Born in Nainital, Jim Corbett was a high ranking colonel in the British Indian Army. He was frequently called upon by the then Government of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, to kill man-eating tigers and leopards that were preying on people in the nearby villages of the Garhwal and Kumaon divisions. He passed away on 19 April, 1955 in Kenya. On the death anniversary of the famous hunter, conservationist, and author, here are some interesting facts about him.
1. Edward James Corbett was born in Nainital, India, to Christopher William Corbett and Mary Jane on July 25, 1875. His father was a postmaster of the town.
2. Before he turned 19, he quit school and got employed with the Bengal North-Western Railway and later worked as a contractor of trans-shipment goods.
3. At a very early stage, he developed a fascination for forests and wildlife. His interest in exploring the wild turned him into a good tracker and hunter.
4. Jim was a colonel in the British Indian Army and was known for hunting man-eating leopards and tigers. He was even summoned by the governments of other provinces in the country to kill big cats.
5. He killed around 33 man-eaters between 1907 and 1938 – 19 tigers and 14 leopards including the infamous Champawat Tiger.
6. Despite his hunting experience, he developed great reverence for wildlife, especially, tigers and leopards over the years. Gradually, he began championing the cause of animal protection and wildlife conservation.
7. He promoted the foundation of the Association for the Preservation of Game in the United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand) and the All-India Conference for the Preservation of Wildlife.
8. Exercising his influence over the provincial government, Corbett helped established India’s first national park, a national reserve for the endangered Bengal tiger. First, it was named Hailey, and later in 1957, it was renamed Jim Corbett National Park in his honour.
9. He authored several books like Man-Eaters of Kumaon and Jungle Lore to chronicle his hunting adventures.
10. His house in Nainital was turned into a museum when he along with his sister left for Kenya in the year 1947.
11. Jim had finished working on his last book Tree Tops, when he died of a heart attack in the year 1955.