Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Jim Corbett

Jim CorbettI was thinking of what to discuss next and then it came to me - how about that great hunter and conservationist of India who did so much for the people and wildlife of that beautiful country ~ a man who is a real hero of mine.

Edward James 'Jim' Corbett was born on July 25th, 1875, in Kumaon, that beautiful paradise at the foothills of Himalayas. His father Christopher Corbett was postmaster of the town Naini Tal, and Jim spent his childhood in an area surrounded by beautiful Jungles and dangerous predators. He fell in love with the forest and its animals and since an early age he knew how to mimic animal sounds and track lethal predators.

Whilst being known as a conservationist and big game photographer, Jim Corbett's actual place in history is as one of the best big cat hunters to have ever lived ~ don't get me wrong here ~ Jim Corbett was a true gentleman and a great animal lover ~ he rarely killed an animal that was not troublesome. He resorted largely to removing those dangerous Man-Eaters that terrorized Indian villagers a century ago. Roaming freely without any hindrance these deadly animals governed fear in Indian jungles at that time unlike any fear the simple people of those forests ever had experienced. People would rather die of starvation in their huts than venture out in the open where the tigers growled and cunning leopards lay in waiting.

Between the years 1907 and 1938, Jim Corbett killed nearly a dozen Man-Eaters in India - predators who are estimated to have killed at least 1500 people during their reign of terror. Jim Corbett always took on the most dangerous animals - when everybody else had quit and all hope was lost. He hunted alone and routinely came within five to ten metres of the Man-Eater before killing it. His keen senses enabled him to outdo the most cunning of those lethal cats, that included the Champawat Tigress (his very first kill - the Man-Eating tigress was responsible for more kills than any other single Man-Eater in history - 436!), the Panar Leopard (400 kills again!), the Rudraprayag Leopard (perhaps one of the most cunning and lethal Man-Eaters of all time who preyed upon Hindu pilgrims of that region for over a decade!), the Talla-Des Man-Eater, the Mohan Man-Eater, the Thak Man-Eater and the Chowgarh Tigers. Those were the times when over a hundred thousand tigers roamed freely in India and frankly in many parts it was a matter of whether the tiger or humans would survive!

Despite his prolific hunting skills, Jim Corbett seldom killed an animal for sport. He was a great conservationist and after his retirement from the hunting scene moved to Kenya where he wrote about his Indian adventures in seven highly acclaimed books. He died of a heart attack on 19th April 1955 and was buried at St. Peter's Anglican Church in Nyeri. He spent most of his later days raising alarm about the plight of animals in India. In 1957, India's first national park, in the Kumaon region was named in his honor. In 1968 one of the five remaining subspecies of tigers was named after him: Panthera Tigris Corbetti, better known as Corbett's Tiger.

Below are his books from Wikipedia- must reads that I think are available from Amazon etc -
  • Man-eaters of Kumaon:
    • First Indian Edition printed Bombay 1944 (Oxford University Press)
  • The Man-eating Leopard of Rudraprayag: (OUP) UK 1948
  • My India: (OUP) UK/INDIA 1952
  • Jungle Lore: (OUP) UK 1953
  • The Temple Tiger and more man-eaters of Kumaon: (OUP) UK 1954
  • Tree Tops: (OUP) UK 1955
May the great man rest in eternal peace.

27 comments:

Karen Jo said...

You wrote a very interesting post about a fascinating man. I had not heard of him before.

Daisy said...

What an interesting story. I have heard of the "man-eating" tigers, but I did not realize how many people were actually killed by the tigers back then.

Chairman Mao said...

What a fascinating feller! I learned a lot from your post, thankies!

Kittyhugs and purrs from MaoMao.

Marilyn MonREOW said...

As always, a fascinating and informative post from you! Thank you for sharing.

Purrs and snuggles from Marilyn!

Miss Peach>(^,^) said...

Omer this was a great read!! I have heard of this great brave man before. A Hollywood movie was once made to highlight this type of plight...can't recall the name, but it was recent.
India has given us so much with it's fantastic bounty, exotic foods, brillant minds, lush textiles, stories of wonderous adventures, silver jewelry....Oh I wish that I could travel to see it for myself.I bet they have lots of lizards to play with:)
Love Miss Peach

Thomma Lyn said...

Hi there! Thank you so much for your kind comment on my writing blog. My cats already know you, and you know them well -- I'm Mom to Chairman Mao, Marilyn MonREOW, and the Ballicai!

Thank you for linking to my writing blog -- I'm happy to link back! And thanks for being, as my cats would say, a great bean in the Cat Blogosphere. :-D

Anonymous said...

Corbett was indeed one of the greatest naturalists and a damn fine writer to boot. It is however silly to claim that he was never a sport hunter. He indicates that he gave this up later in life due to his distaste at the 'sport hunters' around him for whom hunting amounted to target shooting at animals. He refers to happy day when his game bag was full of chukar....

kmydean said...

I have been a fan of Col.Jim Corbett since 1960 after reading his first book "Man Eaters of Kumaon" Now I am a life member of Jim Corbett Foundation based in Edmonton, Alberta Canada.Any and all of his great books are available through the Foundation or through his online book store"Safaribooks@shaw.ca"

Subrata said...

I am from India and since my childhood I have heard about this man.I am a great fan of this man and last year I had the opportunity to visit his house( a museum now) in Nainital and for me it was a childhood dream come true. Any nature lover will like his writing and I urge all of you to visit his place. A shame that in this country tigers are being slaughtered to extinction due to incompetent govt.

blanco26 said...

thankyou for the writing. i just saw a documentary of this man, it was made by bbc.
there are people who made much for human community. i like that.

Anonymous said...

I am a great fan of Jim Corbett. I have read his Man-eaters of Kumaon several times.
Can any body tell me where to get THE TEMPLE TIGER AND MORE MAN-EATERS OF KUMAON in PDF for free???

Anonymous said...

for Man-eaters of Kumaon pdf : http://ia331306.us.archive.org/0/items/maneatersofkumao029903mbp/maneatersofkumao029903mbp.pdf

Anonymous said...

The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag is a classic. I have been to Kumaon, and Jim Corbett is well-known there, and honored (still) as being almost a saint. Now I live in Nyeri,Kenya where he is buried. I'd like to fix his grave as it needs some concrete work to keep the water from pooling.

Anonymous said...

He did kill on animal for sport.
That was the Bachelor of Powalgarh
This was a healthy tiger which was NOT a maneater.

It is very unfortunate that this huge tiger had to meet its end after being first wounded by Corbett.

Anonymous said...

I am a staunch fan of this great man. I have been searching desperately for "My India" of this great writer for a long time. Can anyone please help me finding one copy of "My India" in pdf form? I will be ever grateful.

Mamun
jhorapalok@hotmail.com

blanco said...

we should all be heroes,not wait for others to build the new world a world full of happiness where everybody has a place.we should forget the old world where money and hatred built so many frontiers where there is nothing.we are all brothers and our house is the earth.

Anonymous said...

Please help me finding "My India". I need it.


Mamun
jhorapalok@hotmail.com

snowforest said...

The book is not in public domain. It is available for purchase here: http://www.amazon.com/My-India-Jim-Corbett/dp/0940143623/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1276938102&sr=8-1

Anonymous said...

But i like the book from a public domain. In short i like to get it from free download.

Mamun
jhorapalok@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Can anyone please provide me with a copy of "My India".

I will be really grateful.

Mamun
jhorapalok@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Download The man eating leopard of Rudraprayag here..."http://www.archive.org/details/ManEatingLeopardOfRudraprayag".... Zagger

Anonymous said...

For more MANEATING TIGERS OF INDIA...check this...http://www.africahunting.com/hunting-asia-middle-east/2828-maneating-tigers-india.html#post20662 ....Zagger

Anonymous said...

from where i can download jungle lore by jim corbet

Anonymous said...

Dear All

can any body send me corbett's books to my mail id.
mandarapu_ravi@rediffmail.com

Anonymous said...

He was GOD for people of Kumaon.No doubt his knowledge on wilderness was immense because of his passion towards wildlife from early age,his shooting skill as cadet & hunting skill with his poacher friend honed his skill.
Can i ask all lovers of CORBETT "How come only maneaters were in Nainital,Kumaon area ?"
The population of tiger between 1875 to 1938 were never less than 50,000 head count,and were spread out all over undivided India.
There was Kenneth Anderson in south India.
I understand due to natural calamity,hindu,s burned body or dumped it from hills to running river below.some floated to the side,some stuck on hilly track to be eaten by scavengers & sometimes by leopards & tigers thus turning them into preying on human being as an easy prey.
more later............

Francis Wood said...

I have read all of Corbett's books and really enjoyed his stories and his writing style. I first read of his expoits with man-eaters through an article in Sports Afield magazine. I found his books in old book stores and through eBay. Great reading! Great gentleman.

eddyjames1952 said...

I read all his books before I was twelve,Corbett and Peter Capstick Hathaway were two of my favorite writers. Read "Death in silent places" then go camping alone in the woods.

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