Edward James Corbett was popularly known as Jim Corbett. He had many professions, like:
  • Wildlife photographer - taking photos of animals in the wild, and its surroundings; he had rich experience with wild animals like tigers, he has shot many pictures with his cinema film camera.
  • Hunter - chasing and capturing animals for food or for sport, but Jim never hunted for this purpose. He did not like to kill wild animals. He hunted to help people by saving them from these beastly animals. The Government had requested him to hunt down animals for saving its people. His opinion was that hunting is against the laws of humans, not against the laws of nature. He admired wildlife. He has hunted man-eating tigers and leopards. He usually hunted alone, and he preferred to go by walk. He took his dog, Robin along with him.
  • Tracker - tracking/observing animals by following their trail.
  • Naturalist- interested in studying nature.
  • Writer - writing books about animals.
According to Jim, a tiger hunts other animals only. But when it grows old or if it gets hurt, it cannot run fast. So it cannot hunt other animals. As humans cannot run as fast as other animals, humans are an easy target for old/hurt tigers. If a tiger eats human flesh once, it will not eat any other animal's flesh. Such tigers are called man-eaters.
The first man-eating tiger hunted by Jim wasThe Champawat Tiger. The Bengal tigress had attacked neatly \(436\) people in Nepal and the Kumaon area in India. Following the deaths of \(436\) people, it was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the highest number of deaths by accident, from a tiger. She was shot dead by Jim in \(1907\).
The tigress started attacking people in western Nepal, Himalayas in a village called Rupal. She escaped many hunters who tried to capture her. The Nepalese Army could not kill or capture the tigress. They drove her over to Indian borders. Here she started her attacks in Kumaon District. She continued to kill hundreds of people. She killed people in broad daylight. People were so scared that they did not go into the forest to collect wood, fruits, roots or other items that they needed from the forest. They feared to go out of their huts for work, after hearing her roar from the forest. The British government was ruling India during the time. They requested Jim Corbett to help the village people. He then agreed to kill the man-eater.
Jim lived in a tent for some days in Kumaon District and started tracing the tigress. He went around the villages and limited the activities of the man-eater. He made many attempts before killing the tigress. The tigress had killed a 16-year-old girl in a village near Champawat. Jim followed the trail of blood left by the incident. He followed and searched for a whole day. He could not find the tigress. He gave up searching and made a plan. Jim decided to use the villagers to help and organise a trap the next day, near the Champa river. The Thasildar of Champawat helped him to organise the plan with the help of around \(300\) villagers. The following day, Jim shot the tigress near the Chataar Bridge in Champawat. A cement board was fixed in the place, to mark it as a memory where the tigress was finally killed.
Post-mortem is an examination of a dead body to determine the cause of death. This procedure was done on the tigress, and the reports said that her upper and lower canine (a large pointed tooth in carnivorous animals that helps them to attack animals for its food) on the right side of her mouth was broken. The upper tooth was broken in half, and the lower one was broken fully till the bone was seen. The injury had been a result of a gunshot from a hunter who had shot it but couldn't manage to kill it. Corbett felt that this could be the reason for the tigress to have stopped hunting its natural prey and hence started to hunt humans for its food.
Corbett was against the idea of game hunting (or wild animals hunting). He publicly made his opinion that cutting down of trees, destroying forests and humans building livelihood in the forest areas are the main reasons for the wild animals to attack humans. Humans are taking away their space which will anger the wild animals. That is why these wild animals attack humans. He went on tours and lectured people to make them learn about our natural heritage and why we should protect our forests and wild animals.
He encouraged two movements called:
  • Association for the Preservation of Game
  • All-India Conference for the Preservation of Wildlife
He played an important role in setting up India's first national park in the Kumaon Hills. It was called the Hailey National Park, in Uttarakhand, India. At first, it was named after Lord Malcolm Hailey, but after Jim's death on 19th April 1955, the park was renamed in \(1957\) as The Jim Corbett National Park. It was named after him, as a mark of respect for his role in setting up this protected area in the \(1930's\).