- Posted on 04 Jan 2012 5:46 am
Whenever the name Jim Corbett comes up, one cannot but help think about tigers in the
wild. His name has been immortalized in the form of the Jim Corbett Park. Perhaps because this is one of the finest natural parks to see tigers roam freely in their natural habitat, one thinks about these animals at the very mention of his name.
However, if asked, none of us knows very much about the man or for that matter the park, just the definite knowledge that both things have something to do with tigers. The Corbett Park history is as illustrious as the history of the man after which it has been named. On hearing it, the national park and the great animal that it strives to protect take on a whole new greater meaning.
His story is surprising to say the least. Jim Corbett started out his life as a hunter. He was a hunter of the very same animal that he later on dedicated his life to protect. An officer in the British Army, he was posted in India and Kenya among other places, but it was in these two places that he made a name for himself by slaying numerous man eating tigers and leopards.
It was because of this that his involvement with these animals grew. He was called on ever more frequently to hunt such animals and thus developed a great respect and admiration for the great cat. He later decided to only kill those animals that were a danger to man and left hunting as a sport.
An avid photographer, he decided to catalogue and collect information on these animals and the forests for the people. As his fondness for the tigers grew so did his concern for their fate. Thus, the hunter became a conservationist and he began to actively advocate for the safekeeping of these animals.
Coincidentally, the Corbett Park history is very similar to that of the man’s after which it was named. The park was originally established in 1907 as the Hailey National Park. It was a game reserve, where people could go to hunt the tiger! It was setup by the British but after independence it was renamed as the Ramganga National Park and a year later in 1955-56 it was renamed to Corbett National Park as it is known today.
The Jim Corbett Park is the oldest natural sanctuary in India and over the years has become a safe haven for animals like the Asian Elephant and the Great One Horned Rhinoceros along with the tiger. Located amidst picturesque mountains, valleys, rivers and lush green forests, it is an ideal tourist spot that teaches people to fall in love with nature.
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