Corbett National Park
Corbett National Park is about 300 km north-east of Delhi, in northern Uttar Pradesh province. Ramnagar is the nearest town and railway station. The main accommodation centre inside the Park is at Dhikala, about 50 km from Ramnagar.
Corbett National Park at the foothills of the Himalyas was established in 1936 as the Hailey National Park, India’s first National Park and the first to come under Project Tiger. It is one of the best wildlife reserves in Asia, famous for its wide variety of wildlife and its beautiful location. The highlight of any visit is an elephant safari into the jungles and grasslands looking for tiger or a herd of wild elephants.
Spread over 520 sq km, Corbett is characterised by dense forest interspersed with broad open grasslands (called “chaurs”) and the ever present river Ramganga, winding its sinuous way through the sanctuary – ideal country for the tiger and its natural prey.
The Park is named after the famous hunter and naturalist, Jim Corbett, who popularised this land and its animals in his book “The Man-Eaters of Kumaon”. Corbett recounts many fascinating tales of hunting down man-eating tigers. Always a nature lover, he helped set up a sanctuary called Hailey Park in 1936. Eventually, an all India initiative for the protection of the Tiger was launched from here. The Park has a high density tiger population.
Prime Attractions of the Corbett National Park
Leopard sighting is even rarer than that of the tiger, and these spotted cats confine themselves to the higher reaches of the Park. Other feline species found in the Park are leopard cats, jungle cats, the rare fishing cat, and caracal, to name a few. Sloth bears, wild boars, monkeys, dholes (wild dogs), jackals and ghorals (mountain goats) also inhabit the Park.
The aquatic reptile population in the Park consists of mugger (Crocodylus palustris) and gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) crocodiles, while Indian rock pythons, Russell’s vipers, cobras, king cobras and common kraits are some of the snakes found in the Park. Bird life includes parakeets, flycatchers, babblers, cuckoos, robins, bulbuls, Indian and Great Pied hornbills, warblers and finches, to name a few.
Flora & Fauna in Corbett National Park
Corbett National Park is rich in vegetation, with different kinds of trees and shrubs. The lower reaches of the Park, where the land is flat compared to the upper reaches, consists of tall and slender sal (Shorea robusta) trees. Shisham (Dalbergia sissoo) and khair (Acacia katechu) trees are found in the middle reaches, while the upper reaches of the mountains are full of bakli (Anogeissus latifolia), chir (Pinus roxburghii), gurail (Bauhinia racemosa) and bamboo trees. The Park is dotted with lantana shrubs, a species that is a great cause for concern. Imported years ago from America, the lantana shrub ensures that nothing else grows near it. In the Park are 110 species of trees, 51 species of shrubs, and over 33 species of bamboo and grass that are mostly found in chowds, or meadows.
Corbett National Park has more than 50 species of mammals, 585 species of birds and 25 species of reptiles, but the Park is known for its elephants and leopards, not its tigers. Many kinds of deer, namely chital (spotted deer), sambar (Indian stag), chinkara (Indian gazelle), pada (hog deer) and muntjac (barking deer) abound in the Park. Tiger sightings are rare, in spite of a lot of alarm calls from monkeys and deer. Elephant herds comprising tuskers, females and calves are commonly seen. However, an elephant herd with calves is perhaps the most dangerous encounter in the wild, for elephants are very possessive of their young and do not hesitate to charge at intruding human beings.
Access : 86km from Nainital, 297km from Delhi
Altitude : 400-1,200m
Temperature : Min 4°C, max 42°C.
Area : 350 sq km core, 150 sq km buffer
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