Remembering the legendary Jim Corbett

Jul 25, 2016, 10:30 IST | mid-day online correspondent

On British hunter and tracker-turned-conservationist, Jim Corbett's 60th birth anniversary, we present some interesting trivia about the namesake for the Jim Corbett National Park

>> Born in Nainital in the Kumaon division of the Himalaya, now known as Uttarakhand, Corbett was fascinated by the forests and wildlife around his home in Kaladhungi. He learned to identify most animals and birds by their calls through frequent excursions since a very young age, which earned him renown as a good tracker and hunter in his later years.

Jim Corbett
Jim Corbett

>> Jim Corbett tracked and shot a total of 33 man-eating tigers and leopards between 1907 and 1938. The beasts were reportedly responsible for killing more than 1200 men, women and children and Corbett's first kill, the Champawat Tiger was said to be responsible for 436 documented deaths.

>> Corbett shot and killed the Panar Leopard in 1910, which allegedly killed 400 people and killed the man-eating Leopard of Rudraprayag in 1926, which terrorized the pilgrims on the holy Hindu shrines Kedarnath and Badrinath for more than eight years, claiming responsibility for more than 126 deaths.

>> According to his best-selling book, 'Man-Eaters of Kumoan' Jim Corbett preferred to hunt alone and on foot when pursuing dangerous game sometimes in the company of his pet dog Robin. He is known to have taken great personal risks to save others and is deeply respected where he worked. The locals of the villages of the Garhwal and
Kumaon regarded him a a sadhu or holy man.

>> Apart from his hunting and tracking expertise, Jim Corbett was also an avid photographer, a hobby which was inspired by his friend fellow British forester Frederick Walter Champion. Despite having an intimate knowledge of the jungle he found obtaining good pictures of animals a demanding task as they were exceedingly shy.

>> Although Jim Corbett was renowned as a hunter of dangerous man-eating tigers, he became deeply concerned about their habitat and fate. Corbett didn't kill a tiger without confirmation of its killing people. Together with friend Frederick Walter Champion, Jim Corbett played a key role in establishing India's first national park in the Kumaon Hills. It was initially named Hailey National Park Lord Malcolm Hailey but was renamed Jim Corbett National Park in 1957 as a tribute to Corbett's

>> Jim Corbett's critically and commerically successful book, 'Man-Eaters of Kumaon' was adapted into a Hollywood feature film in 1948. The film was not faithul to Corbett's work and the hunter-turned-conservationist is reported to have said, "the best actor was the tiger".

>> Corbett's book, 'Man-eaters of Kumaon' enjoyed great success in India, the United Kingdom and the United States, the first edition of the American Book-of-the-Month Club being 250,000 copies. It was later translated into 27 languages. Corbett's fourth book, 'Jungle Lore', is considered his autobiography.

>> The Indochinese Tiger was named Panthera tigris corbetti, after Jim Corbett in 1968. It is also known as Corbett's tiger.

>> Jim Corbett's residence 'Gurney House' in Nainital, which he shared with his sister Margaret Winifred Corbett, was sold to Mrs. Kalavati Varma, before his departure to Kenya in November 1947. The house was later transformed into the Jim Corbett Museum.

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