In 1974 the world funded Tiger Conservation Project was launched at Corbett National Park in an endeavour to save this majestic animal from extinction. With Corbett as the pilot model, eight other tiger reserves came up in India. At the last count the tiger population in Corbett and other parks had shown stability, raising hopes of naturalists and conservators worldwide.
So how good would be the chances of spotting one at Corbett?
Corbett is one of the most congested parks in India with a ratio of 1 tiger to every 5 acres. Gullies, ravines and thick forest cover give tigers the right kind of habitat. And herdes of deer, particularly the sambar, plenty of food.
The tiger is reclusive, but can be somewhat predictable in its beat. You are more likely to spot a tiger close near a water body than to meet him or her accidentally on the forest path! And though your hair may stand on end, it may be worthwhile to take heed of what Jim Corbett wrote in his 'Man-eaters of Kumaon' -
"A tiger's function in the scheme of things is to help maintain the balance in nature and if, on rare occasions when driven by dire necessity, he kills a human being or when his natural food has been ruthlessly exterminated by man, it is not fair that for these acts a whole species should be branded as cruel and bloodthirsty. ...There is one point on which all sportsmen will agree with me, and that is, that a tiger is a large hearted gentleman with boundless courage and that when he is exterminated - as exterminated he will be unless public opinion rallies to his support - India will be the poorer for having lost the finest of her fauna."
Project for Tiger Conservation
The most ambitious conservation project ever undertaken, Project Tiger Reserves was launched with the support of the World Wildlife Fund and the involvement of the world's most ardent conservationists.