Jim Corbett

Jim Corbett

English hunter, conservationist, naturalist, writer.
Date of Birth: 25.07.1875
Country: Great Britain

  1. Biography of Jim Corbett
  2. Early Life and Education
  3. Career and Conservation Efforts
  4. Conservation Legacy

Biography of Jim Corbett

Jim Corbett was an English hunter, conservationist, naturalist, and writer. He is best known as a hunter of man-eating animals and the author of a series of books on the wildlife of India. Corbett held the rank of colonel in the British Indian Army and was frequently invited by the government of the United Provinces to eliminate man-eating tigers and leopards in the Garhwal and Kumaon regions. His successful efforts in saving the lives of the people earned him the respect of the local residents, many of whom considered him a savior and even a saint.

Early Life and Education

Jim Corbett was born in an Irish family in Nainital, in the Kumaon region of the northern Himalayas in India. He was the eighth of thirteen children of Christopher and Mary Jane Corbett. The family also had a summer home in Kaladhungi, where Jim spent much of his time. From a young age, Jim was fascinated by the natural world and developed a keen ability to identify bird and animal sounds. As he grew older, he became an accomplished hunter and tracker. Corbett attended Oak Openings School, later renamed Philander Smith College, and St. Joseph's College in Nainital.

Career and Conservation Efforts

Before the age of 19, Corbett left college and began working for the Bengal and North Western Railway, first as a fuel inspector in Manakpur, Punjab, and later as a contractor for loading goods at Mokameh Ghat station in Bihar. It is documented that between 1907 and 1938, Corbett tracked and killed 19 tigers and 14 leopards that were officially documented as man-eaters. These animals were responsible for the deaths of over 1200 people. His first kill, the Champawat Tiger, was responsible for the documented deaths of 436 people.

Corbett also killed the Panar Leopard, which, after being wounded by a poacher, could no longer hunt its usual prey and turned to man-eating, resulting in the deaths of around 400 people. Among other man-eaters eliminated by Corbett were the Talla Desh man-eater, the Mohan man-eating tigress, the Thak man-eater, and the Chuka man-eating tigress.

One of the most famous man-eaters Corbett killed was the Rudraprayag Leopard, which terrorized pilgrims heading to the Hindu shrines of Kedarnath and Badrinath for over a decade. Analysis of the leopard's skull and teeth revealed gum diseases and broken teeth that prevented it from hunting its usual prey, leading it to become a man-eater.

Corbett also discovered old gunshot wounds in the body of a man-eating tigress from Talla, one of which (in the shoulder) became septic and, according to Corbett's belief, caused the transformation of the animal into a man-eater. Analysis of the skulls, bones, and skins of man-eating animals showed that many of them suffered from diseases and injuries, such as deeply embedded and broken porcupine quills or unhealed gunshot wounds.

Conservation Legacy

In the preface to his book "Man-eaters of Kumaon," Corbett wrote: "Because in the 1900s, among the upper classes of British India, there was widespread sport hunting of predators, it led to the regular appearance of man-eaters." According to Corbett, he only once killed an animal that was innocent of human deaths, and he deeply regretted it. Corbett noted that man-eaters were capable of stalking the hunter themselves. Therefore, he preferred to hunt alone and pursue animals on foot. He often hunted with his dog, a spaniel named Robin, which he wrote about in detail in his first book "Man-eaters of Kumaon."

Corbett risked his own life to save the lives of others, earning the respect and admiration of the people in the regions where he hunted. In his honor, the Jim Corbett National Park was established in 1957 for the protection of India's wildlife.