Friday, January 1, 2010

The Temple Tiger and More Man-Eaters of Kumaon (published in 1954)

Jim Corbett was a famous hunter and conservationist who lived in the region of Terai and Kumaon, in North India during the latter half of the 19th century, and through to the mid part of the 20th century. Being born in this region, he grew up with the forested and mountainous region and became very familiar with it. He loved the jungle, was very comfortable inside the forest, and could track down animals.
He became very famous as a hunter, but he was no there for the thrill of killing wild animals, instead killing those who became man-eaters. Some of the animals (typically tigers and leopards) that Jim Corbett killed were those who would terrorize villages, killing people as they moved around after dark. These animals had typically lost the ability to hunt their native prey, being either weak, or having suffered some wounds in battle, or having been shot and injured; in such a state, hunting humans was far easier than trying to kill their traditional prey. Villagers would call Jim Corbett to hunt down such animals, and he would track them down, sometimes alone (accompanied by his dog) and hunt them down.

These were the days before modern vehicles, so moving between places and through the forests would take a fair amount of time to do. This book is the last such book written by Corbett of his adventures, culminating in the last terrific tale of his quest to kill the Talla Des Man-Eater. The stories have vivid descriptions of the forest, as well as of the rural Indian societies of these remote villages and small towns.
Reading these books will almost give you the feel that you are along with him, and able to get inside the minds of the big killer cats, and you learn to appreciate these huge animals, as well as the reasons why they do need to be killed. You also get to read interesting tidbits such as the superstitions among the people inhabiting those areas.

The Temple Tiger and More Man-Eaters of Kumaon, written by Jim Corbett and published in 1954

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