as an english boy gowing up in istanbul I came across the man eaters of kumaon ...I was hooked ...in the 1980s I moved to dehli where I came to realize the high regard Indians have for jim corbett . so as an adult re read all of corbetts books. I then fully realized what an amazing example of humanity was jim corbett .extordinary for a man of that time to give equal revrence to anyone deserving whether it was a local man or a british dignitary ..to me he was an example of courage dignity humility and kindness that transendes all the problems of class religion ect as inspirational as any stoic writer like marcus auralius ..no wonder he was honered by India .....his goodness as a person made him so ahead of his time ideas like conservationism were born out of rightous concern for the truth ...not jumping on somebody elses bandwagon .I visited kumaon many times staying with friends in muktishwar where jim shot a man eater and felt jims spirit many times on lonley jungle trails .even as a foreigner my heart yearns for that feeling again ...its hard to understand why jim would leave that for kenya. his grave is missing from that landscape! did he regret the move ? one can understand he may have been looking for the adventure of youth or an unspoiled country ...alsso it was a time of violence and uncertainty in India ... but it would be out of charecter for the great man to show any personal feelings about it .he always was quick to praise others and subdue his own feelings .I truly admire the man in spite of being verry well read ...he is one of the greatest examples of how to lead your life and be a happy in simplicity ..his sympathy for the downtrodden his love of animals and environment his generosity his humility, he had all the best genuine atributes of a hindu moslem and christian rolled together .fitting for a multi cultured India
I have always been a great fan & adirer of Jim Corbett. His books introduced me to a new world of experiences of natural world. His books form a separate literary category; a jungle version of detective fiction that convey an explicit message of nature conservation. Corbett’s art and popularity not only compelled my attention, but also prompted me to critically examine his books thoroughly. I have submitted my Doctoral thesis at RTM Nagpur University (MS) India on Jim Corbett. Looking forward to thesis presentation before expert committee.
Dear Sirs, Sir William Ibbotson was my husbands grandfather. We are trying to find his son Michael Ibbottson, who left Kenya after the Emergenc, for England. Please, if you have any informtyion that might help in this search, could you please forward it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Many thanks
TIGER TRAILS A JOURNAL OF THE JIM CORBETT FOUNDATION Established in 1994 and registered as a non profit organization in Canada 1306- 39 St, Edmonton, Alberta, T6L 2M7, Canada e: email@example.com website: Respectance.com/JIMCORBETT ....................................................................................................... VOL.16 Number 63 March 2010 Editor:JERRY A. JALEEL F.R.G.S. ........................................................................ TIGER DEATHS IN CORBETT NATIONAL PARK: Several bodies of dead tigers were found inside the Corbett park in the last three months. Some were said to be poisoned by villagers, and others were presumed killed during territorial fights by rival tigers. The bodies with no cuts or signs of mutilations were labeled as death by poison administered by villagers in carcasses. In recent weeks a tiger killed two women who were collecting firewood inside the park. The authorities were trying to trap the killer tiger in the hope of relocating it to a zoo, but the angry villagers wanted the cat killed, and this anger might have caused the death of several tigers that roams the Corbett park. Ironically, no other parks in India is losing tigers at this rate. According to officials, Corbett park has a population of 50 tigers or more. Sightings of several cubs with mothers were reported there in recent months. Many thinks that the area is over crowded. Even so, the park is not lack of prey. It is teemed with thousands of spotted deer as well as a healthy population of sambur, chinkara, hog deer, musk deer and other mammals. A mother with young cubs are very cautious and protective, and resentful to intruders. Any one walking into their playground would be taking a great risk. In many parks in India, collecting fodder and firewood is very common. In the case of the women killed by tigers, they were not eaten. It is also not uncommon for male tigers to kill young cubs to get the mother tigress ready for mating. There are several instances where the tigress defend her cubs by fighting with the intruder, and as a result receiving life threatening injuries and even death. The aggressive male tigers are also known to attack and kill other weak male tigers or young male tigers to establish their own territory. The sad part in the death of the tigers in Corbett park is that the authorities are unable to establish the cause of death, or doing anything to prevent such happenings. According to three reliable sources who works in the Corbett park tells me that there is a huge cover up by the authorities and the operators who depends on income from tourists. Any naturalist who is concerned with the issue would be banned from the park and be labeled as a threat to the park and its administration. It happened in many other parks before, and every time when some researchers sounded alarm, they were promptly expelled from the park. This is politics at its worst. It was deeply rooted in the Indian history, even during Corbett’s time, almost seventy years ago when he pleaded for the conservation of tigers and asked the public to rally behind the tigers to ensure their protection, adding that ‘tigers have no votes’. It is unfortunate that the conflict between tigers and men is on the rise. The number of tigers has been dwindled from 3000 to 800 or less in recent years, having the majority being killed to supply organs and bones to satisfy the demands of ancient and primitive medical practices. Those who are guarding the tigers in India are still without proper outfits to combat the demanding job. Most of the money raised to ‘SAVE THE TIGER’ ends up towards administrative fees. Some of the ‘tiger experts’ are promoting themselves with their books and videos and pocketing the money. In the meantime, the tiger in India is under humungous pressure by an ever increasing population, an uneducated bunch of politicians and gutless forest officials who tap dance with the politicians instead of executing and following their job description. It is time India set up a central body for tiger conservation by recruiting able members from professional ranks who are immune to political pressure and corruption. BILLY ARJAN SINGH: A TRIBUTE TO A GREAT NATURALIST & CONSERVATIONIST Hailed as India’s most staunch tiger conservationist, author of several books on tigers and leopards and creator of Dudhwa national Park, Kunwar (Billy) Arjan Singh died at the age of 92 in India on the New Years day 2010. Billy (means cat in Hindi) was born on 15 August 1917 in Gorakhpur in a prominent royal family. As a youth he spent most of his leisure time with a rifle, shooting wild animals and birds including a tiger. But soon he regretted his passion for hunting, and decided to give back to the wild whatever he could, especially towards the protection of tigers which were decreasing in numbers at an alarming speed. He supported the then prime minister Indira Gandhi with her Project Tiger concept in the early 1970s. With her permission, Billy acquired a young tigress from Twycross zoo in England. He named her Tara and successfully hand raised the tigress, at his home in Tiger Haven and eventually released her into the wild. This area later became part of Dudhwa national park created after years of hard work and appeal by Billy Arjan Singh. He also raised a leopard named Prince and released her into the wild as well to prove that it was possible to raise endangered animals privately and they could be successfully released in the wild. When UK based Survival Anglia film company heard of this, they sent a crew to Tiger haven and produced an excellent one hour documentary titled Leopard of the Wild, narrated by David Niven. I was impressed with the film when I first saw it in 1981, and soon purchased his book, Tiger Haven published in 1971. Soon his second book came out, Tara in 1981 followed by The Prince of Cats (1982) and Tiger! Tiger! in 1984. In this book Billy recalled his childhood in Naini Tal and his association with Jim Corbett. He was thrilled when Corbett agreed to talk with young Billy every Sunday if he could get to the Gurney House where Corbett lived with his sister Maggie and stepsister Mary. His next book Eelie & the Big cats was published in 1987, and A Tiger’s Story in 1999.A biography of Billy titled Honorary Tiger by Duff Hart Davis was published in 2005 and was reviewed in the TIGER-TRAILS at the time. When the tigers started disappearing in Dudhwa park, Billy took some drastic measures to protect them. This didn’t go well with the local politicians and they banned Billy from entering the park again. When he was allowed back into the park, Billy was accompanied by Ian Love, a JCF member from Britain. Ian stated that his visits with the great tiger wallah and the chats with him would remain in his memory for a long time. Billy’s contributions to the wildlife have been recognized world wide. He was awarded the Padma Shri medal in 1995, the J.Paul Getty Wildlife Conservation award was given to him in 2004 and the prestigious Padma Bhushan medal was awarded in 2006 when he was 88. Billy Arjan Singh had a wonderful and long life. He defended the tigers and the reputation of Jim Corbett when arrogant people like Kailash Sankhala took cheap shots at him. Billy’s departure will be greatly missed by the remaining tigers in India. ....................................................................................... Epilogue: TARA,the young tigress Billy obtained in 1976 from the Twycross zoo in Britain happened to be a hybrid - a cross between a Siberian tiger and a Bengal tiger. Its true identity was not known until 1990 when observing some of the Dudhwa tigers, it was noticed that they showed signs of their Siberian cousin: pale fur and white complexion instead of the traditional orange coat, and large head and wide body stripes. With the help of modern science, a series of DNA tests were conducted and it was proved that the Siberian tiger genes have polluted the pure Indian (Bengal) tiger gene pool of Dudhwa national park. The Twycross zoo was irresponsible for not keeping any breeding records. However, most of the Dudhwa tigers were killed by poachers, and up to two years ago, it was believed that all the tigers in Dudhwa were wiped out by poachers. However, it is reported that a few tigers from the neighboring area have taken up residence in Dudhwa. This would certainly delight old Billy. (JJ) .............................. OF WHALES, DOLPHINS & JAPANESE FISHERMEN The world population of whales and dolphins is sharply on the decline in the past two decades. Many countries participate in the killing of these noble marine mammals. Chilean fishermen kill thousands of commerson’s dolphins and use their meat as crab bait. Hector’s dolphin, a native of New Zealand waters is now listed as an endangered species. Its numbers are vastly shrunk due to heavy pollution and trawling. Norway is killing Beluga whales left and right in the pretense that they are depleting the cod stocks. Russia is echoing the same excuse to hunt whales. But the biggest and the worst enemy of these creatures is undoubtedly Japan. The world fisheries is totally controlled by Japan. In their desire to dominate the industry Japan has been quite ruthless in harvesting hundreds of whales from around the world. Their specialty is slaughtering thousands of dolphins each year from September to March in a secretly guarded ocean outlet in Taiji where they drive the migratory dolphins towards the shore, trapped them with nets and kill them with spears and meat cleavers daily for seven months. Some of these creatures swim around for hours before they drown in the sea of blood. A few of them are trapped alive and shipped to various zoos and outdoor exhibits for $150,000 each. The rest of them are sold at the Tsukiji market as whale meat. Although this highly contaminated meat (with high concentration of mercury) is unfit for human consumption, it is shipped to various sushi bars and restaurants around the world. Several years after the dolphin meat was introduced as a regular school lunch in Japan, many children were born deformed. Those who made its connection with the dolphin meat were silenced. This practice continued until recently when two council members spoke out publicly to save their children. Taiji area is forbidden to tourists. Foreigners are not welcome. The sad part is, even majority of Japanese doesn’t know what is going on in Taiji and unaware that they are eating highly contaminated and raw dolphin meat. A recent film made by the Oceanic Preservation Society, titled The Cove has done an excellent job of exposing the ruthless fishermen of Taiji and the japanese fishery officials’ elaborate scheme to cover up the slaughtering of both dolphins and whales. This documentary, made with high definition cameras and other gadgets has won an Academy Award last week. The film makers were under constant watch by secret police and Japanese elite security force. I have seen the film and it is worth watching the horrible practice that is still continuing without any obstruction. The International Whaling Commission (IWC) is quite helpless in dealing with Japan. The Japanese government is keen to recruit the very poor and bankruptcy nations, such as the whole Caribbean countries by providing them with financial packages and bribes to support their whaling agenda. Whenever other nations protest Japan’s aggressive harvesting of the whales and dolphins, they are outnumbered by Japan’s above mentioned supporters. Their last excuse for the massacre of the Taiji dolphins was pest control. The japanese have successfully eliminated the entire population of dolphins in Iki years ago. Someone recently said that if the future of whales is to be depended upon the IWC, there is no hope. Like the World Wildlife Fund and Save the Tiger organizations in India, IWC is a toothless agency. The Green Peace and their Sea Shepherd does more works to save the whales than all other agencies put together. It is sad that the government does not solve most problems when it comes to conservation; in many cases, they create them for political gain. Unfortunately, these endangered animals, Tigers, Whales and dolphins have no votes, and bound to perish in the hands of man. ~ B O O K S ~ LIVING JEWELS FROM THE INDIAN JUNGLE: Edited by Kothari & C
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In the past 50 years, I came in contact with a number of relatives and friends closely associated with Jim Corbett. All of them offered great stories while recalling their friendship with him. F.W. Champion (author of With a Camera in Tigerland, and Jungle in Sunlight & Shadow) and his brother Sir Harry Champion (scholar and author of books on Forestry) were the first to help. F.W. Champion died in Scotland in 1970. Ramsay Tainish OBE, a veteran doctor who served the war in Burma was a close friend of Corbett, so was his father- died in Sweden in 1998; Eric Risley former DC of Tanganyika and later Kenya had spent considerable time with Corbett - died in 1995, a year after I had lunch with him at his home in Karen, a suburb of Nairobi, and his wife Bridget Risley died shortly after. Jennifer Stutchbury,( wife of Brian Stutchbury -the great nephew of Jim Corbett) passed away just a few years ago. She accompanied me with her husband during a safari in 1994. Joy Adamson (of Born Free fame) with whom I corresponded and exchanged ideas about African wildlife was murdered in 1980, her husband George too was killed by Somali bandits (shifta) in 1989. George Adamson had a small library and I was able to acquire five of them with his signature, and a complete set of Joy Adamson's books signed by her. British tea planter and author of Wild Life of India, Mr. E.P. Gee was also very helpful while I was a Forester in India. Gee died in 1968 while I was in Canada. Another colorful character I came across was Dr. J.B.S. Haldane, an outspoken British scientist who ran Orissa's Biometry Lab in the 1960s, He used to inject cobra vemom on himself and studied the reaction firsthand. The day he died, he announced his death on television by recording it previously. Geoffrey Cumberlege was Corbett's publisher at the Oxford University Press (UK), who also was a friend. After his death, Cumberlege met with Maggie in Kenya and collected a large number of photos, letters, telegrams and other biographical material on Corbett. He used it in the introduction to the worlds classic edition of Man eaters of Kumaon and Temple Tiger (1960). Cumberlege died in 1979. Roy Hawkins was not only was Corbett's editor, he was a close friend of Jim and Maggie. When Jim died, he flew to Kenya and spent sometime with Maggie and made biographical notes which he used in his book Jim Corbett's India (1979). I corresponded with Hawkins, who was living in Bombay at the time, several times until his death in 1989. Brig. Gen.Geoffrey Beyts who ran a farm in Mweiga, near Nyeri, Kenya with Jim Corbett and his nephew Thomas Corbett. Geoffrey and his wife Ruby Beyts were close to Jim and Maggie. They left Kenya when the country gained freedom in 1963, eventually settling in Spain. They too passed away some years ago. Sir William Ibbotson (Ibbie) and his wife Jean were also good friends with Corbett in India and again in Kenya. They met occasionally for lunch and tea. Corbett and Ibbotson were also served as directors for Safariland - hunting outfitters- for a time. They too left Kenya by 1963 settling in South Africa where they died. Maurice Nestor was a relative of Corbett and knew him during his Kumaon days. Maurice was very helpful while I was preparing the book on Jim Corbett (Under the Shadow of Man eaters). He died at the age of 98 in England. There are many others I have personally met or corresponded with, primarily discussing Jim Corbett. Although they are long gone, I have fond memories of them.
In Champawat Man eaters (see Man eaters of Kumaon) Jim Corbett did mentioned about spending a night in a dak bungalow alone and where he experienced something super natural. In reality, he fully explained his experience of encountering a ghost in his original manuscript sent to Oxford University Press. R.E. Hawkins who was Corbett's editor, approved the manuscript for publication, but returned the manuscript to Corbett with a request to remove the supernatural experience he mentioned in his first story. His friend and neighbor at the time was a gentleman named "Burma: Jarrow, and he told me that Corbett approached him with the returned manuscript and asked him to retype the page without the ghost story. Again I checked with a close friend and associate of the Corbetts- Mrs Audrey Baylis - about Corbett's encounters with ghosts. She confirmed that Corbett was indeed frightened by some forces the night he spent at the dak bungalow while hunting the Champawat man eater in 1907, and his servants found him outside the building covered with a blanket and shivering. For more details see the book: Under the Shadow of Man eaters
After following Corbett's footsteps and visiting several areas mentioned in his books, I was thrilled to spend an entire day at the Gurney House, his former home in Naini Tal which was currently owned by Mr. Prakash Verma who lived in New Delhi. Fortunately he was spending a few days in Naini Tal to escape Delhi's severe heat in April 2002. The building was kept vacant most of the time, except when visited by Prakash or his sister. It was amazing to see that almost all the original furniture left by Corbett was still there, including the hand made chair seats by Maggie, and several antlers and deer heads from Corbett's hunting days. A leopard skull was kept on the mantle, and a heavy book shelf made from a single log brought in by Corbett from Mokameh Ghat by train and by cart. Another shelf was filled with their crockery, used daily in their household. The piano belonged to Maggie was gone to Mr. Verma's sister's home. The Gurney House was sold to Mrs. Verma by Jim Corbett in 1947 before he left India for Kenya. Corbett offered one of his hunting rifles to Prakash who declined to accept it and now regretfully stated that it was the biggest mistake in his life. I visited Kenya twice, and both times, Corbett's grave was repaired and restored in 1994 and 2002. I spent two nights in Paxtu cottage by special arrangement with the Hotel management. Corbett spent his final years from 1948 to 1955 in this cottage, part of it is now a museum named after Baden powell. A color portrait of Corbett I hung on the mantle of this cottage in 1994 had disappeared in 2002. The hotel staff and management had no idea how it went missing. Corbett was a frequent visitor to the Tree Tops, a game lodge made famous by queen Elizabeth. I visited Tree Tops three times and photographed a very large group of Cape Buffaloe, few elephants, waterbuck, wild pigs and several baboons. An old log book kept at the Tree Tops had several entries made by Corbett, one in particular made on 5th February 1952 when a young lady climbed the tree as a princess, and climbed down from the tree next morning as a queen. That page was signed by the queen, prince Philip, Pamela Mountbatten, Commander Parker, Eric and Lady Sherbrooke Walker and Jim Corbett. It was here when Corbett called up a leopard right in front of the hut for other visitors to see. (For details about this incident and much more about Corbett, please consult the book: UNDER THE SHADOW OF MAN EATERS: THE LIFE & LEGEND OF JIM CORBETT(1997) by Jerry A. Jaleel, available through Jim Corbett Foundation, 1306- 39 Street, Edmonton, Alberta, T6L 2M7, Canada (email: firstname.lastname@example.org). Visiting places where Corbett lived and roamed brought great pleasure to me, as I have been a great fan of his ever since I first read his MAN EATERS OF KUMAON in 1958, My curiosity took me to several lands where I met his surviving friends and relatives, and received first hand information about the man and the legend. Establishing the Jim Corbett Foundation was a very long dream for me until it was materialized in 1994. Hope you will join the Foundation and extend your support for a noble cause. Thank you, Jerry A. Jaleel F.R.G.S. Director The Jim Corbett Foundation (Canada)
A fine book on Assam Elephants
Arun Lakshmanan10 years ago
I am fan of Jim's flawless words, craft, and life. Could you share your thesis or a summary? I would be delighted to read. And thank you for doing this - the more I read (i have both OUP omnibuses) the more I marvel at his dedication. Regards, Arun
Hello Archana. Delighted to learn that a fellow nagpurian has presented a thesis on Sir Jim Corbett. Would love to know more about it. My wife and i are planning to visit nainitaal this month to investigate a bit about JC. I am very eager to find out more about this Gentleman and will be grateful if you could share your understanding of him.