Book explores wildlife in and around Corbett tiger reserve

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New Delhi: A new photographic guidebook introduces readers to about 700 species of wildlife found in Corbett Tiger Reserve of Uttarakhand and its neighbouring forests.

“Wildlife in and Around Corbett Tiger Reserve: A Photographic Guidebook” by Rajesh Chaudhary and Vinesh Kumar also provides a glimpse into the secret life of animals and plants.

The book has over 1,500 pictures of the wildlife, birds, plants and landscape. These features explain how tigers hunt, how birds build their nests, how bees communicate, and much more.

“Wildlife in and Around Corbett Tiger Reserve” also conveys a strong conservation message, highlighting the threats to the tiger, the apex predator species in the Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR) and its ecosystem. The section on tigers explains their hunting techniques, parenting skills, and causes of human-tiger conflict.

“Tigers have learnt to avoid humans, probably out of fear or natural aversion to humans. Thus, under normal circumstances, humans are not considered as prey by tigers. However, a tiger with inborn physical inability, old age or an injury preventing it from hunting its natural prey can cause a shift in its choice to easy prey – humans and domestic animals,” the book says.

“Humans can also be attacked by tigers during chance encounters (such as in self-defence); these events, however, may not make a tiger habituated to feeding on humans. A habituated tiger would avoid feeding on its natural prey, stalk human beings, and feed on the human carcass,” it says.

The book then mentions about the dreaded tiger of Sunderkhal, a village located near Garjia temple along NH-309 in Uttarakhand which terrorised and disrupted the normal lives of the people from November 2010 to January 2011. The male tiger killed not one but six humans and ate them, forcing authorities to eliminate it.

Published by Niyogi Books, “Wildlife in and Around Corbett Tiger Reserve” has three parts, and each part has multiple sections.

The first part ‘Prelude’ offers information on the natural and historical settings of CTR and on the naming and identification of organisms. The second part ‘Animals and Plants’ provides photographs and identifying features of over 700 species of animals (including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, butterflies, etc.), and plants, which are likely to be sighted in CTR, and its vicinity.

The third part ‘Visiting CTR’ provides information such as safari route maps and visuals of each ecotourism zone, and also the places of interest close to CTR.

There is also a biography of Jim Corbett, a section on F.W. Champion, who pioneered wildlife photography in India, and the history of Corbett Tiger Reserve. Other features in the book include sections on scientific naming and identification of organisms, understanding jungle clues and pugmarks, do’s and don’ts while visiting a wildlife reserve, checklists, and glossary and Abbreviations.

In all, there is plenty here for the armchair traveller, wildlife enthusiast, avid birdwatcher and plant lover.

The authors say it is at CTR, where the concept of ‘conservation of nature’ first originated in the country and got translated into reality.

“It narrates the success story of conservation of the natural world by the participation of local stakeholders. The flourishing ecotourism here that attracts lakhs of national and international tourists every year has played a key role in the economic development of the surrounding areas and better livelihoods for the local people,” they write.

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