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A cool breeze blew over the lush Indian forest. Jim Corbett was being hunted. The tigress that stalked him was already credited with at least sixty-four human kills, and Corbett hoped that he was targeted to be next. Jim leaned against the rocky slope of a nearby hill and lit a cigarette. The Chowgrath Tigress had already sneaked up on him once in this grove, and he tried to give her the chance to do so again. As the afternoon waned, however, Corbett decided that she was too canny to try the same trick twice.
He opted to lay one last trap for his adversary before the sunlight failed. He led a buffalo into the grove, and tied it up securely as it grazed. If the tigress took the bait she would be able to kill the animal, but would be unable to drag it off. His intent was to circle behind the nearby hill, climb to the top, and give watch to the grove below. It would be a shot of over two hundred yards, but over the years he had felled many a beast from such distances. Even if his long-range shot only managed to wound the man-eating tigress, he would at least be left with a blood-trail to track, and therefore end his months-long hunt.
He set off at a quick pace, anticipating that the tigress would observe his departure and take the opportunity to prey upon the buffalo. As he rounded the hill in a dry riverbed his pace wasn’t so hard as to shut out all distraction: in a shallow depression there rested a pair of Rock-jay eggs. As an amateur oölogist, or egg collector, Corbett could not pass up these unusual specimens. He used some moss to wrap them up, and carried the eggs delicately against his belly with his rifle crossed over his chest. He continued briskly along the sand, hoping to make it to the hilltop before the tigress finished her buffalo feast. As he squeezed past a large boulder which blocked most of the riverbed, something in his peripheral vision gave him pause: something orange and black, with a predator’s eyes, poised behind the boulder and ready to pounce. In that instant he knew he had been outmaneuvered. With his hands full of Rock-jay eggs, and his rifle hugged against his body, there wasn’t much he could do to deflect the imminent attack. He turned his step into an anti-clockwise spin, set the rifle butt against his hip, and managed to fire a single shot.
For a moment the tiger was unaffected, and stayed coiled on the verge of springing out. Then her muscles slacked and her head came down to rest on her forepaws. The bullet had entered the back of her neck, and plunged through to her heart. After ensuring that the Chowgrath Tigress was indeed dead, he returned the way he’d come, and believing he couldn’t have made that improbable shot without the eggs in hand, he returned them to the nest. It was the least he could do.
Edward James Corbett was born in July of 1875, in Kumaon, India at the foot of the Himalayan Mountains. He was the penultimate of 9 children born to Irish parents, and from the day he was allowed to walk to school on his own, he began taking long excursions through the jungles of India. He taught himself to mimic the sounds of the forest, to track wildlife, and to watch for warnings. When night would fall, he had no fear of sleeping anywhere in the wild with only a small campfire for company. On one such trek, Corbett followed a meager trail and pushed through a plum bush only to catch the attention of the tiger napping inside. The tiger stepped from cover, and gave him a look that conveyed a message he interpreted as, “Hello, kid, what the hell are you doing here?” Even in those days Corbett didn’t fear tigers. He believed that a tiger was keen to leave humans alone and keep to their own business.
As a young adult, Corbett was drawn in with the big-game hunting crowd. He often accompanied a notorious poacher on illegal hunts where Corbett was educated on the intricacies of India’s big cats. He developed into a masterful hunter, learning to read the environment by observing the forest creatures’ reactions to unseen threats. At the age of 18, however, Corbett found more gainful employ with the railways. His work allowed him to travel much of the country and learn various dialects. In 1906, Corbett’s uncanny hunting skills were called into action once more when a friend and fellow hunter contacted him with an opportunity to use his powers for good instead of evil: to hunt the infamous the Champawat Tiger.
The Champawat Tiger was already credited with 200 human deaths in Nepal before the army drove her out. In India the tigress took another 234 lives. Many had sought her, some claimed to have shot her, but her reign continued unabated. After much personal debate, Corbett approached the ministry, and informed them that he would hunt the Champawat Tiger, but only under his terms: all the rewards for the tiger’s kill were to be rescinded, and all other hunters to be recalled. The ministry agreed. During the months that Corbett tracked her, she continued to prey upon the hapless citizenry. When Corbett’s well-placed shot finally felled the formidable beast, he discovered the reason for her diet of tender human flesh: she had been shot in the mouth some years earlier, thereby destroying her teeth beyond use on her natural prey.
Thereafter requests from villages, cities, or even the parliament began in earnest, often reading something like “We, the public, venture to suggest that you very kindly take trouble to come to this place and shoot this tiger and save the public from this calamity. For this act of kindness the public will be highly obliged and will pray for your long life and prosperity.” Corbett never sought payment or a bounty for his services, regardless the risk to himself.
One such public calamity was the Rudraprayag Leopard. This animal was said to have a fearlessness which allowed it to push through doors or windows, and on at least one occasion, to claw through a wall. For eight years villagers between Kedarnath and Badrinath dared not venture out after nightfall, but despite their caution the Rudraprayag Leopard made meals of 125 people. After months of stalking, Corbett marked one of the leopard’s favorite trails, set a goat as bait, and climbed into a mango tree. There Corbett spent ten nights, with only the anxious murmurs of the landscape hinting at the leopard’s proximity. Just before midnight on the eleventh evening, he heard the distinct clamor of the goat’s bell, and snapped on his weak flashlight. The beam caught a flash of pale fur, and a single shot rang out from the mango tree. The leopard disappeared into the gloom. Five hours later, when the clouds broke, Corbett left the safety of his tree to investigate. There in the silver light of the moon, he found the man-eating Rudraprayag Leopard dead.. He took no joy from the kill; the leopard’s crimes were “not against the laws of nature,” Corbett lamented, “but against the laws of man.”
After having killed the Chowgrath Tigress with a one-handed shot, Corbett found that she was afflicted by a collection of porcupine quills in her right foreleg. Unlike most punctures, a porcupine’s quill will not dissolve, and after years of having the quills embedded the wound was so deteriorated that the tiger’s muscle was rotted, and the bones cratered with signs of infection. Most of the big cats taken by Corbett were also assigned a reason for having become man-eaters. Between 1907 and 1938, Corbett killed a dozen large cats who were collectively blamed for more than 1,500 human deaths. While being hailed as India’s most celebrated hunter of man-eaters, Corbett developed a vast respect for tigers and leopards. Years spent stalking intelligent and powerful predators through the forests convinced him that these were graceful creatures that deserved respect. Even these man-eaters held his respect, for he understood that they were merely adapting to their desperate circumstances. “The stress of circumstances is, in nine cases out of ten, wounds, and in the tenth case old age,” Corbett once wrote, “Human beings are not the natural prey of tigers, and it is only when tigers have been incapacitated through wounds or old age that, in order to survive, they are compelled to take to a diet of human flesh.” Indeed, Corbett admired the wild tiger as “a large-hearted gentleman with boundless courage”, and he urged India’s people to rally for the conservation of “the finest of her fauna.”
In a time when a hunter was measured for how many fearsome animals he could kill, Corbett exuded pride at never having killed a large cat for sport or financial gain. He refused even to hunt leopards which were often regarded as vermin at the time. “Those who have never seen a leopard,” he said, “can have no conception of the grace of movement, and beauty of colouring of this the most graceful and the most beautiful in our Indian jungles. Nor are his attractions limited to outward appearances, for pound for pound, his strength is second to none, and in courage he lacks nothing.” Corbett began lectures in various schools and nature societies with a message to protect the vanishing tiger and leopard populations. He referred to his youth as “days when there were ten tigers to every one that now survives.” Corbett aided in the organization of Hailey National Park, the Association for the Preservation of Game in the United Provinces, and the All-India Conference for the Preservation of Wild Life much to the dismay of the some of the sport-hunters that had called him friend over the years.
During the 1930s, Corbett’s hunt for India’s cats had turned almost exclusively to shooting them with a camera. No one was able to match Corbett’s knack for approaching tigers. On one expedition Corbett found that the clicking of his camera was disturbing his quarry, and therefore built a crude dam in a nearby creek so the burbling water would mask the sound.
When World War II began Corbett was 64 years old. He promptly volunteered to train Allied troops the skills of jungle survival. After the war Lieutenant Colonel Corbett retired to Kenya where his conservation efforts redoubled, and he penned six books before he passed away in 1955. Two years later, India’s first national park was renamed to The Corbett National Park. Visitors there often seek to spy a tiger in the wild. Although there are many tigers there, that particular park is unfortunately not home to Jim’s namesake: the Panthera tigris corbetti, also known as the Indochinese tiger, or Corbett’s tiger.
In 1875, there were more than 100,000 tigers in the world. In 2007 there was only one tiger alive for every fifteen that lived during Jim Corbett’s childhood. Had it not been for the intervention of this large-hearted gentleman, it is almost certain that there would be far fewer—if any—of these remarkable animals alive today.
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Poaching is hideous. Reminds me of a poaching video I saw on you tube of men hunting down a siberian tiger with trident spears and rifles. Sad.
Ooh, what an interesting story! It’s pleasant to hear of such a forward-thinking man. His ideas were well ahead of his time. DI, indeed.
HaHa!!! A Damn intersting story and a FIRST for me to be in the top 3!!! HaHa!!!!
I am excited to be here, I enjoy reading these so much!
This was a nice thing to read, considering the large disregard for “dangerous” animals at the time.
Keep up the good work!
No matter the topic: always interesting, always balanced, always insightful. This is the caliber of writing we all respect and enjoy.
Very nice piece. Sad to think that zoos and national parks will eventually become the sole abode for these (and other) amazing creatures in most countries they inhabit, and still there will be the inevitable poachers.
yeah, awesoe. seventh!
I find it to be an amazing quality that he was able to revere these jungle cats even though he was frequently their attempted prey. He would kill them, as was necessary, but seemed to have an extreme level of compassion for the circumstances that turned them to man-hunting. How wonderful. I may have to purchase one of his books, I’ll bet it would be a fascinating read!
Speaking of fascinating read, kudos Jason! Damn interesting, indeed.
DI, as always. In this day and age I find the subject of big game hunting deplorable, regardless of the alleged loss of human human life due to the prey. (I’d bet dollars for donuts that the greater portion of the deaths attributed to any of these big cats had other culprits.)
On the other hand, his attitude towards his deeds, considering the time frame in which he lived, is laudable.
Thanks for the article!
I don’t remember how I ran into this website but I’m glad I did. Great article! Thank you so much for such a great website.
humanity is garbage plain and simple, this man corbett is an example we all should follow. we destroy every thing we can with little regard for the future. now many of you read this and say hey im not garbage, yes… you are and so am I. regardless if it is our fault or not we drive cars destroy forests and fill the planet full of trash. the fucked up thing is that not one single human can even claim to not be a part of the problem. yep we sure are and intelligent creature.
OK. Someone has to say it. I guess I will. Jason, the article was not only Damned Interesting, it was G-R-R-R-R-E-A-T!!
When I was much younger my mother and I went through a phase of reading all about men who dealt with big cats, either as hunters or trainers. We read all of Jim Corbett’s books and they were instrumental in instilling a love of wild things, especially tigers, and a desire to help protect nature.
I’m gratified to see Jim Corbett as the subject of a DI article.
This is a very interesting and uplifting story.
Corbett seems to have been not only talented, but also rather ‘Big Hearted’, himself.
I plan to translate this story into Italian, this week, for my Term Project.
I’m sure the class will enjoy it, even if my translation is not perfect.
Thanks for the material; (I hope I don’t get into copyright trouble with DamnInteresting.com!)
I had heard of his hunt of the Champawat Tiger (which from the pictures in National Geographic, c. 1910, was a ligress, a lion-tiger crossbreed that grows to nearly double normal tiger size) and that both of her incisors (fangs) on one side had been broken such that she could no longer take down water buffalo (reportedly her preferred prey) but not that it was due to a previous bullet wound. As often here, more and better details.
Chowgarh, not Chowgrath.
This is not an accusation of any sort: I’ve read all Corbett’s books and I can see clearly that you have largely summarised his writing. If I am slightly disappointed its because I am used to much better stuff from you, more analysis or at least a perspective. However I recognise that my views are fully worth as much as you charged me to read your piece in the first place and notwithstanding my comments here, I remain an abiding fan. Thank you for such infotaining diversions.
Truly amazing read. I remember reading about him in my youth, but do not remember the details as provided in this article. As always, thanks for a thought provocing article.
And to GeorgeAR; couldn’t resist could you??? funny post!
I read that there are more big cats being raised illegally in the USA than there are anywhere else in the world. If you have a large farm and are able to keep your animal fed and constantly happy, I can see how you might be able to pull it off, but still…..
Wow. I wish more people had the fortitude, and personal integrity, that man did. He did what he considered right, and did not attach a dollar (Rupee? Pound?) amount to his actions.
However, some of the other folk’s comments were a bit puzzling to me.
So how did a lion get to India in the mid-1800’s to produce this hybrid? The swim from Africa to India is kind of long.
Since Bengal tigers are rather large to begin with – males average 400-500 lbs, females 300 lbs – “almost double normal” would make for an almost unbelievably large predator.
et al, ad nauseam, etc – we get the point.
Dude, you seriously need a cup of coffee, because the withdrawal thing just isn’t working for you. Eventually the headache does go away, but if need be I can send you a Starbucks gift card.
Argus sees all.
…way to go Snagglepuss. Exit….stage left!
DI my friend. I have only heard a little of Corbetts Hunting exploits. I’ve only read of his training soldiers. Fascinating man. Good choice of topics.keep up the good work.
Was the movie ‘The Ghost in the Darkness’ based on this guy?
In the movie it was a bridge builder, Lt. Col. John Patterson. Must be different…same time and place though. Great movie, great article
Just a few thoughts here, for a change! A good informative take it or leave it article with basically just the facts, I like these kind where the reader can draw all sorts of independent conclusions and ideas from just the facts. Great intellectual food!
From this a question arose, should we be repopulating these apex predators to our remote stongholds of our “new natural” world? We have been working hard dispatching all animals that could drag our family off and ourselves to be eaten. Not the natural order of things???
Lets see, unaware caveman enters territory of big hairy hungry animal, fight insues, hunger satisfied, life goes on; later, young Anthropologist wonders why only butt bone, head bone and one thumb found on site??? If we are to truly be keepers of the wild, then true predators must be allowed to be apart of the systems? If not, than nature is just an open Zoo where we go and see the pretty furry animals, eat our trail mix and see if we can get signal in the boonies.
I enjoy trying to imagine the turn of the century adventurist like this man and even Teddy Roosevelt to a certain degree. He probally found it hard to aim with that big of a silver spoon in his mouth. But being an outdoorsman doesnt mean you have to sacrifice station, manners or hygene, just means you have an appreciation and in part can relate, relax and enjoy some of the ancient feelings with nature most of us have deep within.
Good time to place God in the picture. I find it hard that surrrounded by natures beauty, energy and abounding life, that someone could without a doubt say that there exists no possibility that God can exist in any form or fashion anywhere in all of the wide, vast universe.?!!! It is OK not to like some Christians, the messengers are indeed flawed, but the message is divine and can be heard in a whisper in nature.
Yes, I get this from reading an article about a guy killing kitties in India…
Regarding the post from Two Cents from Girth; I very, very much hope that this will not lead to another argument about religion.
India has lions, in fact it is the only place left that you can find Asiatic lions in the wild.
Charles: Hey Harry, what happened to that nagging wife of yours?
Harry: She was after me to take the trash out again and wouldn’t you know it, that tiger got her.
I heart Corbett
“Human beings are not the natural prey of tigers”
I always ponder statements like this.
You often read similar things about lions and sharks, crocs, plus plenty of other top predators.
If moneys are eaten by big cats, why not humans?
Wild animals will do whatever they need to to survive – who’s to say what’s natural?
The only reason I can think of as to why we are not ‘natural’ prey is that animals have learned to avoid the cunning, reasoning hairless monkey that projects sharp things, perhaps over the course of millions of years.
I think statements like the above come about because we have seen ourselves as separate from nature for so long, and have marked ourselves as different. If an animal kills a human, it is seen as unnatural because we no longer consider ourselves part of nature.
Please forgive the rather disconnected thoughts above, I’m at the tail-end of a migraine.
If over the years more people had some respect for all the wildlife that was on this planet we would not have lost so many diverse species.In addition our own species may have learned to have some respect for themselves thereby elevating our own notch on the evolutionary scale.
What a great bloke!
I think you’re talking about “The Ghost AND the Darkness” and no, though it is a great movie, it has nothing to do with Corbett.
For one thing it is set in Africa not India, for another they are hunting lions instead of tigers.
The movie is based on a true story though: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsavo_maneaters
Sorry, wont be shamed about how things are… Did not really delve into Religon (such a messy word anymore)at all, I mentioned God! Faith, oneness, communing are a bit different from the generic downgrade of just “Religon” youd have me pettle. With a call name like Zenesque, surely I though you’d get the concept of being away from all the crap, being out in the outdoors far from the constraints of others, have a few moments to reconnect and recharge your outlook. Obviously, all these concepts transend the confines of a narrow term Religion…Very, very devisive and counterproductive huh? Even gave you or others an out with admitting Chrisitans are flawed… do you read or just really wanted to write that to feel sophisitcated and some what superior because someone has the fuzz to mention, oh heavens no, not here, God!?? As if one little sentence would stop all controversy in the besieged “new age mind”. hehehhe
If that is touchy for you, how about placing comments on the other 25 or so sentences instead of writing a half shaming/half warning sentence about a beautiful concept to a vast majority of people who associate with nature and God…??? Idiots, it is not science or God, one is a knowledge of the other. Each explains and compliments the other. Again, duhh…
Is this a new debate, no, will you finally have the true answeres revealed, probally not. Will I feel compelled not to write about this in the future, noooo. So what gets solved?
Just stick with the kitty cats and big men with guns concept if the pond doesnt run that deep…
Dont mean to offend, just a point of view :)
Another DI article! One nit-picking error you might want to edit:
“For eight years villagers between Kedarnath and Badrinath dared not venture out after nightfall, bit despite their caution the Rudraprayag Leopard made meals of 125 people.”
I’m sure you meant “but”, not “bit”….
This guy reminds me of Count VonLuckner “the Sea Devil”. If people could have the moral fiber of men such as these, the world would be a better place!
Wonderful story, Mr. Bellows. I must say that D.I. surprises me frequently, with both the variety and the depth of the stories. Very well-written.
Very DI – a true gentleman / sportsman.
Poor buffalo…poor goat… ;)
Three cheers to Jim Corbett!!!
There were times when Jim used to take some Indian guys along with him for carrying supplies. These guys would huddle together, frozen in fear when the goat’s bell started ringing…for here comes the Tigress!!!
Wow – DI article – as usual!
Two Cents From Girth, I fully endorse that people find and create their own views about the world. I just wish that every discussion could be conducted within its own context without including faith and the supernatural.
I have been reading DI for a long, long time and I always enjoy the articles. They are surprising, varied and intelligent. I enjoy the comments almost as much. The variety of people commenting on the articles is always a positive thing. It is important to get views from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
Nature is a large and complicated machine, of which the mankind is a part of. Nature has only the meaning and value that we personally project on it. If you feel that nature represents something larger than us, you are definitely not wrong.
I just find it a bit vexing that people always find the predators to be the most noble and brave in the animal kingdom. Lion, bear, eagle and wolf have always been venerated for their courage and strength. Even though animals always do only what they have to do to survive. There are no such concepts as courage or nobility in nature. The only thing that matters is the preservation of the genes of the individual.
Of course we want to identify with the most powerful individuals in nature and we project human qualities on those animals, but there is no way to quantify the value of life. Life and existence has only the meaning that we personally decide to stamp on it.
Very true Zenesque,
Some biologists would say unhampered nature is amoral. Simply, there are no feelings to the circle of life where predation is concerned. Yet, creatures play, my dog dreams, some mate for life and others mourn… very complex that world outside our cities is, very complex.
In amimism, many of the apex predators are symbols, totems and even clan names. Even the story of man in some tribes places “qualities” or traits on animals. Cunning of a Fox, Strength of a Bear etc etc. when we spend alot of time in the wild (wish I could spend more), we become aware of these animals in our midst and each enlists a feeling or reaction. I am sure a Tiger or other big animal on the prowl represents a terrifying danger to many who live exposed to those creatures that stalk jungle paths and lay in wait in the cover of darkness. I do not believe the creature to be bad or evil, just misguided in what it has learned to consider food. Old village addage, “Eat whatever you like, except me.” Not to be confused with the village that didnt get it quite right, “Eat whatever you want, accept me…”
Again a well written, no real slant article, refreshing to say the least.
Interesting thread Two Cents from Girth and Zenesque. I thought Old Man’s comment bore on this subject too. I find it hard to believe from an evolutionary viewpoint that all animals have a natural antipathy to contact with humans, however have seems this to be true, particularly for large animals. It has been too short a time for us to have effected all animals. To make that kind of impact we would have had to severly reduce the population of all animals, and there is no record of any such. I find a much easier to believe religious explainations such as from Genesis 9:2 as God talks with Noah after rescuing him from the Flood, “And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand.” (NKJV) I have had many years observing nature. I have probably spent about a thousand nights now in fairly wild places (North America has so few that are truely wild left, but I mean areas where one cannot see direct evidence of people). Nature can be beautiful and dangerous, but very few individual animals do not fear humans. I have not observed many species other than domesticated animals which do not fear people. Even some domesticated animals have a loathing for people they are not familiar with. Most wild animals get along with people by hiding. I am fortunate to live on the edge of a large green break in an urban area. I am just outside of the flood plain downstream of a minor lake used for drinking water. The stream valley here is about 2 km wide and about 10 km long until it runs into a major river. That river has a green belt around it for about 150 km as it goes through our urban area. Most people do not know that the wild life has adapted to such areas, because they hide well, but in the last five years I have watched 6 species of mega fauna and about 140 species of smaller fauna in our valley. Admittingly, my house is the last house in the suburban development that abutts the green area, so I have a good view from my yard (I do not consider this to be even fairly wild, I see my neighbors across the valley). To see much of anything, I have to sit still in my yard until the German Shepherd gets bored (that can take a while) then watch carefully.
I think Corbett loved the wild he lived in enough to respect it. That is enough reason to want to protect it. Still a nice article. Keep up the good writing. I have enjoyed this site for about two years now. Sometime I think the comments are more interesting than the DI stuff that inspired them, but it is hard to have intellegent and useful comments without well written stories. It was about time that I found a post worth signing up for and commenting on.
Somewhere in this set, there was a comment about trying to re-introduce mega-predators. It may be safer and better for the ecology to admit we are the dominate mega-predator and set up rules so we can do our job for the ecology. Several years ago, I was in southern Illinois. Hunting is illegal there. I saw a herd of white-tailed deer that must have been 50 individuals. They were more destructive when they passed through than the cattle that the local farmers raised. Locally, it has to be runt season for the deer to gather in more that 2’s or 3’s. The largest I have seen locally was a harem of 7. That is a more natural size. The difference is predation. Locally, man is the dominate hunter, and the local balance is about what nature provided. The deer are not destructive here. The local ranchers keep their cattle thin enough that they do not destroy the enironment either. They know they will pass this land on to their sons and daughters, so they preserve it. Ownership of the land without debt makes that possible. They do not have to make huge amounts of money to make a living, so do not feel pressure to have an ever expanding income, which might tempt them into un-sustainable practices.
Zenesque, I find the bravest of animals is not the top predator (he has nothing to fear), but the fastest breeding herbivore who goes to feed on the grass of the plain, even though they know a predator is lurking nearby. They have reason to fear, yet they feed in plane sight anyway. Bravery is doing what you need to do, dispite the fear. Only fools are not afraid when there is reason to be afraid. Some mice and hares may be fools, but they do not live as long.
Sorry about the size of the post, my students think I get long winded too.
If anyone is interested, I found a free, full-text version of Maneaters of Kumaon here:
would anyone care to reccommend one of his books? i think i might like to read his work…
oh my, i should have read more carefully! ill start here :)
I have read and re-read Corbett’s works repeatedly over the past 40 years. My dog, Robin, was named for his dog, to remind me of the type of person I want to be.
On a superficial level, the stories are great adventures. I can still recall, at the age of 13, first reading his account of sliding that gully and finding he was alone with the man eater, and that any sudden movement would be his last.
With age, I came to seem more in the books: Mr. Corbett doesn’t boast about his accomplishments; he doesn’t seek or accept awards. He does a dirty, dangerous job because it needs to be done, because he has the skills to do it, and because he was clearly devoted to the people he sought to protect. The humanity, humility and devotion on every page of every book is astonishing.
Must reads, but sadly hard to find. I’ve been trying to find “Tree Tops” and “My India” for years now.
Really? I seen a listing for most if not all his works not too long ago.
Try these links
If the links fail to get you to the book page. Then goto http://www.alibris.com and in the upper left corner select books, enter title (my India), enter author (Corbett). I found both titles here and available.
As I mentioned in another thread, I myself had a chance encounter with a Wild Bengal Tiger. Playing the tourist, I was attempting to get a nice shot of some Jungle Foliage. Oblivious to my surroundings, my eye was plastered to the view finder of my 35 mm as I backed up. That was when I tripped over what must have been a snoozing animal. Imagine my surprise when it (not sure of the sex since I did not bother to inspect or stick around to verify) turned to see what was laying across its back.
With a deep grumble, the tiger raised one lip exposing some mighty nasty looking ivories. I flipped over backwards to clear my knees from its back, and then slowly moved away keeping my eyes on the ground while keeping the animal in my peripheral vision. All it did was huff in my direction, flip the end of its tail like any irritated cat as it flexed those boxing glove sized fore paws exposing amazingly long and very lethal looking claws.
Needless to say, I returned posthaste back to the group ever fearful the beast would change its mind and come after me. Luckily for me it did not. Our guide was surprised at my story and figured that it must have recently feasted, or Sheba was watching over me that day.
That was a rush that I wish to never experience again. They are very majestic when one views them at the zoo, but in the wild, that is an experience without equal. On a one-to-one basis, well, I trembled from adrenalin overload for almost an hour and do not recommend it. ;)
I do recommend a photo safari shoot though, very exciting and enjoyable!
Quickbaby and Titus, I would recommend getting a hold of the omnibus. This spans his hunting career and also includes other observations and autobiographical anecdotes. It won’t give you a true perspective of his growth and evolution over time because they were all written after his active career had ended, so what you get are not snapshots but his reflections as he looks back upon his life. But I agree with Titus that he is a pleasure to read. Kenneth Anderson, another deserving and more recent hunter (but this time in the south of India), though he was known to be great raconteur never matched Corbett’s popularity because he was not as comfortable an author.
Radiatidon, incredible story! While its possible the cat had recently eaten its also a factor that it must not have considered you a threat. I’m most intrigued that you were able, albeit unwittingly, to sneak up on it to the point of tripping over it. Whatever the case, few animals kill randomly, it takes too much energy. They kill to eat. They kill to defend themselves. They kill to eliminate competition. And yes, on rare occasions they do kill for sport. Now if the cat was in hunting mode, whether for nourishment or sport it would not have been lying around. That it allowed you to blunder in to it means it was probably incredulous and just watching to see how close you were actually going to come! Someone else commented earlier there is no nobility in animals. This derives from the homo-centric view that animals don’t have emotions, nor a sense of self nor any concept of the impeding. Clearly anyone who’s owned a pet will tell you this is not true, its what we say to make ourselves feel better about the cattle in the stockyard. I think that cat was just curious to see what you would do!
Oops. I meant to say impending, not impeding.
No need to apologize for the size of the post, but I’m not sure why you thought hunting was illegal in southern Illinois. I know several people who hunt there regularly, especially deer. Can’t use centerfire rifles, but shotgun, muzzleloader, and archery hunting of deer is very popular there. Handgun hunting, too, I believe.
very good and as always interesting article…
Argus, as IDY said, lions are Still present in India, if not in substantial numbers, at least partly due to the efforts of the subject of this article. Most people are not aware that lions have been a common feature of almost all places humans lived until quite recently (ie., until the common availability of guns or long- or crossbows of sufficient power). In fact, some anthropoligists and archeologists claim that humans and their predecessor species emerged from Africa largely due to following the lions and tigers to scavenge from their kills.
The last European lions are thought to have been killed around 100 AD, primarily at the hands of the Romans. The Middle Eastern lion (now thought to have been the same sub-species as the Asian lion) was killed in, roughly, 1300 AD. Even North and South America had lions until the general large-animal die-off around 10,000 years ago (coincident with large numbers of humans moving in; although many try to downplay any direct connection). For a good general reference, wikipedia has the basics: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lion Several excellent books are also available. If anyone is interested, I will check with my biologist friends for titles.
Lions and tigers are very closely related species, in the same way as donkeys, zebras and horses are. Wild crossbreeds are rare (due mainly to low overlap in ranges) but not unknown. There is at least one group in the US that intentionally breeds ligers for show appearances. The converse crossbreed, called a Tion, is generally around the size of a large collie, but with the attitude of a full-sized Serengeti lion. I am told they make great pets and house guards as long as you keep them well-fed and have no free-roaming small cats or dogs nearby … those tend to look too much like prey and go missing.
Ligers are indeed huge creatures, with body lengths that start in the range of two meters or more. I have seen one stretch up to scratch a tree trunk over twelve feet (nearly four meters) above the ground! 700 pounds (~320 kg) and up is considered normal for them. Like mules, they are not fertile so far as I have heard. Their appetite is in proportion to mass and a 25+ kilogram meal is apparently not unusual.
DI – If only more people could be like Mr. Corbett maybe we would have more of those extinct species around today. In response to re-seeding nature with the close to extinct super-predators, I say it’s a good idea. They were around long before us, and it was wrong to hunt them to near extinction or extinction. If we don’t take care of the animals on our planet and our planet itself, no one is.
sid, my source was the farmer that hosted me. The law could have changed in the past decade. He was actively campaigning to get it changed at that time. He could have been simplifying for the ‘city slicker’. Deer were destroying his ability to make money raising cattle. He had an obvious bias. I commented about the deer. He was grousing about the deer, and the ecological imbalance that the legislature had put on things. I could see the changes that deer had done to the area, though. There were no small trees or bushes. There were no limbs on any tree less than 7 to 8 feet from the ground. It made the creeks look like parks. Here, the herbivores leave something to hide in.
Sounds like he just wanted to be able to kill more deer, and exaggerated a bit. Not that I can blame him, though. Most states have too many deer. I don’t think there was ever a prohibition on hunting deer in southern Illinois, but when there are clearly too many, and they are causing damage to your property and livelihood, it sure may seem that way.
I can add some additional insight/flavor to this bit of info. Illinois is a strange state regarding guns in my opinion and here is why I feel that way: In Chicago you have a whole set of circumstances where gangs and school kids shoot each other and they want to ban hand guns, but in downstate IL you have a lot of rural environments where police, 911, and grocery stores aren’t readily available and it’s much more of a do it yourself way of life for some people. If you tried to live that way in Chicago you’d either be a homeless person feasting on pigeons or some variation of the Unibomber, but in downstate IL it’s less unusual. What I find so strange is that it’s one state, but with two very different environments, circumstances, and attitudes toward guns. I say this because I’ve lived in both areas.
I grew up eating deer, dove, pheasant, squirrell, quail, rabbit, turtle, duck, goose, and just about anything else that had a hunting season. The farmer’s attitude was those deer eat my corn, I’m going to eat them. My family didn’t kill any animals that they didn’t want to eat. It was more of a cultural thing I guess. My Dad took the Native American aspects of his heritage seriously, and plus he was pretty good at hunting. I can’t say that the level to which I was exposed to that sort of thing was normal, but it was more like a time warp where I was raised with the values of a few generations prior to mine instead of being current with the times.
I can’t speak for all but just my own experience… those that hunted in my family were far more interested in cooking and eating what they killed rather than just the sport of it. I can’t see my Dad wanting to go hunt any type of big game without thinking about how to butcher it to turn it into really good cuts of meat and really good sausage. If you’re of any sort of Native American background and you hunt it’s almost like a cultural thing. But then again, it might have been cultural for some people to hunt tigers to near extinction. What’s strange to me about tiger, elephant, rhino hunting and the like is that they don’t really eat these animals, and it kind of seems like a waste.
Those who hate the idea of killing Bambi I bet you hate everything I just wrote, but I’m not trying to be defensive of my family or anything, I’m just trying to share my experience because maybe not a lot of people reading this will have a perspective like that? I don’t know. I try really hard to understand the other side, too. I really like a lot of vegan food, and I don’t dis their views at all. However, I agree with a lot of that based on the idea that we are killing the earth and let’s take from the vegans the good nuggets that will help preserve the planet.
What I don’t relate to as much is the outrage over killing Bambi and Thumper, etc. because I grew up with eating them as a way of life. It is strange to try to explain it because if you are a city person you may see that as violent, and relate killing to the shootings that go on in an urban environment like Chicago. However, from my experience it’s not really like that. It’s more about the grocery store is 25 miles from here, and I’d rather find my own food. That is a totally different wavelength than a gang shooting. Does that make sense? Am I explaning this well? I’m trying to get to the heart of why sometimes people within these different schools of thought don’t always understand one another.
Also too, a question I have regarding some vegetarian non-hunting types of views is how far can we take this outrage? For example, can you see someone saying HOW DARE you pull that poor defenseless onion out of the garden? You should let it live and just take an onion supplement with your food to spare the life of this poor defenseless living plant! As humans, I’m sure there will come a day when this will be a viable choice and viewpoint. My question is: should we go there? Are there any Corbetts out there stalking killer plants for the good of innocent civillians?
I thought you used good insight into the differing trains of thought our country has about Food, Glorious food! It is sometimes difficult not to buy into the ultraconvience of food gathering whether we shop at Whole Foods or Wal MArt. In the last 50 or so years, our food gathering has become more distanced from the source with world wide distribution and transportation. There are many millions who strive to serve and deliver every day (thank you) so we can drive in comfort to our local “got it all” grocery store, spend thirty minutes picking and choosing; then zoom off to the next ultraconvient task, all the while thinking we are really efficent and handling these “difficult” tasks of the day to day well… Our “chores” today are a joke compared to 50-100 years ago. Many brilliant minds have made our day to day tasks very convient and when we get wrapped up in this bubble of the “modern world”, it becomes easy, almost expected to divorice ourselves from the viewpoints of our elders values and the ways of the outdoors.
Explaining hunting and respect for prey using the Native Americans way of life has its merits, but I see many of them in WalMart these days bouncing around the bubble as most Americans do. The older ways of the Indian as well as some of the Pioneers, Explorers and Settlers all viewed nature with a profound reverence. God and Nature held (hold) sway over life and death and their exposure to that cycle was a daily, up close and personel way of life; that was their bubble of existance. I like to believe, as my Father before me, that alot of what surrounds us in the city is artifical and I could survive without out it if need be. This is a source of inner strength to know you can have a wide range of possibilities where obtaining sustanence is concerned and the frills of “modern society” can be dispensed with and life would still go on.
A big factor about being in the outdoors is based on the imagination asking what if…
What if we were thrust into this environment for a week or two and had to survive? A plane crash for instance or getting lost etc. Another is what if things in society were altered in a rapid fashion and food gathering took top priority? What if we actually got tired of eating the hormone filled and processed junk that we call food and just wanted some to taste the way it should? (that one happens to me quite often, especially in the fall)
I will let you in on a little secret, if WalMArt had (a quote/shopping list from Supercal) “deer, dove, pheasant, squirrell, quail, rabbit, turtle, duck, goose, and just about anything else that had a hunting season.” I’d probally put the guns up. These are personal choices and views on life that granted are probally taught. Obviously, those views would be passed down, they sure wouldnt be taught in schools, in the city or at the grocery store. When it comes to food and the food chain, I know I am not a grazer like the rabbits, I am a apex predator in most environmets. Exception would be on lets say Kodiak Island where I become a robust snack or in the ocean where I may become an exotic meal. Two of my greatest fears, getting eaten by a Shark, a product of Jaws, and that little piece of sea weed that makes my mind think that the 20 foot Great White is only inches from my toes. :)
What I dont understand is the rift between people when it comes to food… If guests eat greens, make them a salad and enjoy that and some meat. If they take offence with your own food choice, it becomes clear that their food choice has become a religon/cult to them and a clear line between your values and their values should be made clear, no big deal.
To harp and shutter at foods such as Bambi and Thumper is usaully a ploy to enlist or prove compassion or emotional drama and the start of a purely emotional based discussion which as you know is like politics, a long road to no where. To think a hunter is a cold blooded killer with no feelings of the prey is as a narrow and incorrect an arguement as I can think of.
Again proving that most who have come to that conclusion have never took the time to test the theory only observed and listened to the arguements from the school desk, booth at Denny’s or on Campus. Those times and moments in the woods have helped define and shape many a persons life and outlook on the world, apart from this bubble. I’d ask who are you outside of the urban bubble which has been provided for you… away from internet, tv, coffee bars, Wal MArt, Freeways, movie theatres, shopping malls, bars and heated homes??? We seem to have identities for all those places, do you have one for the outdoors or even the wild? Perhaps what stirs within us is the “real” us when we are apart from our streets of gold.
In closing, I will attempt to address one of Supercals concerns is based off of this quote “Are there any Corbetts out there stalking killer plants for the good of innocent civillians?”
Yes, currently there are training groups already here in this country, honing their skills to one day defend against flora gone wild. We have seen their work in many places as they have stamped out some of those unruly organisms or were just on maneuvers. They prefer to keep a low profile and are often misunderstood. See the true origins of Crop Circles…
There is an elite squad, Kudzu Commandos, since deploying to the South, no word has been recieved, we fear the worst…
That is all I can tell you, I have said too much already.
That is hilarious, because I feel exactly the same way. I live about 45 minutes from the ocean, and pretty much refuse to go further than shin deep into the water.
killing for sport is a crime against nature and God.
it is abuse.
people that hunt for food is one thing. people that hunt for the “joy of the kill” make me sick.
I agree, I hunt for meat, not antlers, they are too hard to digest…
How about poachers? That is thrill seeking, joy of the kill behavior, lets deal with them and their bloodlust profits.
There is nothing wrong with being happy or excited about taking down a good animal after many hours of “work”, money, planning and vacation time has been invested. To find a sence of joy in killing an animal may seem a bit warped to someone outside the realm of a hunter, but there is a sadness felt by all when animals starve needlessly during the winter because the herd is overpopulated because we, the people, took most all the predators out of our version of “nature”. We cant have it both ways folks, either let it run its course and reintroduce the regulators or actively manage it.
I wont write “I get no pleasure in seeing an animal drop”, but it is mixed with a reverance and respect of that animals life. When those two combine, there is a somber moment laced with accomplishment and reflection. I balance those things before I pull the trigger and if they dont balance, I dont take the shot. Many a dinner has been given more time after being put in my cross hairs, that is the way of things in the hunting world. I, like many, including Radiation, have been spared by the “real” predators of the wild. You are never the same, in nature, once you are introduced to the “real” food chain. It is a good feeling to be apart of the power of life and death. First however, comes the training and responsibility…
A good bit of historical writing by Gibo Renfrack on #53. Our predators have themselves been hunted for centuries, out of regions at times for a justifiable fear. I believe the horseman of the Steppes dramatically changed his surroundings as well as the Romans who had a tendancy to mold all regions to their will in order to provide their version of security so business could prosper, sound familiar? Drawings, sculputers, trinkets of predators that have been unearthed in remote and varied parts of the world support the idea our localized predators once enjoyed a vast range, going where they pleased, eating what they pleased, doing as they pleased, sound familiar??
Radiatidon – Wow, you’re twice lucky! First for seeing the tiger, second for living to tell about it.
I recommend the book “Whatever you do, don’t run” by Peter Allison. He has a number of stories of close encounters with dangerous wildlife while working as a safari guide in Botswana. The title comes from the advice he was given when he arrived “Whatever you do, don’t run, only food runs. And there’s nothing here you can outrun anyway.”
How relative and subjective is everything in our conception of the World. Often, young educated people living in big cities tend to feel respect and admiration for wildlife. Commonly, nevertheless, young uneducated people living in small towns, rural areas, and jungles, tend to look at everything that moves on all fourths as nothing else than food. Even life itself is usually regarded differently depending on your culture and life style. Life tends to be really cheap in some parts of the World; sadly, I would say, in a considerable part of the World. The noble savage is just an impossible dream, we all are predators by nature and by nurture.
Having grown up in farm country, I admit to being a bit prejudiced, but I am convinced that everyone who eats should be given at least a good tour of a working farm by their early teens. Ideally, they should go to summer camp for a week at a site where there are farms on all sides and they are shown through and encouraged to ask questions. Any working farm, even if it primarily grows wheat, corn, rice or other crops, has a few animals on it that provide milk, meat, fibers (for making yarn and/or thread), hides (for the fleece and/or leather) and manure, which is generally a better fertilizer than anything you can buy in a store. They also provide more or less free lawn mowing if kept in the yard … :-)
That said, most city kids I’ve met have been convinced that there is a secret machine in the back of every grocery store that makes the meat and most other ‘foods’, popping them out already shrink-wrapped. Eventually, they learn what actually happens, but only in a distant and intelectual way. Seeing it yourself, smelling it (I can still identify the majority of livestock by smell from over a mile most times, more than thirty years after leaving the farms) and feeling the mushy ground under your shoe is a different world and contributes to a better and more informed world-view.
We humans ARE the main apex predator on Earth, whether we care to admit or not. Even the most fanatical vegans are unlikely to allow that tiger to eat their children; and if they do, they simply demonstrate unfitness and make sure they are breeding themselves out of the species. Better to admit it, accept it and operate within that reality than to try to deny it and screw up the planet worse than we already have.
Note that, like any predator, over-population will lead to wars (fights over ranges, prey and resources) and food shortages, with starvation and disease as inherent side-effects. We can reasonably support as many as 1 to 2 billion at the level of resources used in the ~West, perhaps a few more at rural Asian levels. In either case, nowhere Close to the numbers we have now without continual social and resource problems.
I did enjoy a certain amount of luck during that encounter. I was not so lucky in the Rockies. I was blind-sided by a Bull Elk. When I regained my senses, my hat was 50 yards up the hillside from where I lay. My radio suffered transmission lost due to an antler piercing. I could receive but not send, though I did not know it at the time. My coat and shirt were torn into strips on one side. I also suffered bruising and parallel scratches, like someone had drug a large fork across my ribs, under my right arm, and across my back.
There was a deep scratch across my right cheek and a nice purple bruise under the right eye. I was punch drunk with a concussion. But using instinct and deep woods survivor training I was able to stumble 5 miles back to the base camp.
Not the first encounter with an animal in which I was hurt. Then again, both my life interests and my job requirements placed me in these types of situations. ;)
I find this rather insulting Inti. I hail from a small town, yet I am considered highly intelligent and very respectful of animal life, be it wild or domesticated. I have also seen “big city educated people” getting hurt trying to pet the nice deer, or have junior stand next to the cool buffalo in National Parks for that perfect picture. I find it amusing that an animal/human incident story relates to who is telling it.
For instance there was a clash between a man and a buffalo. In the west it was related how a foolish tourist approached within the animal’s comfort zone trying to get that perfect picture. The creature attacked him defending its territory. Yet that same story as related on a radio program in Los Angeles said “the animal was dangerous and why do they foolishly allowed it to run loose in the national park”, as it was related to me by people I know who live there.
That same story was also shown on some program, I think it was called “When Animals Attack” or something like that. At one point the narrator commented that this rogue animal should have been removed from this family setting and properly confined in a zoo exhibit.
Uh, Yellowstone is a natural (somewhat) habitat, not Disney Land. Or am I missing something.
I also got into an argument with a woman who stated that people who hunt animals for meat are barbarous and of a low IQ. She proudly proclaimed what a humane conservationist, and intelligent person she was while standing there with a patent leather bag that matched her leather shoes, adjusting the calfskin gloves she wore. Meanwhile preparing to get into a bright red Lamborghini which, surprise, had fur-lined leather seats. Guess they grow ‘em natural like that at the factory, eh?
Ok, Radiatidon, I get your point, I perhaps should have rephrased my comment in a different way. The key may be education, it does not matter where and how you live until you have quality education on your hands, that kind of education that teaches us we need to protect nature in order to survive as a species. My key message was directed towards the many faces of human culture, and how the majority in this planet keeps ravaging over nature in disrespect of any sympathetic view for animal life. We are hunting primates, deeply inside our genetic background we thrive for blood and combat (I remember now a short story by Isaac Asimov about a race of hunting reptiles…). On other sense, poverty often comes by the hand of ignorance; this last dressed of disregard for life and justice.
That does have quite a few lopsided assumptions in it… I’ll skip picking it apart.
In #66 though: I agree, a persons place in Nature is taught through several sources. I think we fundamentally know what is good for the environment, but we comprimise and try to find a balance between Nature and our self interests… Family and friends can shape personal views on Nature. Formal Education can reinforce the values of Stewardship but falls short of actual hands on experience. For instance, I learned instantanious tree climbing ability from a momma Moose in Yellowstone when the calf drifted between my Dad and I and her. We were standing still and the calf let out a cry. The ground began to shake and she could really move for a big girl. Dad said run, I looked to see Dad making tracks! I looked back saw her charging and the next thing I remember, I was 12 feet up a tree. I swear that calf played the Momma and us that day, that calf was very happy, looked up and trotted away with the Momma in tow.
The first branch on that tree was 8 feet off the ground, I was 10…
It is amazing to see the different personalities in animals. Cows have these traits too with their comfort zone. Some are too friendly and others too skiddish, more times than not, the cows show the same mannerisms from day to day; after awhile you know which cows are flighty and which are too friendly. I am not rural or urban, I am a blend between the two and agree with Inti that in areas, we really have placed our needs in front of the environment and will wind up paying big time if we ruin our surroundings.
Food prices are coming to the forefront as energy supplies are dwindling and prices soaring. I havent heard a peep from farmers crying the old poor is me song in awhile :) Perhaps we should have an Urban Aid festival where Farmers, Red Necks and Country Folk perform music, host tractor pulls, live stock shows and honkey tonk ho downs to raise money for the poor city workers in danger of being foreclosed on??? A returning of the favor of sorts…
Hi 2 cents- Thanks so much for expanding the scope of some of my comments. I appreciated what you wrote very much and got a lot out of what you had to say. Your ideas and thoughts are really cool! This is such a fascinating discussion. I have a funny story that I think some of you will find entertaining. I also grew up on a farm, and within the last year I successfully stumped a city guy who thought he knew it all.
I went to a ritzy grocery store in Chicago awhile back called Fox & Obel where they have all of this organic and exotic food. They were giving out samples of “grass fed” beef. I tried it and it was okay, so I asked him why “grass fed” was better. Then he went into this sales pitch of how corn is not the natural food of cattle, and cows were fed corn only because there was a corn surplus back in the day and today all of the chemicals that are in the corn are killing us on the consumer end, etc.
Now, for all of you debaters out there I didn’t disagree with any of that, but I managed to ask him a question for which he was drastically unprepared. I said: So, if what a cow eats determines whether or not a person agrees to eat it, let me ask you this… Now there aren’t a whole lot of cows in the US that are just out running wild. Even if they are “free range” they are usually still in some type of large pasture or they are closely guarded by humans in some way. So, if a cow eats grass, cows also, um… relieve themselves in grass, too– and if a cow eats only grass… isn’t there an especially good chance that a cow could also be eating their own, well… you know?? (I think I used a pretty colorful term for this) Then I asked him if he thought that was more or less disgusting than feeding a cow corn or hay, etc. Man, I wish you DI folks could have seen the look on this guy’s face. His reaction was priceless!!!!
Sorry I am not contributing to the discussion, but one of the parts I love most about this website is the posts.
Radiatidon – sometimes I think you make up the stories you write in your posts. The only reason for this is because of the vast experiences you write about. But your intelligence level can only suggests you would not waste your time writing fake stories on a website.
I don’t mean this in an offensive way, although it is probably the only way it will come out. Your experiences are something I would like to strive for, but sadly never will. Kids, wife, work, personality, take your pick for an excuse. I will use all of them.
Anyways, the whole point to this stupid rant is, why don’t you consider being one of the writers for this website. Your intelligence and experience would make for an excellent author.
I have no affliation with the website, but I can’t imagine Alan would turn away such huge talent.
I have been a Corbett fan for more than 60 years and am a member of the Jim Corbett Society. An interesting event happened to Corbett late in his career. He was the wildlife guide at Tree Tops, an observatory in Kenya. In 1952, Princess Elizabeth paid a visit. While there, her father George VI died. Corbett told the tale as “The lady who climbed up the tree as a princess and came down as a queen!” Shortly before his death in 1955, Corbett completed the manuscript, Tree Tops, published by Oxford, India Paperbacks.
bookfinder.com has several copies of Tree Tops for sale for modest prices.
I do not see any separation between nature and mankind. It has been repeated again and again, but few seem to understand that there are no universal ethics. We cannot impose notions of good and evil, or right and wrong, on nature. Killing is just killing. The reasons for it are inconsequential. Death and rebirth is a constant process that changes our ecosystem. Causality does not depend on our moral delusions. Mankind is like a virus in that we are ultimately unable to inhibit ourselves. We will always value our own comfort, abundance and security more than we value the diversity and balance of the ecosystem, even if it leads to the total destruction of our biosphere. We are only concerned over the wellbeing of other species when it has direct and immediate consequences on our own wellbeing.
I do not mean to say that I am amoral, or that we should forsake morals. I mean to say that such matters have no rational solution. The universe is entirely arbitrary and indifferent. A thing is only good or bad in a particular context. As such, there are plenty of reasons to preserve nature, but there are also plenty of reasons to exploit nature. We will never get anywhere in a debate if we cling to notions of right and wrong.
Well thanks Supercal, funny story you must have caught him by surprise :)
We have been gifted with a large enough intellect to become stewards of the land; that in no way means we have mastered all the forces of Nature. I see what Zenesque is saying by there is no seperation between nature and mankind. We have attained a level of “relative” dominance in the food chain of Nature and have shaped our surroundings to benifit most of us; but are in no way completely immune to the raw forces of Nature even with all our technology and demands we place upon our surroundings.
There are a few absolutes in there like a few “always” I’d raise an eyebrow to but I think the basic premise of Nature not having had sensativity training, lives unencumbered by mans values and seems oblivious to good vs evil is accurate.
You speak of circumstances and things of which you know nothing. Your ignorance and generalization sicken me. I hate it when people theorize why people are poverty-stricken. Have you ever been homeless? Have you ever gone hungry? Have you ever seriously wondered when the next time you were going to eat was going to be? My guess is no, you probably haven’t. I have. Don’t believe ignorance is the only or even the most common cause of poverty, for that is true ignorance.
I suppose for some, ignorance is bliss. Although I agree with you Bleupea.
This was a great article. Unfortunately I’ve been forced to see it at the top of DamnInteresting’s site for quite some time now. I’ve seen the site go through many periods of “Sorry, no update because… here is a recycled article.” This time there is no explanation, no recycled article… just nothing for over two weeks :-(
Please! I need my DI fix!
The intellectual masses begin to stir… a low grumble rising into a whispered chant. The words”bring us more” starts to rise into the chamber, the stamping of feet begin to hammer out a thumping beat and the chat grows louder. The writers and readers look out to see hundereds lined up at the intellectual feast hall waiting for the next course. Some speculate as to the next article, others frantically check and recheck the site, all wait to read, all wait to write… In the interupted darkness outside the chamber: light seaps forth, the drum core beat and the voices of “bring us more” echo in the crisp Spring air heralding, the masses await…
I have wasted so much of my bandwidth checking for the new article! Where is it!?
Sorry for the prolonged delay, it’s entirely my fault. I grossly overloaded my work schedule this week and last, both to the detriment of my writing/editing time. I’m working on finishing an article even as we speak/type, but unfortunately I don’t work very rapidly at 3:00am, so it may be a few hours yet…
Alan, you rock my socks.
I will not take back my assertion that ignorance and poverty are intimately intertwined. The disregard for life, let’s say human life is often related to ignorance. On the other hand, relativism towards moral standards, the respect of wildlife for example, is in direct function of how hungry you are (i.e. poverty).
You don’t have to take back your “assertion that ignorance and poverty are intimately intertwined.” I have no intention of taking back my assertion that your ignorance astounds and sickens me. I don’t make comments on how people get rich because I haven’t been there and therefore have no knowledge of the subject, it is a shame that you feel the need to pretend to understand things that you simply have no understanding of. I suppose it makes you feel knowledgeable and superior, and if you need to make outlandish statements about poverty to feel special, go ahead.
There is a difference between being disrespectful of wildlife and acknowledging it as a delicious food source. Thanks to my husband, I have a freezer full of delicious deer meat, and I savor every bite. It would not surprise me if you found that disrespectful, but, to be truthful to you, your opinions mean no more to me than the ramblings of a drunk, nothing more than entertainment as I cannot find someone so ignorant and judgmental to be credible.
Thanks for your insults; they only provide me additional reasons to think I am in the correct path towards truth.
Why I think poverty and ignorance come together by the hand? There are many pieces of evidence around showing in mathematical accuracy how low levels of education are usually correlated to low levels of economical income per capita and vice versa. Often rich people has access to better education, and therefore to better jobs, this is nothing new, it just happens all the time. Better education, on the other hand, usually provides more opportunities for better jobs and hence better lives. Of course, correlation is not evidence of causation, but at least suggests a possible pattern of cause and effect. As anything related to the natural sciences, sociology and socioeconomics have exceptions, but these only serve as prove of the general laws.
I insult you simply because you insult me with your ignorance. Perhaps it is childish for me to do so, yet I do not care because I have an “How dare you!” attitude whenever someone who has never been poverty stricken assumes that outside observation will provide the answers as to why poverty is such a huge problem in the world. Every, and I emphasize EVERY, circumstance and situation is different with each family who has lived through poverty, and to assume that science or economics or anything of that sort can correctly identify the underlying cause to something with so many different variables is assanine.
I wouldn’t wish poverty on anyone, but I know if I have to go through it again, I’ll come out standing on the otherside, and not because of my education (I have my bachelor’s degree), or my career (I work in a law office), or my parents’ financial status (my father works for the government), but because I’m strong enough too. Better jobs mean nothing if you’re willing to work hard enough at the jobs that you do have. My father worked 2 jobs for the better part of his life, and was able to support his five children and his wife. It would have been nice had he had the opportunity to work one job and make the same amount, but he didn’t, so he did what he had to.
Its nice that you can make correlations, but there are far too many “exceptions” and variables to reasonably come upon any credible cause and effect scenario.
Hey guys :)
The chances of being impoverished and involved in criminal activity are higher if an education is not present, a fact.
However, having an education does not exclude an individual from falling on hard times and thus into poverty due to lifes little injustices/lessons/events and poor choices; from one who knows how hard the concrete of the street can be. Nor does it pardon a sucessful person from assuming the responsibilty of being there to help from time to time, because you can, just to give the down trodden a sence of hope and a quick dusting off, it does go along way for both involved. I am happy and proud not to be impoverished anymore and can honestly say I am stronger because of it. I would not recommend it to people, but if they survive it, I think they can always remember and smile when they see Rameen noodles :) I still sneak a pack or two every once and awhile.
Hard times can be good and if you need Nature to provide food, it can. I would say the way Inti implied/insinuated that hunters are not educated or of a poor class was not warrented nor can be easily proved, when referring to this society. You’ll find some nice weopons in the homes of the richest in this land and perhaps an old shotgun in the closet of the lowly, uneducated, country pauper. As with most vague insinuations the meaning can be changed or denied to preserve integrity, I understand…
I would agree with the positive part of his point, that poor people in underdeveloped countries have a closer tie to the land, practice sustanence farming, have domesticated herds and hunt the game of the land directly to survive. I am proud that the life I just described is only a distant option for us; instead of an unrelenting up close reality. The smugness we sometimes have is laughable, in the course of a few weeks, or months we could find ourselves knee deep trying to farm or hunting in the woods for the next meal. We have the luxury of having Wal MArts, Whole Foods insulate us from what oh about 60%?? of the rest of the world does on a daily basis… I am not insinuating anything here Inti, you came across like some yuppy fool who has never had to skip a meal, do a days work or worse, never been on a good hunt… :) Dont worry there is still time…for the last I mean.
Bleupea, easy girl, you’ll blow a gasket! You know there are people who dont want to play by the system and get an education, show up to work, strive for a good job and they wind up impoverished. I, like Inti, get frustrated paying for people who sit on their butt get a free ride then have the fuzzies to complain about the system. Of course the system is not fair, it sucks and demands sacrifice but Inti is correct in the fact I lose most of my respect for such people.
Those types are not ignorant, they have been shown, taught and live the example of what not to do, they are stupid and or stubborn. Ignorant would be living in a society that farms, hunts and herds and has been shown no other way. I am ignorant in many areas, not because of a lack of gray matter connections but in the fact I have never experienced those areas… I have no problem with an ignorant peasant, chances are they are happier than most of us and lead a simple, rewarding, honest life. My problem lies with those who are shown and do not live up to their potential. Do not let Inti fool you, being poor is not a sign of failure or a lack of sucess. Money in the bank is of a key importance but it is a tool, not a measure of oneself, lest you be trapped but the “its never enough” monster. People resigning themselves to poverty and passing the accoutability to others or to the system is a sign of failure which I personally despise, they quit on themselves…
Keep dreaming on vanilla skies, and holy heavens, but the universe is a cold and indifferent place. You cite me pitiful examples of personal growth and improvement. We know many great minds that went through hell to get into honorable pages of history, but overall what I have said about poverty and ignorance is truth. I am always bothered by people cherry picking absurd examples to counter well developed bodies of knowledge.
Inti, again you are being vague with your insinuations, not a very convincing way to debate when considering an audience… If you are refering to me, you have me mistaken for someone else. I dont dream, I have but now I am in my time of making tangible realities happen. I have seen and coexist within a portion of the universe in which you describe, but it is not a single plane based on the view of an individual, even a moron like me understands that.:)
Again, you make judgements as if you are an authority on the facets to which you describe.
I do agree in the ideal of what you are saying, but the expamples of poverty are very real, justified and exist within the bubble of the cold and indifferent portion of the universe within you refer. Again, you are correct, for many, the road to their glory is plagued with hard work and sacrifice, not blind luck and chance; but dismissing real variables as pitiful is construded as very narrow. There is no cherry picking here. I sow the soil and tend to my crops, I plant peanuts and do not expect fine wine from them. Poverty and its reasons are as real as sunshine and the rain. You have greatly misunderstood who you are conversing with and the backgrounds of many people. It is fine to look down every once and awhile to see where you have been or where you were spared from being, but get this, there are fish with far more teeth swimming in the ponds as you climb your ladder and your cold universe warms…a feeling of thanks should be upon you to afford the luxury of such a high view in which you posess. I am like you in the sence that I hold the bar pretty high when dealing with people. That bar is adjusted to ones abilities, I would hope you would see for yourself; for some, coming off the concete floor of society is a monumental effort. For them, compassion instead of a self rightous arrogance should be employeed when dealing with people in such a broken state a result of what a cold universe demands. That cold universe is also a good teacher, as I am quickly gathering some of its lessons have been revealed to you as well. Some of us strive to realize the other facets of the universe and offer a hand to those in need of direction. A cherry picker, dreamer,pitiful, vanilla skies (original, but I am not sure what that is)??? No my friend, who you are decsribing is not I, but perhaps twenty years ago I would have sought these vanilla skies you speak of and charted a course for whatever they hold…
I like how someone needs to feel insulted before they think they are on the path to “truth.”
It’s genereally a good idea that when you are making assertions like you did, that you have some sort of proof to back it up. Hell, maybe you could even make it a DI article.
Radiatidon – your comments are worth searching out. Thank you for posting them.
New to the site. Great article – really interesting guy! Echoes of the Michael Douglas character in the film Ghost & The Darkness. Makes sense that we humans are easier prey for a disabled predator – we’re not so good at defending ourselves without guns!
Dr.Bivoc said it all!!! SUSTAINABILITY!!!!! alas it is too late. this planet we have destroyed with our own stupidity and ignorance will soon “shake us off” like the parasites we are. a shame as it could have been sweet if we had not separated ourselves from “nature” and ruined everything.
I like the idea of a clear coke tasting cola. No stains on your teeth, same great taste. I think that could work in today’s market.
We are not considered their “natural” prey because a healthy tiger will not go and hunt for humans. They will of course eat us if they are hungry enough, or perhaps they kill a human they consider a threat and decide to not let us go to waste, or as mentioned in the article if they are unable to catch their normal choice of food due to physical impariments. Basically when a tiger goes out hunting he/she is thinking, “mmmm i sure could go for a buffalo right now,” not, “mmm it’s human time!” In fact the only animal that does think this way and will go out of its way to catch and eat a human is the polar bear, so we are in fact the natural prey of something.
PS sorry if someone already replied to this, i havent finished reading all the comments lol
how are we not a part of nature? we are simply surviving and reproducing using the tools nature gave us (mainly that squishy pink thing between our ears) and I dont see the human race being “shaken off” particularly soon… unless we start a nuclear war of course. Populations go through cycles. Eventually our population will stop growing and start declining, but this is a natural cycle, and it will pick up again. This cycle is probably familiar to any high school biology student.
95th, hmmmmm, new record for me.
Very cool article, I wish more leopards and tigers were alive today, they really are amazing creatures
Two Cents from Girth’s mission in life seems to be shrinking scrollbars.
Ugh! For five years this comment has been allowed to rot on this site and stink up the joint. Keep your apparitions and fairies and let us have intellectual discussions about real, damn interesting things.
Stop trying to poke someone into a Great Debate, please. You’ve apparently not prepared well enough considering the spelling and grammar you have used. Hmm….maybe you aren’t making a case for sky fairies after all.
Maybe you’ll come back to visit the Comments section in another 5 years when you’ve graduated from primary school.
I first read Jims “Man eaters of Kumaon” in the early sixties as a student at Melbourne Grammar. Subsequently I have reread his stories over fifty years, and as an aging adult, his words and his descriptions of the hunt are still as vibrant as when I first took up his writing as a very young boy. My only comment as a gun enthusiast (From a technical aspect), is that his habit of carrying so few cartridges seems to be naïve when your life could be in danger from missed shots , But I have never been in such a situation and as most armchair experts, my opinions are open to criticism. Non the less, this man has been one to whom hero worship may be the appropriate accolade in a time where heroes are few.