In this article, you can read about the famous Jim Corbett National Park, the first of its kind in India. National parks are important for the IAS exam environment and ecology syllabus.
India’s first national park, the Jim Corbett National Park was established in Nainital, Uttarakhand.
Background of Jim Corbett National Park
- On 8th August 1936, India’s first national park was established as Hailey National Park, named after the then Governor of the United Provinces, British India, Sir Malcolm Hailey.
- The reserve area initially consisted of about 324 sq. km.
- The British government had thought of establishing a game reserve as early as 1907 but it was only in 1936 that it came into fruition assisted by hunter-turned-conservationist Jim Corbett.
- It is also Asia’s first national park.
- Soon after the park was established, hunting, killing and capturing of mammals, reptiles and birds were prohibited.
- It was renamed as Ramganga National Park in 1954-55 and again renamed as Corbett National Park in 1955-56.
- Some areas of the park were earlier part of the princely state of Tehri Garhwal. It then passed onto the British and now forms a part of the state of Uttarakhand.
- The park is now governed by the Uttarakhand state government.
Facts about Jim Corbett National Park
- When the Government of India launched Project Tiger in 1971, the park became a part of this project.
- Today, Corbett National Park covers 521 sq. km. Along with the neighbouring Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary and Reserve Forest areas, it forms the Corbett Tiger Reserve. The total area of the reserve is 1288 sq. km and is spread over three districts namely, Nainital, Pauri and Almora.
- The reserve is located between the Siwalik Himalayas and the Terai.
- The park is famous for Royal Bengal tigers and Asiatic elephants.
- It contains over 550 species of birds making it one of the richest bird regions in India. Birdlife International has declared the area as ‘Important Bird Area’.
- The park has 6 ecotourism zones namely, Dhikala, Bijrani, Jhirna, Sonanadi, Durgadevi and Dhela.
- The national park is a protected area covered by the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature under their Terai Arc Landscape Program.
- This program is intended for the protection of three of the five flagship species namely, the Bengal tiger, the Asiatic elephant and the Great one-horned rhino.
- The park’s landscape is diverse including ridges, streams, plateaus, ravines, grasslands, deciduous forests and pine forests.
- The park is home to 488 species of plants.
- The park also has many migratory birds.
- It contains 33 species of reptiles including the Indian python. The park also has 7 species of amphibians including crocodiles and gharials.
- Apart from tigers, Corbett also has leopards. Other mammals such as jungle cat, barking deer, spotted deer, sambar deer, sloth, chital, Himalayan black bears, langurs, rhesus macaques, otters, etc. are also found there.