Season Round Up: Jim Corbett
Every year when the gates of Corbett close it feels as though a long journey has come to an end and a sense of nostalgia and a rush of emotions begin to build up within you. This period gives the park its time to rejuvenate itself and the tourists time to look back at what a wonderful journey they have been on.
Welcome to Corbett, the land of the elusive. A place full of suspense and mystery. The season of 2015/16 was a brilliant one for the tiger reserve, sightings were on a record high and tigers were being sighted all over the place, new younger tigers were being sighted as well as the older well-known tigers of the reserve. Regular sightings occurring in every zone of the tiger reserve simply showed how well the ecosystem was going. Sightings in all 5 zones of the reserve made sure that the park was packed with tourism throughout the year.
The new Dhela eco-tourism zone turned out to be a super hit with frequent sightings of 2 dominant female tigresses each with cubs, apart from this sighting of a massive male tiger also occurred. Further down from Dhela, the Jhirna zone of the tiger reserve boasted sightings as a new female with cubs was sighted in the area, the family gave many sightings throughout the course of the season. Apart from only tigers reports of sightings of the elusive sloth bear as well as the rarely sighted leopard, Jhirna continued to impress with sightings of a massive number of birds some of which people were unable to see in other zones of Corbett.
As everyone expected Dhikala impressed from the very beginning sightings in all areas of the zone kept
all the different regions of the area packed. The main road proved to be a hotspot for sightings and more often than not tourists were sighting tigers in the sub-divisions of the zone which come on the way while on the two-hour drive such as Sultan, Gairal, Sarpdulli and Khinanauli all touching the main road flourishing with wildlife. For a second year in a row the Nadipaar region of the zone proved to be a hotspot for sightings, the famous tigress from the area commonly known as Parwaali had given birth to a litter of two tiny cubs. This attracted a lot of attention from many tourists all across the country, sadly the untimely disappearance of the cubs struck a blow in the hearts of many, fortunately, this did not affect the sightings and movement of the female and everything continued the way it was going. Across the river lies the famed grassland of Dhikala, which is famous for its tiger and elephant movement, regular sightings of the female from the area occurred. So much so that at the end of the season she was expected to be nursing young cubs. The ever-so-shy male from the grasslands was sighted all across the area.
The new addition of Sambhar Road proved to be excellent for sightings. After a terrible year at Sambhar Road last year the complete opposite occurred this year, sightings in almost every safari ride by at least one car were occurring. The addition of the new roads made the ever-so-rare river crossing of the Ramganga a common occurrence and again the tigress from Par graced tourists with her presence on the famous road. Apart from tigers the elephant movement on the road was unmatched, it was one of the best years for elephant photography truly displaying the essence of the land of the roar, trumpet and song. Due to the scarcity of water in the grassland, the pachyderms stayed in Sambhar Road offering some amazing photo opportunities for photographers. Regular sightings of the ever so rare leopard cat made Sambhar Road a spot to be at.
One of the most photographed and famed tigresses of Corbett Sharmili of Bijrani had many expectations surrounding her and her litter of four by now completely adult cubs. The family displayed some incredible tiger behaviour starting with the tigress from the Ringora area pushing into the heart of Sharmilli’s territory, competition from her daughters also made it hard for her but towards the end of the season, the grand old dame of Bijrani displayed her dominance to the truest form. Her two sons rapidly growing in size made sure that no other male tiger had a chance in the zone. The ever-growing cubs of the Ringora female also gave sightings to tourists that visited the area, and this tigress unlike any well-known tourist zone tiger truly displayed the wildness that Corbett has and the elusive nature that the reserves tigers possess.
Each year the 15th of June marks the end of a journey, yet we wait in anticipation of what is to come, of the surprises that lie ahead and slowly that wait becomes a reality and the gates reopen and new stories are told.