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Corbett National Park, Uttaranchal

On April 1, 1973 and with World Wildlife Fund backing, India launched a major conservation project called Project Tiger with a grant of US $ two million from the World Wildlife Fund and from the Government of India. The aim is to preserve the rapidly dwindling population of tigers in India. Initially, there were nine areas designated as Project Tiger, but now there are 15 areas covering a total area of 24,712 square km. As a result of the Project Tiger, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of tigers. The Indian tiger population has stabilised at around 3000 individuals. Corbett has over 100 tigers. Some of the popular Project Tiger Reserves in India are the Kanha National Park, Corbett National Park, Ranthambore National Park, Dudhwa National Park and Bandhavgarh National Park. Below, we give an insight into the Corbett National Park.


Information about the Corbett National Park
Corbett National Park is located in the foothills of the Himalayas. Corbett National Park was established in 1936, as the Hailey National Park. Corbett National Park is the India's first national park and one of its finest. It is notable not only for its rich and varied wildlife and birdlife but also for its scenic charm and magnificent sub-montane and riverain views. With the help of the World Wildlife Fund, Project Tiger was launched in Corbett National Park in 1973 and this park was one of the first such tiger reserves in the country. Corbett National Park was earlier a popular hunting ground of the British. Due to the efforts of Jim Corbett, this 350 square km. wildlife reserve was named Hailey National Park after the Governor of the United Provinces. On Independence it was renamed the Ramganga National Park and later still the Corbett National Park, in honor of the late Jim Corbett.

Corbett National Park Uttaranchal

History of the Corbett National Park
Jim Corbett was born in 1875 into the large family of Christopher Corbett, the postmaster at Nainital. Jim was eighth child and was a domiciled European. From childhood Corbett had a great fascination with the jungles around Nainital and its inhabitants. This developed into a considerable knowledge of the ecosystem's workings. Like most Pukka Sahibs (proper gentleman) he learnt to shoot and became an superb shot, killing his first leopard when he was eight. Tigers were his most sought after prey, followed by leopards which were very difficult to sight let alone shoot. This interest was sustained during his working life in the Bengal and North Western Railway and later the army. But, from the mid-1920’s he ceased to shoot tigers for sport and instead photographed them. The exception to this rule was that he was prepared to track and kill the man-eating leopards and tigers that terrorized the Kumaon hills from time to time. Later in life he recounted his exploits in a series of books about man-eaters and the jungle: The Man Eating Leopard of Rudrapayag, the man-eaters of Kumaon and jungle lore.

Vegetation in the Corbett National Park
Corbett Tiger Reserve is totally spread over an area of 1318.54 square kms and includes apart from Corbett National Park, additional areas of Sonanadi wildlife sanctuary and Reserve Forest buffer zone. The park comprises of the broad valley of the Ramganga River backing onto the forest covered slopes of the Himalayan foothills which rise to 1,210 m at Kand Peak. A dam at Kalagarh has created a large reservoir at the western end of the park. The Valley floor is covered with tall elephant grass, lantana bushes and patches of sal and sheesham forest while the enclosing hill on both sides are completely forest covered comprising sal, bakli, khair, jhingan, tendu, pula and sain. The topography in this park comprises of hilly and riverine areas, temporary marshy depressions, plateaus and ravines.

Climate of the Corbett National Park
Nullahs and ravines running deep into the forests are dry for much of the year, but swift torrents during the monsoon. These hold brakes of bamboo and thick scrub growth. Rainfall varies, being heavier in the higher hills, on average, the valley receives 1550 mm, the bulk of this from July to the middle of September. Summer days are hot but the nights quite pleasant. Winter nights can get very cold and there is often a frost and freezing fog in the low lying tracts.

Wildlife Attractions in the Corbett National Park
About 110 species of trees, 50 species of mammals, 580 species of birds and 25 species of reptiles are found in this park. The major wildlife animals found in this park are Tiger, Leopard, Elephant, Deer, Wild Boar, Leopard Cat, Jungle Cat, Sloth Bear, Himalayan Black Bear, Sambar, Chital, Hog Deer, Barking Deer, Wild Dog, Langur, Rhesus Monkey, Himalayan Palm Civet, Indian Grey Mongoose, Common Otter, Blacknaped Hare, Porcupine, Wild Pig, Fox and Jackal. Along the banks of the Ramganga River, one can also spot the Common mugger crocodile, the fish eating gharial, soft shelled tortoises, otters and python. Besides various wildlife animals about 600 species of resident and migratory birds are also found here. Peacock, Kite, Water fowl, Storkbilled Kingfisher, Crested serpent eagle, Fishing eagle, Osprey, Buzzards, Harriers. Vultures, Himalayan long-billed, Brown fish owl, Red jungle fowl, Minivets, Shrikes, Cuckoos, Barbets, Bulbul, Indian and great Pied Hornbills, flycatchers, woodpeckers, drongos, pies, and parakeets are also found within Corbett National Park. Doves, bee-eaters, rollers, mynas, bulbuls, warblers, finches, robins and chats are to be seen in the open scrub.

Jungle Safari in the Corbett National Park

You can visit the park either by having an Elephant or a Jeep Safari. Elephant rides are available at low cost from Dhikala and this is the best way to see the jungle. A guide will always accompany you during the safari in the park. There are watchtowers inside the park from where you can view the animals at a very close distance.

Best Time to Visit Corbett National Park
Some of the birds that migrate during the winter are the Steppe eagle and various water birds. The best season to visit the Corbett National Park is from November to June. During the monsoon season that is from July to October this park is closed.

How to reach Corbett National Park
By Air:

The nearest airport is located at Phoolbagh, Pantnagar at a distance of about 50 kms. The nearest international airport is located at Delhi, which is about 300 kms.

By Rail:
Ramnagar is the nearest railway station located on the broad gauge track.

By Road:

Corbett National Park is connected by road with Ramnagar, Lucknow, Nainital, Ranikhet and Delhi. Dhikala is the park centre and offers accommodation for the visitor.


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