Corbett national park situated in the foothills of the himalayas
• Altitude: 385-1100 m above mean sea level • Annual rainfall: 1400-2800 mm. • Temperature range: 4°C in winter to 42°C during summer.Country IndiaState UttarakhandDistrict(s) NainitalEstablished 1936Nearest city RamnagarArea 520 square kilometres (200 sq mi)• Elevation • 1,210 metres (3,970 ft)ClimateTemperature • 32.5 °C (90.5 °F)• Summer • 14.5 °C (58.1 °F)• Winter 50,000 (1999)Visitation 70,000 expected in 2010 Project Tiger, Government ofGoverning Uttarakhand, Wildlife Warden,body Corbett National ParkINTRODUCTION:Jim Corbett National Park—named after the hunter and conservationist Jim Corbettwho played a key role in its establishment—is the oldest national park in India. Thepark was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park.HISTORYThe area that now comprises Corbett National Park and its surroundingswas known for its wildlife and scenic beauty more than a hundred yearsago.
Efforts to save the forests of the region began in the 19th century. Thefirst step in the protection of the area began in 1868 when theirmanagement was taken over by the Forest Department.Later, in the early 1900s several Britishers, including E.R. Stevans andE.A. Smythies, mooted the idea of setting up of a National Park on thissoil. It was only in the 1930s that the process for demarcation of such anarea got underway, assisted by Jim Corbett, who knew the area well.The U.P. National Park Act was finally passed in 1935 and Asia’s firstNational Park came into existence. The Park was spread over an area of122 square miles (about 312 sq.km) was first named as Hailey NationalPark. After independence, in 1952, the name was changed to RamgangaNational Park. Then in 1957, the park was once again christened CorbettNational Park as a tribute to the legendary Jim Corbett.Corbett added yet another first to its credit when in 1973 when CorbettNational Park served as the launchpad for India’s tiger protectionprogramme Project Tiger and also became India’s first Tiger Reserve.The Tiger Reserve was reorganised and presently includes two protectedareas – Corbett National Park and Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary – and parts ofreserve forests, covering a total area of 1318 sq. km.LOCATION:Corbett National Park lies in two districts – Nainital and Pauri – in the hill stateof Uttaranchal in northern India. It covers an area of 521 sq. km and togetherwith the neighbouring Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary and Reserve Forestareas, forms the Corbett Tiger Reserve over 1288 sq. km.FLORAFLORAMore than 600 species of trees, shrubs, herbs, bamboos, grasses, climbers andferns have been identified in the Park. Trees The most visible trees found in Corbett are sal, khair and sissoo .
Chir pine is the only conifer of the Park .The upper reaches near Kanda have Oak growing which is essentially a Himalayan species. Palms include Khajur or Date-palm , Kanju, Jamun and Aamlaare found scattered throughoutFlowering trees lend colour to the forests in Corbett. The main ones areKachnaar with pink to white flowers, Semal with big red blooms, Dhak or Flame-of-the-forest with bright orange flowers, Madaar or Indian Coral with scarlet redflowers and Amaltas with bright yellow chandelier like blooms.Some species of trees that do not occur naturally in the Park have beenartificially planted in and around habitation. These include Teak, Eucalyptus,Jacaranda , Silver Oak and Bottlebrush, and can be seen in and around forestrest houses.ShrubsThere are several species of shrubs in open areas and provide food and habitat tomany birds and animals. Maror phali is an easily noticeable shrub.. Karaunda,with pinkish-white flowers and sour fruit, is found under sal.BambooIn some parts of Corbett the vegetation is dominated by bamboo forest. The mainspecies is Male Bamboo having clustered stout stems and shining papery stemsheaths.Bamboos follow a peculiar flowering process. All bamboos in a forest flowertogether at the same time once in several decades. Herbs Herbs include many species of wildflowers belonging mostly to Pea and Aster families. They are most visible on grasslands or chaurs and on open areas. Grasses Grasses form the largest group of plant species in Corbett with more than 70 species recorded. They occupy different habitats, especially chaurs.They include Kansi Baib or Bhabar, Narkul , Tiger Grass Khus Khus etc.Woody climbersWoody climbers found in the park are Milletia auriculata, Crypotepris buchanani,Porana paniculata (dense canopy with profuse white flowers), Clematis gouriana(shrubby twiner with tendril like branches) and Bauhinia vahlii (flat rusty hairy pods, large leaves used for making pattal) Epiphytes and orchids
Epiphytes are plants that grow above the ground on other plants, and derivenutrients and water from rain, the air, dust, etc. They are found on sal and othertrees in the park.They include Dendrophthoe falcata (scarlet red flowers), Scurrula cordifolia (hairycoating on shoots and leaves), Vanda testacea (orchid with flat keeled leaves andbeautiful spike flowers), Cuscuta reflexa (or ‘Dodder’, with interlaced yellow cordlike habit, growing on shrubs).Wetland vegetationThe semi aquatic species which inhabit marshy areas of Corbett includePolygonum, Veronica, Hypericum and Ranunculus etc.Non-flowering plantsNon-flowering plants include ferns, mossesand lichens. Many kinds of fungi are found onrotting trunks and accumulating debris. Theseinclude mushrooms, brilliantly patternedtoadstools, and puffballs. The presence oflichens symbolises good air and environmentand many kinds of colourful lichens grow onmature tree trunks and boulders all overCorbett.FAUNACorbett National Park is one of Indias most beautiful wildlife areas has a tigerpopulation of around 160, which makes this park as the last and the mostimportant bastion of this endangered species in India.Tiger The tiger (Panthera tigris) is perhaps the most celebrated of the wild animals of India. There existed eight subspecies of tiger, out of which three have gone extinct. The tiger is an indicator of a healthy wilderness ecosystem. If the tiger is protected, our forests will also live. And forests mean good air and plenty of freshwater, both of which affect our own survival. Photo : Rajiv Bhartari topThe Asian Elephant
There are three surviving species of elephants in the world, one in Asia and two inAfrica. The Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) is distributed in the Indiansubcontinent and Southeast Asia.Corbett Tiger Reserve has about 700 Asianelephants. top DeerCorbett has four species of deer. They are the most frequently sighted largemammals in the Park. Chital or Spotted deer is the commonest of deer species of Corbett. Chital are ecologically important because they form an important prey base for carnivores like leopards and tigers. They also help in dispersal of plant seeds including grasses and also tree and shrub species like amla, ber, etc. Para or Hog Deer is the rarest of Corbett’s deer. It is closely related to the chital but is smaller in size.Sambar is the largest deer found in Corbett. Sambar is the most important preyspecies for the tiger and presence of sambar usually indicates a good tigerhabitat.
Kakar or Barking Deer is the smallest of Corbett’s deer. They are a prey fortigers, leopards, jackals and pythons. topOther mammals The Leopard is the other large cat found in Corbett. There are two species of primates found in Corbett. The Rhesus Macaque is the commonest monkey of the Indian subcontinent. Hanuman or Common Langur has an unmistakable appearance Himalayan Goral or Ghural is a goat-like animal that occurs in the Himalayas between 1,000 to 4,000 m. Wild boar is the ancestor of the domesticated pig that lives in moist forests and scrub. It has long, curved canine teeth (called tusks) that are used for digging food and as weapons. The Asiatic Jackal is a member of the dog family. Corbett is one of the few places in India where three species of otter are found existing together..The species of otters occurring in Corbett Park are Eurasian or Common otter ,Smooth-coated otter and Small-clawed otter.. topBirds
Corbett has over 600 species, many of them rare and endangered, have been recorded in and around the park..This inherent richness in bird life increases even further during winter with thearrival of numerous migrants – some, like osprey and ducks, coming all the wayfrom East Africa, Europe and Central Asia. Winter also brings many Himalayanbirds from higher regions who come to take refuge in Corbett to escape theextreme conditions in the mountains above. These include many flycatchers,great barbet and the wallcreeper. topGharial and MuggerCorbett has two of India’s three crocodilian species. It is considered to be one ofthe best spots to see the Gharial, one of the largest and most endangeredcrcodilians of the world. The still waters of Corbett, especially the Ramgangareservoir, are home to the Mugger crocodile top Mahseer and other Fishes Corbett is home to many species of freshwater fish. The most celebratedof the fishes is the Golden Mahseer, a large freshwater river fish belonging tothe carp family.Other important fish species of Corbett are Goonch , Indian trout and Rohu topReptiles
Reptiles live in a great variety of habitats. including the King Cobra and IndianCobra . Indian Rock Pythons are frequently sighted and there also existseveral kinds of vipers, kraits and boas.The Bengal Monitor is the most imposing of Corbett’s lizards.CONSERVATION PROJECTSCorbett is the site for three nationwide conservation projects aimed atsaving prominent endangered species from extinction and providing asafe habitat for them. These are: • Project Tiger • Crocodile Conservation Project • Project ElephantProject TigerObjectivesProject Tiger was launched with the following main objectives: • To ensure maintenance of a viable population of tiger in India for scientific, economic, aesthetics cultural and ecological values. • To preserve, for all times, the areas of such biological importance as a national heritage for the benefit, education and enjoyment of the people.HistoryIn 1972 the tiger population shrunk to an all-time low of 1,800, which drew theattention of the Government to take urgent measures to conserve tigers.After the introduction of the Wildlife (Protection) Act in 1972, a specialconservation programme focussed on tiger protection was mooted. This wascalled Project Tiger.
Crocodile Conservation ProjectThe Crocodile Conservation Project was launched in 1976.The main aim of the project was to save India’s three endangered crocodilianspecies, namely the freshwater crocodile, the saltwater crocodile and the gharial.The Gharial Rehabilitation Project formed a subunit of the umbrella CrocodileConservation Project. This focussed on gharial, which had come very close toextinction in 1974.As part of the Gharial Rehabilitation Project, more than 250 gharials werereleased in the Ramganga river in Corbett National Park between 1982 and 1994.Project ElephantBackground and HistoryProject Elephant was launched in 1991-92 to assist states having rangingpopulations of wild elephants to ensure long term survival of identified viablepopulation of elephants in their natural habitats.ObjectivesThe main objectives of Project Elephant are: • Ecological restoration of existing natural habitats and elephant migration routes;
• Development of scientific and planned management for conservation of elephant habitats and viable population of wild Asiatic elephants in India; • Strengthening of measures for protection of Wild elephants form poachers and unnatural causes of death; .MONITORING AND RESEARCHWildlife Population EstimationCounting wild animals is vital to monitor their population. In Corbett an annualcensus is carried to understand trends and determine the success ofmanagement practices on wildlife. Dedicated counting of tigers is done everyfourth year as part of an All India Tiger Census under Project Tiger.ResearchResearch plays an important role in the management of Corbett and adds valueto existing scientific knowledge.Environmental ConcernsRegular tiger deaths matter of concern inCorbettTiger deaths this year:Date PlaceJanuary 25 Kalagarh Range, Corbett Tiger ReserveJanuary 27 Kosi Range, Ramnagar Forest DivisionFebruary 06 Tarai East Division
February 19 Jhirna Range, Corbett Tiger ReserveMarch 05 Kaladhungi Range, Ramnagar Forest DivisionApril 01 Kalagarh Range, Corbett Tiger ReserveApril 22 Kaladhungi Range, Ramnagar ForestDivisionMay 03 Sarpduli Range, Corbett Tiger ReserveMay 28 Kaladhungi Range, Ramnagar Forest DivisionMay 31 Kota Range, Ramnagar Forest DivisionJune 07 Kalagarh Range, Corbett Tiger ReserveIn April, 2008, the National Conservation Tiger Authority (NCTA) expressed seriousconcern that protection systems have weakened, and poachers have infiltrated into thispark. A cement road has been built through the park against a Supreme Court order.The road has become a thoroughfare between Kalagarh and Ramnagar. Constantlyincreasing vehicle traffic on this road is affecting the wildlife of crucial ranges likeJhirna, Kotirau and Dhara.DAMAGE CAUSED BY NEARBY VILLAGESThe villages surrounding the park are at least 15–20 years old and no new villageshave come up in the recent past. The increasing population growth rate and thedensity of population within 1 km to 2 km from the park present a challenge to themanagement of the reserve.DAMAGE CAUSED BY TOURISTSAs early as 1991, the Corbett National Park played host to 3237 tourist vehiclescarrying 45,215 visitors during the main tourist seasons between 15 November and 15June. This heavy influx of tourists has led to visible stress signs on the naturalecosystem. Excessive trampling of soil due to tourist pressure has led to reduction inplant species and has also resulted in reduced soil moisture. The tourists haveincreasingly used fuel wood for cooking. This is a cause of concern as this fuelwood is obtained from the nearby forests, resulting in greater pressure on the forestecosystem of the park. Additionally, tourists have also caused problems by makingnoise, littering and causing disturbances in general.NATURAL DAMAGESTHREAT BY WILD FIREThe greatest enemy of the forest is fire. Duringsummers the danger of fire is greatest, when theforest floor is covered with dry leaves that readilycatch fire and burn at the slightest spark. Once a
summer fire starts it may quickly develop into an uncontrollable inferno, burning down forests and killing wildlife.THREAT BY WEEDSExotic weeds cause much damage to the natural ecosystem of the park. Inmany areas weeds such as Lantana and Parthenium have invaded and wiped outnative plants that are valuable herbivore foodPEOPLE AFFECTEDECODEVELOPMENTSupport from neighbouring communities is crucial for protection and long-term survival of any protected area. 19 villages are situated inside the bufferzone reserve forest areas of Corbett. An additional two hundred villages aresituated all around the reserve. These villages depend on the forest resources forfuel-wood, fodder and non-timber forest produceIn such circumstances it is impossible to avoid human-animal conflicts. The forestdepartment has initiated an Ecodevelopment Programme to involve villagersin conflict reduction .Ecodevelopment committees consisting of representatives ofboth villagers and the forest department are being encouraged to enablecommunities to plan and implement programmes for resource conservation andgenerate livelihood. In the unfortunate case a human casualty caused by wildanimals ex- adequate compensation is provided for livestock kills and cropdamage by wild elephants.ECOtourismMost people consider ecotourism to be synonymous to tourism in natural areas.But there is more to ecotourism than this.True ecotourism should also sustain thelivelihoods and cultural identities of local communities. Ecotourism is an important tool for conservation because it generates economic benefits for the authorities managing the protected area as well as local people who get employment. This instils a sense of pride in the local people who now appreciate the value of their natural and cultural heritage. Ecotourism also influences visitors by providing an opportunity for a better, more educative experience, thus sensitising them towards conservation. Photo : Rajiv BhartariBIBLIOGRAPHY(www.jimcorbettnationalpark.com) Wikipedia, http://post.jagran.com/regular-tiger-deaths-matter-of-concern-in-corbett-1308715772http://www.corbett-national-park.com/http://www.corbettnationalpark.in/