in harmony with the humans. Also, when you go inside the reserve no animal is caged, they all roam freely while humans like us go inside the reserve while sitting in the Jeep safari or Elephant Safari. Another interesting insight about the place is that in the village Chhoti Haldwani the villagers and animals live so in harmony with each other that tigers are even spotted roaming on the roads or coming inside the house of the villagers often. Similarly, the villagers go in the jungle fearlessly every day for some or the other work.
The man who made all of this happen is James Corbett and when alive, he was a blessing to them all. Popular by the name ‘Carpet Sahib’, he was a highly respected British Official, especially in the Kumaoni hills. Let us understand why he was so popular!
A protection shield for local villagers-
Corbett was on a man-eating leopard hunt. Born in Nainital, he pledged to commit his life to these forests. He has written a book, in which he has mentioned that the leopards and tigers at that time used to eat the villagers. No one including women, men and children was safe there.
He also mentioned that most of the times these big cats were just eating humans in self-defence as they saw humans as a threat to them and their cubs. However, sometimes they ate men because they were out on a hunt.
So, even though this involved a lot of risks, Corbett used to take one or two guards, wait for the cats to come and hunt them to save the villager’s life.
Not a mere hunter- Besides hunting the man-eaters, Jim also used to teach the villagers about animal behaviour. So, that when he is not around, they can protect themselves, make a move to save themselves or sense the move of the animals that means they are going to attack soon. The same helped the villagers a lot in carrying out their daily activities with less trouble.
The Chhoti Haldwani Great Wall- Now the visitors have option to stay in safe resorts near Jim Corbett National Park but earlier, the villagers were troubled by the tigers and leopards of that time a lot as both of them considered each other as threats. So, this is why at that time, till now, there is a 5-foot high wall made by Jim Corbett that is stretched to 5 kilometres of the area between forest and village. This reduced the number of attacks immensely. This helps both animals and humans survive peacefully without killing each other.
A true crusader for animal rights- This is one of the most cherished forests in India. Jim Corbett used to discuss things about natural heritage and ways to conserve them with the children in Nainital. He really wanted to do something to save the tigers and nature. He started fearing the time when there would be no animal or bird left on the planet for the coming generations to see. Hence, he advocated for a foundation and organised an All India conference which was aimed to discuss about the conservation of wildlife.
So, these were a few interesting parts of the life of Jim Corbett and the reserve he established. And as a result of the same, the report of 2014 of tiger census showed that this park in India is home 215 tigers. This number is in itself the largest in any national park in India.
Now that is what you call truly leaving a legacy behind!