A Different Guide to Corbett: Holistic, detailed, not just about the animals, but Flora and Fauna

A recent release on Jim Corbett Reservey by Rajesh Chaudhry and Vinesh Kumar is a refreshing change. It brings a new range of documentation that would help both the tourist, the professional and also the local community.

What do you feel is the distinguishing feature of your book? Is this in any way, a first of a kind?

This book is about the wildlife, about Corbett Tiger Reserve and its surrounding areas. The book covers, in fact all the popular aspects, which a visitor would like to observe or see, for example, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, butterflies, dragonflies, and then plants. The book also has a section that provides essential information to tourists on how to plan a trip. For example, there are several tourism zones in Corbett, these are eco-tourism zones. So, the book also provides the route map for these ecotourism zones. There are seven of them, and visuals and landscapes of each tourism zone as well as what are expectations. I mean, what kind of animals, landscape, and other things that are easily cited. The book is unique in the sense that the book is taking a holistic approach and not just describing tigers and elephants.

What was your idea of working upon it? Is there another book like this already?

No, there is no book on a particular Tiger Reserve. There are one or two similar books which talk about wildlife and a larger landscape. For example, there is a book called Central Wildlife in Central Asia by David Raju. There is another one, with a landscape approach. This book actually talks about a particular forest, a particular jungle.

And you have taken a holistic approach in terms of what all to see, what all exactly wildlife, flora, fauna, all that can be found. And, also in terms of a tourist experience?

Exactly. And in the starting chapter, we are basically also describing the physical setting, the historical background of Corbett. And then we have also explained something about nomenclature, a bit about biodiversity, how to preserve, why to preserve. And then inside the book there are about 700 species, which we have included. And each species has been given a key, how to identify the species in simple words, simple language. And then we have also added a few animals, which are known as ecosystem engineers, for example, dung beetle, termites, just to explain how they are important for the entire ecosystem. These animals by virtue of living and creating a habitat, they make habit habitat for other animals as well.

So, would you say that your book is, or your concern as an author, has been equally about environment protection?

Exactly. Exactly.

For how long have you been into wildlife viewing?

At least for past 12-13 years, yes, actively in wild places. And then I was observing wildlife in Delhi for another 10 years.

And what kindled or ignited your interest in wildlife?

Frankly speaking, I’m a zoologist. In fact, I did my BSc in Zoology from Hans Raj College. And then at that time only, I was also active in wildlife matters. And I think from there it all started. At that time there used to be a book by Toby Sinclair – Wildlife in India; this book I got from my then teacher. And I read it. And that is where I actually got hooked onto wildlife.

How long did it take you to put this book together?

Yeah, we started our work sometime in 2015-16. We surveyed continuously, in fact, for five to six years. And after five to six years, we came out with the data and so-called observations.

DI: These photographs, have they been taken by you?

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Most of them have been taken by us, but yes, there are certain photographs which have been taken from contributors which have been acknowledged. And these images, most of them, are from Corbett Tiger Reserve.

During these last few years, that you’ve been working on the book, have you noticed any changes happening in Corbett?

Lots of tourist activity has increased outside the tiger reserve. I would say at the boundary of Corbett Tiger Reserve, lots of small structures like local tea shops have come.

But that is not disturbing the habitat?

I don’t think that will not disturb. It is outside the boundary. It could be a passage for the animals from one part of the forest to another forest. So, in that way it will have some affect. The traffic has increased on the roads, in fact. These can be spoilt sports for wildlife if not checked.

But tourist activity otherwise is much more because in the sense, so many more hotels have come up.

Yes, many hotels have come up and people have started exploring their weekends at such areas. Adventure tourism and interest in wildlife is certainly increasing.

You had a formal book launch two days ago at the WWF facility. How was the book received?

I hope it is well received. It is going steadily, actually. We did get a good word on that day. Overall, it seems to be doing well.

DI: Any feedback that you have received that you may like to share?

Basically, the main suggestion at the book launch was that we should also write a Hindi version of this. So that it’ll be also useful for local people and it will further penetrate in the deeper areas  and reach those people who are living close to Corbett Tiger Reserve and that will be the real use of the book. So, we are looking into this.


Rajesh Chaudhry and Vinesh Kumar are the co-authors of this book, Corbett Tiger Reserve, an extensively researched guide to all that you need to know about the sanctuary. They are Delhi based. The book has been published by Niyogi Book. Prices at Rs. 1495/-

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