Jim Corbett National Park
Jim Corbett National Park has captivated the hearts of many with its diverse wildlife and breath taking landscapes. The gurgling waters of the Ramganga along the backdrop of the Kumaon ranges leaves man and animal alike, speechless!
History and Origin
Named after the legendary tiger hunter turned naturalist Jim Corbett (1875-1955), the proud destination ‘Jim Corbett National Park was the first national park of India, which was established in 1936. An interesting story goes behind its establishment. During its inception, the name of the park was Hailey National Park, which was rechristened afterwards in the honour of the great conservationist and naturalist Jim Corbett, who hunted down tigers that had turned man-eaters in Kumaon, Uttarakhand (between 1907 to 1939). During the later phase of his life, Jim Corbett strove for the conservation of the ecosystem and wildlife, especially tigers. This dedication to the cause led to this national park being chosen as the venue for the inauguration “Project Tiger” in 1973.
Corbett Tiger Reserve boasts of being one of the largest reserved forest in India, spread across 1288.31 sq. kms over three districts of Uttarakhand viz., Pauri, Nainital and Almora. Corbett National Park covers an area of 521 sq. km and together with the neighboring Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary and Reserve Forest areas, forms the Corbett Tiger Reserve. Geographically it is located between the Shiwalik Himalayas and the terai. The unique ecosystem paints a vivid mosaic of habitats- wet and dry, plain and mountainous, gentle and rugged, forests and grasslands. Flat valleys are interspersed with hilly ridges and the Park’s rolling grasslands provide an excellent view of many an indigenous species.
Flora and Fauna
With a prime location amongst the foothills of the Kumaon Himalayas, the Corbett ecosystemsupports numerous plant and animal species, representing Himalayan as well as plains species. The most visible trees found in Corbett Park are Sal, Sissoo and Khair.Chir Pine is the only conifer of the Park and is found on ridge-tops. The upper reaches near Kanda ridge have oak growing, which is essentially a Himalayan species. Other major tree species seen in and around Corbett Park are Bel, Kusum, Mahua, and Bakli. The most famous of Corbett’s wild residents are the Royal Bengal Tiger and the Asiatic Elephant. Others include Leopards, Wild Boar, Sloth Bear, Jackal, Mongoose, and Crocodile. In addition, with over 600 species of avifauna Corbett is one of the richest bird regions of the Country and has been declared as an ‘Important Bird Area’ (IBA) by Birdlife International.
Did you know?
Jim Corbett National Park was India’s first national park. Jim Corbett put Kumaon on the international map with his famous book “The Man Eaters of Kumaon”. Jim Corbett was greatly revered by local people for killing tigers that preyed on people. However it is interesting to note that Corbett eventually shot more wildlife with his camera than with his gun in his entire lifetime!