Corbett Tiger Reserve

Named after the famous hunter, naturalist and author Jim Corbett who played a key role in its establishment, Corbett is the oldest national park in India. Situated in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand, the 1300 square km park, is in the sub Himalayan belt at close to 4000ft, and has 488 different species of plants and a diverse variety of fauna.

The park is divided into three distinct geographical areas, with hilly areas of deciduous mixed forests, as well as low lying grassland with ravines and vast dense forests of Sal trees. The magnificent Ramganga River flows through the heart of the park bringing a continuous supply of water.

This varied topography results in an abundance of indigenous fauna and flora. There are 110 tree species, 37 species of grass and bamboo, 50 mammals, 25 reptiles. Due to its location Corbett is the only Indian National Park where the Himalayan black bear, Himalayan palm civet and the Ghoral are found, but they are rarely seen.

There are large herds of deer, 4 species in all, as well as breeding herds of elephants. The former migration routes of the elephants were cut off by a hydro-electric project during the 70's, however a good population remains and these are most likely to be seen in the Dhikala area of the park during the summer months when they come down from the hills. Leopards, lesser cats and civets, sloth bear and a large number of jackals are also present.

Two of the most interesting reptiles are the Gharial (fish eating crocodile) and the mugger crocodile, found on the Ramganga River and reservoir, along with Tawny Fish Owl and Great Thick Knee. Although Corbett has a significant tiger population, sightings are less common due to the dense habitat.

However it is a birders paradise with nearly 600 bird species and a beautiful location

Today the park has been a popular ecotourism destination as the weather in the park is temperate compared to most other protected areas of India, with warm but pleasant temperatures during the winter with some foggy mornings and summer temperatures normally do not rise above 35 degrees centigrade. This altitude and latitude also ensure that night time temperatures remain far more comfortable during the hot months.

IN THE FIELD UPDATE

Mar 2012 - There have been very good sightings this year in the park of tigers and herds of elephant. There is a mother and her cubs in the Dhikala range that is seen quite frequently. Nice sightings are always had of Gharial and mugger crocodiles as well as otters in the rivers. The winter birds have been fabulous this year.

Park information

Booking park tickets, even with the online booking, is still bureaucratic, and booking nights inside the reserve in the government run guesthouses is still difficult to do independently. Always use an agent or your lodge to do this although it will not be confirmed till a short time before arrival.


Feb 2011 - Corbett is always good for viewing large herds of wild elephants. This season has also seen more frequent Tiger sightings from jeeps in Dhikala and Birjani ranges, and the whole reserve is now reckoned to have one of the highest Tiger populations in India. The reservoir is particularily high at the moment and prey species remain good. Superb Gharial sightings (fish eating crocodiles) and as always Corbett has some of the best birding in India. Recent spottings include two Tawny fish owls over the Ramganga river.

Please note: There is mounting concern about logging inside the reserve at the Lohachaur range. Also please use TOFT lodges here – as many others have poor operating and environmental standards highlighted by a recent Tourism report.

A word of warning: You need to give ample notice if you want to enter the Tiger Reserve whether on day visits or overnight stays. It is becoming increasingly difficult to acquire permits and entries without ample notice.

TOFT sponsors a Vulture Restoration project here if you want to know more or visit some nesting sites.

TOFT is concerned about the pressure and breaking of rules and regulations within and on the borders of the park. Tourism pressures are intense and continue to build beyond the carrying capacities set. Any incidents of poor practice or rule breaking can be reported to us on admin@toftindia.org for action, ideally with photos.

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