From childhood, Jim Corbett, who was born in India in 1875, was at one with the jungles, an expert "shikari" and an excellent shot, killing his first leopard when he was eight. Tigers were his most sought-after prey but, in time, he began to turn towards conservation. From the mid-1920s, he ceased to shoot tigers for sport: instead he photographed them. He did not stop killing tigers altogether: he still hunted - but man-eaters. In old age, Corbett became world famous for his stories about his exploits: his best-known book, "Man-eaters of Kumaon", told of his adventures against these dangerous, pathetic creatures reduced to killing humans because age or infirmity, often caused by sportsmen's ill-aimed bullets, prevented them from taking their natural prey. In 1936, Corbett was instrumental in the establishment of the first Indian tiger reserve, possibly the world's first big-game 'park'. For the rest of his life, he was dedicated to the preservation of wildlife. This is the story of a hunter-turned conservator and a typical 'domiciled' Englishman in India. It is also a tale of courage, of a deep love for India and her people, and a dedication to natural beauty. To this day, Corbett is revered in northern India as a legendary holy figure who fought the devil in his disguise as a man-eating big cat, and his books on jungle lore and wildlife are also well-respected.
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About the Author Martin Booth is a novelist and film writer. His most recent novel is Hiroshima Joe.
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