The British Indian Army colonel Jim Corbett was best renowned for being a hunter, conservationist, and naturalist. In India, particularly in the United Provinces, he had the honor of killing numerous man-eating tigers and leopards (now the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh & Uttarakhand).

He was a multifaceted individual who enjoyed writing and photography. In reality, Jim wrote several books on wildlife after he retired, most notably “Maneaters of Kumaon” and “Jungle Lore,” which both detail his hunts and experiences.

He is credited with emphasizing the need of preventing the extinction of species. The Corbett National Park in Kumaon is named after him specifically because of this. Continue reading this fascinating biography on Corbett to learn more.

Individual Life

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Jim Corbett was born Edward James Corbett on July 25, 1875, in Nainital, in the United Provinces, close to the Kumaon foothills of the Himalayas (now in Uttarakhand). He was of Irish origin and the eighth child of Christopher and Mary Jane Corbett. In 1862, when Christopher was hired as the town’s postmaster, they relocated to Nainital. In Nainital’s Kaladhungi, they had a cottage. Jim was raised by his mother after losing his father when he was a young child. He grew to appreciate the forests and the wildlife there from a very young age, especially those close to his home in Kaladhungi.

During his free time, Jim would frequently visit the adjacent woodlands, where he eventually learned to recognize the majority of the animals and birds by their calls. He mastered both hunting and good trekking techniques. Jim attended Sherwood College in Nainital and Oak Openings School, which eventually became Philander Smith College, during this time. He joined Bengal and North Western Railway after completing his studies, starting as a fuel inspector at Manakpur (Punjab). Subsequently, he was employed by Mokameh Ghat as a contractor (Bihar).

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Tiger Hunts: At first, Jim Corbett engaged in typical hunting and fishing activities. But over time, he switched from using rifles to using cameras to capture the large game. He pledged never to shoot tigers and leopards unless they turned man-eaters or attacked cattle as his passion for wildlife photography grew. His search for leopards and man-eating tigers James Corbett began in 1911 and ended in 1938. He tracked at least a dozen man-eaters who had combined to kill more than 1500 men, women, and children during this time.

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Although he was aware that man-eaters are quite capable of stalking and murdering the hunter as well, Jim used to go hunting alone and took a tremendous personal risk. His only company was a tiny dog by the name of Robin, who is extensively described in his debut novel, The Maneaters of Kumaon. The Champawat Tiger, the Leopard of Rudraprayag, the Tigers of Chowgarh, and the Panar Leopard are Jim’s most well-known kills. He has killed 33 animals in total, 33 recorded and certified killings. He has shot 19 Tigers and 14 Leopards.

In addition to being a well-known hunter, James Corbett is also regarded as a pioneering conservationist. He was continually giving lectures at local organizations and schools to raise awareness of the need to protect the environment, including forests and their fauna. Both the All-India Conference for the Preservation of Wild Life and the Organization for the Preservation of Game in the United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh) was founded with his assistance. Jim was also involved in the development of Hailey National Park, which was ultimately given his name.

Accolades

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In India, England, and the US, Jim Corbett’s Man-Eaters of Kumaon was seen as a huge success. More than 27 languages were used in the translation. In 1957, the Uttarakhand national park in India has christened the “James Corbett National Park” in his honor. It was a result of his extensive efforts to preserve this wilderness area. In 1968, the Indochinese Tiger, a critically endangered subspecies of tiger, was named after him and given the moniker “Corbett’s Tiger.” Director Byron Haskin turned his well-known book Man-Eaters of Kumaon into a Hollywood film in 1948. Stars like Joe Page, Wendell Corey, and Sabu appeared in the film. The film did not perform well. The Man-Eaters of India, a BBC documentary-drama, is among the other adaptations.

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Life After Death

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