Corbett – The Journey from Forest Reserve to Tiger Reserve


Many people know that Corbett is India’s oldest established national park; but not much populace is aware of the fact that it is Asia’s first national park. Amazed! The saga has just begun my dear. Before moving forward one more thing needs to come in the limelight. Actual protection of the land started in the year 1868, when the British Forest Department took the charge and banned agriculture and operation of the cattle station. Then gradually more forest laws came into action and the journey took its course.

So the tale begins

 Within couples of years after the British Forest Department took control, the scenario of Corbett changed. In 1879, it was given the honor of Forest Reserve. Thereafter, efforts were made to constitute the forest reserve as a national park. Many British foresters including E. R. Stevans and E. A. Smythies put forward their best initiatives for setting up a national park. In 1907, the forest reserve turned into gaming reserve. This was one of the prominent steps taken towards the establishment of national park.

Even after it was announced as Gaming Reserve, the efforts of the foresters didn’t stop even for a second, and finally in 1930s some ray of hope came into visibility. 1936 was marked as the establishment year of ‘Hailey National Park’. This name was given to the park because at that time Sir Malcolm Hailey was the Governor of United Provinces. So basically, this was a tribute to the man in authority.

(However, there was someone else who played a key role behind the establishment of this Asia’s first national park. Continue reading and soon you will know him.)

So once the area was declared as national park, hunting was banned. Nonetheless, timber cutting for domestic purpose was allowed. Gradually, more stringent rules abided the park and killing of animals turned into a punishable offense.

After the British raj came to end, the name of the park changed. As it covered the Ramganga River and village, it became popular as ‘Ramganga National Park’ in 1954-55. But, within a short span of time, it was again renamed as Jim Corbett National Park’. This renaming was done to pay tribute and acknowledgement to the man who played a vital role in the setting up the national park – Edward James ‘Jim’ Corbett. Edward was once known for hunting man-eating tigers in India, but later he turned into a great conservationist. He was the one who assisted the British authorities in establishing the national park.

Few other milestones

In year 1974, Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve witnessed another milestone when it became the first tiger reserve of the Project Tiger. Project Tiger is an initiative that was launched in the year 1973 for protecting the striped cats. Jim Corbett National Park emerged as the foremost tiger reserve that placed its foot forward in support of this initiative.

Furthermore, the respective park is presently among the thirteen protected areas under the Terai Arc Landscape Program by World Wildlife Fund. The objective of the program is to protect three of the five terrestrial flagship species – Tigers, Asian Elephants and Great One-horned Rhinoceros.

And the saga continues

Located in the Indian Himalayan Belt, Corbett Tiger Reserve is counted as one of the top destinations for spotting the big cats. One of the top reasons behind this fame is the efforts made for promoting eco tourism in the park. The guides were trained with special courses that encompassed natural history, visitor management and park interpretation. Further, more guides were hired for proper management.

Kahini Ghosh Mehta, a naturalist even filmed a travel guide to the park for promoting healthy Eco tourism. ‘Wild Saga of Corbett’ was the title and it had everything that a visitor needs to know before stepping into the reserve.

So, this was the journey of Corbett from Forest Reserve to Tiger Reserve, but the drive is still on. With continuous efforts made for the betterment of the reserve, it seems that is a never ending journey, which is heading towards a new abode for wildlife.

Corbett – The Journey from Forest Reserve to Tiger Reserve  



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