Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Jim Corbett the invincible hunter

I have read most of the hunting episodes of Jim Corbett the legendary hunter and conservationist. I have been much impressed by his word by word account of innumerable hunts. He gained reputation as a valiant hunter of man eating tigers in Northern India at Uttaranchal that was once part of Uttar Pradesh.  

He  was born at Naini Tal in 1875 and rose on to become a colonel in the British Army.  Being an ace marksmen he was frequently called by the then United Provinces Government to shoot man eating tigers that had created havoc in the hills of Nainital and elsewhere. 

The incidents happened mostly in the districts of Kumaon and Garhwal. His popularity rose with each success and he soon became famous among the villagers as Carpet Shahib. It was his fascination for forest life that turned him into a hunter. Late in life he shot only man eating tigers and leopards and game for food. 

He shot around thirty three man eating leopards and tigers during his life time. Jim was fascinated by jungle life and its denizens. He also loved the rustic populace whom he saved from tormenting scourge of man eaters.  The small museum at Choti Haldwani stands testimony to life and times of the hunter turned conservationist. 

Some of his accounts slaying man eating cats are published in the following books.

Panar Leopard
Leopard of Rudraprayag
Champavat Tiger
Chowgarh Tigress
Temple Tiger 
Man eaters of Kumaon 
Bachelor of Powelgarh

Corbett warned about the dwindling numbers of big cats in India and turned into a conservationist. He also took to wildlife photography and filmed the magnificent cats using his camera.    

The Corbett National Park & Tiger Reserve is named after him.