A Peak inside the History of the Park: The Corbett Tiger reserve has quite a history. It is India's First National Park and one of the finest, notable for its individualistic scenic charm and magnificent subroutine and revering vistas, and also for its richly varied wildlife, still interestingly in the process of change, and the site of the launching of project Tiger. Early this century its exceptional potential as a wildlife reserve was recognized and there were moves to have it officially declared a sanctuary, liberating it from the exploitation of its tree forests and human occupation of the riverside land. Finally, in 1936 it was set up as the first authentic national park of the country under the United Provinces National Parks Act.
Originally, it was named the Hailey National Parks Act after Sir Malcolm Hailey, the Governor of the united provinces, who took such a keen interest in its development as a preserve. After Independence it was renamed the Ramganga National Park, and later still the name was again changed to the Corbett National Park this last change, it should be noted, was not solely in commemoration of the late Jim Corbett, the famous slayer of man eaters in the sub Himalayan forests, but also in recognition of his services in determining the location and limits of the proposed national park before it was set up he had been consulted over this as an expert. Jim Corbett- hunter of man-eating Tigers, photographer, conservationist and author was born in Nainital of English and Irish parentage. A childhood spent around the Corbett winter home of Kaladhungi brought young Jim into close communion with nature, and to an instinctive understanding of jungle ways. After working on the railways, he joined the Indian army in 1917 at the age of forty; he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and saw action in Flanders at the head of the 70th Kumaon Company.
The Savior - Jim Corbett:
Known locally as "Carpet Sahib", a mispronunciation of his name, Jim Corbett was called upon time and time again to rid the hills of Kumaon of man eating Tigers and Leopards. Normally shy of human contact, such animals become man eaters when infirmity brought upon by old age or wounds renders them unable to hunt their usual prey many of those killed by Corbett were found to have suppurating wounds caused by Porcupine quills embedded deep in their paws; Tigers always seem to fall for the Porcupine's simple defensive trick of walking backwards in line with its lethal quills.
Adventures Of Corbett:
One of Corbett's most memorable exploits was the killing of the Rudraprayag Leopard, which accounted for 125 human lives between 1918 and 1926, and was bold enough to steal its victims from the midst of human habitation; he also terminated the careers of the Chowgarh Tigress, the Talla Des and the Mohan man eaters. Corbett described his adventures in books such as my India, Jungle Lore and man-eaters of Kumaon; Martin Booth's Carpet Sahib is an excellent biography of a remarkable man. Awarded the order of the British Empire in recognition of his lifelong work with nature, Jim Corbett was unhappy in post Independence India, and left to settle in East Africa.
On April 1, 1973, Project Tiger was inaugurated here. This ambitious project aims at saving and reviving the alarmingly dwindled Indian Tiger (Panthera Tigris) by setting up specially selected reserves of adequate area in which not only the Tiger but also all other animals and the wild flora, would be totally conserved, such total conservation with no selective bias, depending on the ability of nature of maintain its own balance, being much the best way to rehabilitate any animal, as part of a whole wildlife complex. In 1973 there were 8 such reserves under the project, and the Corbett Tiger Reserve was the first of these. As in all other reserves of the project, here too the main part is constituted into a core area meant exclusively for the wild fauna and flora, where there is no human disturbance and around this core is the insulating buffer zone, in which a part is allotted to tourism. Prior to 1973 Dhikala had been developed to provide accommodation and facilities to see the wildlife, to visitors to the National Park; it is still the main center of tourism.
The Largest Earth Dam Of Asia:
In recent years the Ramganga multi purpose Hydroelectric Project's Dam at Kalagarh and the reservoir of this dam have had a marked influence on the Corbett reserve. When the reservoir is filled to capacity, one tenth of the reserve is submerged, and while the area of the reserve so inundated naturally fluctuates with the seasons, the submersion is still there and has resulted in perceptible changes in the flora and fauna. To some extent this is a depletive influence, for it is the low lying pasture land that has been submerged, but this depletion is more than offset by the variety of plants and animals that the water spread has added to the original wildlife of the reserve, particularly in the sudden influx of vast numbers of water birds and the raptorial birds that follow in the wake of migratory waterfowl.