International Tigers Day: Jim Corbett quit hunting because of tiger shootings, says Thapar
Recognising that the rampant shooting of tigers would lead to their extermination, the legendary Jim Corbett had in late 1920s decided to give up hunting, says conservationist-author Valmik Thapar.
Edward James Corbett, famous as Jim Corbett, is known for his hunting exploits. Between 1907 and 1938, Corbett tracked and shot a documented 19 tigers and 14 leopards -- a total of 33 recorded and documented man-eaters.
It is estimated that these big cats had killed over 1,200 men, women and children.
"Corbett had to track down and shoot these animals at great risk to his own life. While he did so as a form of public service, he never hesitated to point out that many of these tigers became man-eaters because of bullet injuries," Thapar says in the introduction of "Just Tigers: The Very Best of Jim Corbett", a new anthology of Corbett's stories.
"By the late 1920s, Corbett was fed up with the rampant hunting of tigers during the days of the Raj. He tried his best to persuade the powers-that-be to control the shooting because it would lead to the extermination of the "finest of (India's) fauna," Thapar adds.
He says, Corbett was most vocal about controlling hunting at a wildlife conference held in Delhi in 1939.
As with tigers, Corbett fought for the protection of the forest and started a journal dedicated to the preservation of Indian wildlife and forests, and became one of the leading voices of conservation, he says.
"For his part, he gave up shooting tigers and other animals with the gun, and shot them with the camera instead - he writes about this very evocatively in the piece 'Just Tigers', which gives its name to this book," he says.
Thapar says, "In part due to Corbett's efforts and the people he inspired to carry on his work after him, a hundred years after he walked our tiger forests, we still have over 2,000 tigers left in India, the largest population of wild tigers in the world."
And most of them live in the Corbett Tiger Reserve, a fitting memorial to a man who will forever be associated with the tiger.
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