Sunday, June 11, 2023

Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve

 Jim Corbett National Park is a Tiger Reserve and is located in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand state. Tis has the credit of being The first national park in India, it was established in 1936 during the British Raj and named Hailey National Park after William Malcolm Hailey, a governor of the United Provinces in which it was then located. 

Since many years, I had plans to visit this Tiger Reserve, finally got opportunity in 2023. This year I am able to visit two different sections of this famous national park. First one is Kalagarh forest area and second time through Bujrani zone.

Kalagarh visit (Sonanandi Zone), I have already mentioned in my Chopta blog. This blog is dedicated for Jim Corbet travel through Bijrani zone.

Below are the main tourist zones around Ramnagar City:

Bijrani Safari Zone: 

Bijrani Zone is located at only a few KM from Ramnagar city.

Jhirna Safari Zone: 

Jhirna is located at a distance of 16 km from Ramnagar city. It is open throughout the year

Dhela Safari Zone: 

is a new eco-tourism zone in the Corbett National Park which was included in the tiger reserve zone in November 2014. This is open throughout the year and is located at an approximate distance of 13 Km from Ramnagar City.

Dhikala Zone: 

Being the largest and the most diversified jungle safari zone in Corbett, It is located 18 km away from Ramnagar city. 

I booked my stay at forest rest house (FRH), Birjani. I booked the safari also along with this. Advantage of booking FRH is that we get a dedicated Gypsy to explore. Though overall it will be a bit costly but good for those who want to be in forest and explore it more closely.

I alighted at Ramnagar Railway station early morning and the Gypsy picked me from there. After some formality at Aamdanda Gate, we proceeded towards FRH, Bijrani, which is deep into forest.

Its about 12 KMs inside forest and the route from forest entry gate till here is also dense forest though not core zone.

It took us about half an hour to reach from forest entry gate to FRH.

In 1956, nearly a decade after India's independence, it was renamed Corbett National Park after the hunter and naturalist Jim Corbett. The park was the first to come under the Project Tiger initiative.

Corbett National Park comprises hills, riverine belts, marshlands, grasslands and a large lake. The park has dense moist deciduous forest mainly consists of sal, haldu, peepal, rohini and mango trees. Forest covers almost 73% of the park, while 10% of the area consists of grasslands. It houses around 110 tree species, 50 species of mammals, 580 bird species and 25 reptile species.

In the early 1900s, several Britishers, including E. R. Stevans and E. A. Smythies, suggested the setting up of a national park here. It was only in the 1930s that the process of demarcation for such an area got underway. A reserve area known as Hailey National Park was created in 1936, when Malcolm Hailey was the Governor of United Provinces; and Asia's first national park came into existence. Hunting was not allowed in the reserve, except timber cutting for domestic purposes. Soon after the establishment of the reserve, rules prohibiting killing and capturing of mammals, reptiles and birds within its boundaries were passed.

The reserve was renamed in 1954–55 as Ramganga National Park and was again renamed in 1955–56 as Corbett National Park, after author and naturalist Jim Corbett.

After taking some rest and breakfast of Maggi, I headed for jungle surrounding us.

I encountered Cheetal, Sambhar, Jackal, Wild boar and Muntjac, though eyes were looking for "Striped monk".

A total of 488 different species of plants have been recorded in the park. 

More than 586 species of resident and migratory birds have been categorised, including the crested serpent eagle, blossom-headed parakeet and the red junglefowl — ancestor of all domestic fowl. 

33 species of reptiles, seven species of amphibians, seven species of fish and 36 species of dragonflies have also been recorded.

Thick jungle and plentiful prey make this reserve an ideal habitat for tigers who prey upon a range of animals. The tigers in the park have been known to kill much larger animals such as buffalo and even elephant for food. 

Other mammals include Elephant, Leopard, different species of cats, barking deer, sambar deer, hog deer and chital, sloth and Himalayan black bears, Indian grey mongoose, otters, yellow-throated martens, Himalayan goral, Indian pangolins, and langur and rhesus macaques. 

Owls and nightjars can be heard during the night. Other animal includes different species of snakes, crocodiles and gharials etc.

At one place, we saw a few other Gypsy gazing in a particular direction. One person told me that a Tigress and her cub was there in dense bushes. We all gazed there for almost 45 minutes and after that we all disbursed. We roamed other part of forest and while returning again took the same route where we had heard the presence of Tigress. We stopped the vehicle and again started scanning the bushes... and then a little movement and got the glimpse of yellow stripes.... though before I could aim my camera, it disappeared!

We waited for some more time, but no luck so returned back for lunch.

After lunch again we went to forest and explored till late evening.... captured all different animals but King was nowhere to be seen. Next day morning again I went for safari but no luck this time also.

A bit dejected I returned back and took bus to Haldwani and then train to home.

Sighting a Tiger in wild is very exciting but is pure luck. 

May be better luck next time somewhere....


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