Jim Corbett National Park, located in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand, India, is one of the oldest national parks in the country. Established in 1936, it was originally named Hailey National Park after Sir Malcolm Hailey, the then Governor of the United Provinces. The park was later renamed in 1957 to honour the legendary British hunter and conservationist Jim Corbett, who played a crucial role in its establishment.

Here is a brief history of Jim Corbett National Park:

  1. Early Efforts in Conservation:

    • The initiative for the establishment of a national park in the region began in the 19th century due to concerns about the depletion of wildlife, particularly the Bengal tiger population.
    • Prominent individuals like Jim Corbett himself advocated for the preservation of wildlife and natural habitats.
  2. Establishment of Hailey National Park:

    • Hailey National Park was officially established on August 8, 1936, becoming the first national park in mainland Asia.
    • The park initially covered an area of 323.75 square kilometers and was aimed at protecting the endangered Bengal tiger.
  3. Renaming to Jim Corbett National Park:

    • In 1957, the park was renamed Jim Corbett National Park as a tribute to Jim Corbett, who played a key role in the establishment of the park and was known for his efforts in hunting man-eating tigers and leopards.
    • Jim Corbett's books, such as "Man-Eaters of Kumaon," brought attention to the region's wildlife and contributed to the conservation movement.
  4. Wildlife Conservation and Tourism:

    • Jim Corbett National Park is renowned for its rich biodiversity, including Bengal tigers, leopards, elephants, deer, and numerous bird species.
    • The park has been a significant center for wildlife research and conservation activities.
  5. Ramganga Dam and Subsequent Expansions:

    • The construction of the Ramganga Dam in 1974 led to the submergence of a part of the park. As a result, additional areas were added to the park to compensate for the lost habitat.
  6. Project Tiger:

    • Jim Corbett National Park was one of the first areas selected for the implementation of Project Tiger, a tiger conservation program launched in 1973.
  7. Recognition and UNESCO Status:

    • The park gained international recognition and was declared a Project Tiger Reserve in 1973.
    • It was later included in the Terai Arc Landscape, a conservation initiative spanning India and Nepal.
    • Jim Corbett National Park was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016.

Today, Jim Corbett National Park attracts nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts, and tourists from around the world, offering them a chance to experience the beauty of the Himalayan foothills and witness diverse flora and fauna in their natural habitat. The park continues to be an important centre for wildlife conservation and environmental education.