Corbett National Park was the first Tiger Reserve under the project in India. So from that point of view Corbett is one of the oldest as well as the largest national park of India. The park is an ideal home for many majestic animals like the Royal Bengal Tiger, Asiatic Elephant and many other wild animals. Due to healthy population of wild today, Corbett is one of best preserved parks with 164 numbers of tigers and over 600 elephants. As per the recent survey Corbett reveals the highest density of population of tigers in the country at 20/100 square kilometers.
Apart from Royal Bengal Tiger Corbett is also a home to a sizeable population of the endangered Asiatic elephant and other critically endangered species including the Ghariyal. Some of the other known mammal species reside in Corbett include Asiatic Black Bear, Hog Deer, Walking Deer, Sambar, Sloth Beer, Yellow-throated marten, Otters and many more to list. Corbett also hosts a diversity of aqua fauna and birdlife with approximately 600 species including the great pied hornbill, white-Backed Vulture, Hodgson's bushchat, orange breasted green pigeon, Pallas fish eagle, golden oriole, tawny fish owl, Indian Pitta, Scarlet Minivet and reptile like the critically endangered Ghariyal, mugger Crocodiles, the king Cobra and many more to list.
The tiger is not only the star attraction of the Jim Corbett National Park but is the most celebrated of the wild animals in India. This wonderful creature of God symbolizes the power of nature and finds an important place in our culture, mythology and legends. The majesty has been treated and worshiped as the ruler of the forest.
It is said that tigers have evolved in East Asia (China) about two million years ago. After that they spread to other parts of Asia. Altogether there are eight subspecies of tiger, out of which three have gone extinct. It is a matter of pride for India that the country gives shelter to the largest population of wild tigers in the world. According to recent census it has been estimated to be only 5000 to 7500 tigers surviving in the world. The subspecies Royal Bengal Tiger has 3000 to 4500 surviving members existing in Indian subcontinent, more than three-fourths of which are in India.
The Terai-Bhabar region, including the area of Corbett National Park was once the best habitat for tigers but recently has reduced at great extent due to deforestation took place in these areas and land use changes.
The tiger has always had a deep relation with the confined area of Corbett National Park - either through the useful writings of Jim Corbett and other hunter. Corbett gave birth to Project Tiger in India - India's first tiger conservation program inaugurated on first April 1973.
Tigers attack wild boar, deer (preferably chital and barking deer) and Sambar while the majestic is on hunt. They choose the largest prey of species since larger prey gives more enrgy for the energy spent. The presence of sound population of sambar is believed to be a good indicator of the presence of tigers in the Corbett. Sometimes, tigers also hunt young of elephants and take smaller species, including birds, reptiles, fish and monkeys.
Tigers in India have the greatest reputation as man-eaters among the large cat species. Such tigers have been immortalized through the writings of Jim Corbett. For instance, The Champawat Tiger is said to have killed 434 people before Corbett finally succeeded in killing it.
Tiger is kept on top of the food pyramid as they are carnivore and a master predator. It helps in maintaining and controlling the ecological balance of the park.
The Jim Corbett National Park is blessed with the natural bounty in the form of distinct flora which comprises of fresh water flora and alpine flora. Extent over an area of more than 521 square kilometers the Corbett has diverse floral count that is absolutely astonishing. The various habitat types of Corbett is occupied by Sal forests, Khair-Sisso forests, Mountains, Chaur, and rivers and streams that owes their distinct assemblage of plants. According to botanical survey of India Corbett has 600 species of plants - trees, shrubs, ferns, grass, climbers, herbs and bamboos. These many distinct varieties of plant kingdom makes the national park sought after wildlife destination for those who wish to relax from hectic schedule of working throughout the year.
Being one of the richest home of wild animals, the Jim Corbett National Park is rich in flora too. More than 75% of the total area of the Corbett is dominated by Sal forests.
Sal, Khair and Sissoo are the most visible trees found in Corbett. Though, there are several other species that contribute to the sound diversity of Jim Corbett are scattered throughout the park. Chir Pine is the only conifer found in the park. Some part of the Corbett is dominated by Bamboo forests. The main species is Male Bamboo (Dendrocalamus strictus) having clustered stout stems and shining papery stem sheaths. Bamboos follow a peculiar flowering process. All bamboos in a forest flower together at the same time once in several decades. After flowering, fruiting and dispersal of seeds, all individuals die together.
Green is the fundamental color of nature and variety of flowering trees in Corbett lend that beautiful color to the forests. The forests of the Corbett is dominated by numerous flowering plant, some of them can be named as Kachnar (Bauhinia Variegata) with white tom pink flowers, Semal (Bombax ceiba) with giant red blooms, Dhak or popularly called as the flame of the forest with bright and eye pleasing orange flowers, Madaar or Indian Coral (Erythrinia indica) with red flowers and Amaltas (Cassia fistula) with bright yellow chandelier like blooms.
Though, some species of trees that do not occur naturally in the park have been artificially planted in and around the habitation of the park. These include Teak (Tectona grandis), Silver Oak (Gravillea robusta), Eucalyptus, Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosaefolia) and Bottlebrush (Callistemon viminalis), and can be seen in and around forest rest houses inside the Corbett Tiger Reserve area.
Floor of the Corbett forest is also dominated by the several species of Ber (Zizyphus) found in open areas and is boon for many birds and animals providing food and habitat to them. Maror Phali (Helicteres isora) is an easily noticeable shrub. If you look at the fruits of this amazing shrub, they are in the form of twisted spiraling pods. Jhau is different kind of shrubs found along the Ramganga basin on sandy or rocky soil.
It is quite interesting to explore the vegetation type of Corbett National Park. We find some of the Corbett vegetation is covered with bamboo forest. Main species existing is named as Male bamboo having clustered stout stems and shining papery stem sheaths.
Water is essential for the survival of the spectacular avifaunal diversity present in the Corbett National Park. Such a remarkable gamut of flora and fauna species in the park is seen just because of the mighty rivers flowing through the park that plays a crucial role in shaping the biodiversity. The Ramganga river (West) along with its significant tributaries Sonanadi, Palain and Mandal forms the prominent hydrological resource for the Corbett. The river Kosi also flows by national park and serves as the significant water resources for the nearby area. The major portion of the Corbett wild is situated on the bank of River Kosi. These water bodies shape the wide and varied aquatic life of the region. The precious wildlife of the Corbett is dependent on rivers as they provide drinking water for them especially in dry season. The river that flows in and around the Jim Corbett National Park are as follows:
Ramganga River is the Lifeline for Corbett National Park. We cannot imagine the existence of Corbett without Ramganga. It is the largest of all the precious water bodies in the park. We can imagine the importance of this river with evidence that it was named Ramganga National Park for a brief period from 1954-1957 before it was named Corbett National Park. The river is fed by rain and originates from the Gairsain region in Lesser Himalayas. The river flows around a stretch of near about 100 kilometers before you get inside the park near Marchula. Approximately, it flows 40 Kms east to west inside the park till Kalagarh where it meets plains. It collects water from the Palain, Mandal and Sonanadi rivers during this run through the park and finally drains into River Ganga near Farrukhabad in Uttar Pradesh.
The Kosi is a perennial river that servers major portion of the Corbett's wild as the Corbett wild use the Kosi river to quench their thirst. Eastern periphery of the park is fed by Kosi that flows from Mohan till Ramnagar via Dhikuli. Though, the Kosi does not enter the park boundary.
This gorgeous river is the significant tributary of Ramganga River. The river has been named after the Sonanadi wildlife Sanctuary that adjoins Corbett National Park and held as an crucial part of Corbett Tiger Reserve. It enters the Corbett from the North-West direction and merges into the Ramganga River at its reservoir.