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Flora and Fauna, Jim Corbett National Park, Corbett Tiger Reserve

Flora and Fauna Jim Corbett National Park

The different habitat types of Corbett i.e. mountains, sal forests, chaurs, khair-sissoo forests, and rivers have their distinct assemblage of plants. More than 600 species of trees, shrubs, herbs, bamboos, grasses, climbers and ferns have been identified in the Park.

Flora

The Jim Corbett National Park is blessed with the natural bounty in the form of distinct flora which comprises of fresh water flora and alpine flora. Extent over an area of more than 521 square kilometers the Corbett has diverse floral count that is absolutely astonishing. The various habitat types of Corbett is occupied by Sal forests, Khair-Sisso forests, Mountains, Chaur, and rivers and streams that owes their distinct assemblage of plants. According to botanical survey of India Corbett has 600 species of plants - trees, shrubs, ferns, grass, climbers, herbs and bamboos. These many distinct varieties of plant kingdom makes the national park sought after wildlife destination for those who wish to relax from hectic schedule of working throughout the year.

Trees

The most visible trees found in Corbett are sal, khair and sissoo (see Habitats and Ecosystems). Many other species that contribute to the diversity, are found scattered throughout the park.All bamboos in a forest flower together at the same time once in several decades. After flowering, fruiting and dispersal of seeds, all individuals die together.

Chir pine (Pinus roxburghi)

is the only conifer of the Park and is found on ridge-tops like Chir Choti but comes quite low in Gajar Sot. The upper reaches near Kanda have Banj Oak (Quercus leucotrichophora) growing which is essentially a Himalayan species.

Palms

include Khajur or Date-palm (Phoenix sp.) that occurs in open areas. Wallachia densiflora is a rare palm characteristic of Eastern Himalayas but is found in Corbett near Sultan. Kanju (Holoptelia integrifolia), Jamun (Syzygium cumini) and Aamla (Emblica officinalis) are found scattered throughout the lower areas while Tendu (Diospyros tomentosa) occurs in moist areas. Other major tree species are Bel (Aegle marmalos), Kusum (Schleichera oleosa), Mahua (Madhuca indica) and Bakli (Anogeissus latifolia).

Flowering trees

lend colour to the forests in Corbett. The main ones are Kachnaar (Bauhinia variegata) with pink to white flowers, Semal (Bombax ceiba) with big red blooms, Dhak or Flame-of-the-forest (Butea monosperma) with bright orange flowers, Madaar or Indian Coral (Erythrinia indica) with scarlet red flowers and Amaltas (Cassia fistula) with bright yellow chandelier like blooms. Some species of trees that do not occur naturally in the Park have been artificially planted in and around habitation. These include Teak (Tectona grandis), Eucalyptus, Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosaefolia), Silver Oak (Gravillea robusta) and Bottlebrush (Callistemon viminalis), and can be seen in and around forest rest houses.

Hurbs

Herbs include many species of wildflowers belonging mostly to Pea and Aster families. They are most visible on grasslands or chaurs and on open areas. Drymaria diandra is a spreading annual herb with heart shaped leaves and occurs in moist shady places. Bhilmora (Rumex hastatus) is a sour tasting herb used for making chutney. Other species encountered in Corbett are Euphorbia hirta, a hairy herb, Indigofera liniofolia with bright red flowers, Clover (Oxalis sp.) with three leaflets, Solanum sp. and Leonotis nepatafolia (orange flowers and spiky round fruits).

Grasses

Corbett has over 70 grass speciesGrasses form the largest group of plant species in Corbett with more than 70 species recorded. They occupy different habitats, especially chaurs. They include Kansi (Saccharum sp.), Themeda arundinacea, Baib or Bhabar (Eulaliopsis binata), Narkul (Arundo donax), Tiger Grass (Thysanolaena maxima), Khus Khus (Vetiveria zizanioides), Cymbopogon flexuosus (a tufted grass with pleasant aromatic leaves), Aristida cyanantha (found amidst boulders), Neyraudia arundin acea (with light brown inflorescence) and Heteropagon contortus (Spear Grass with conspicuous sharp blades that adhere to clothes and penetrates skin).

Fauna

Corbett National Park is home for many wonderful as well as endangered species of animals. The natural bounty and vast landscapes provide perfect habitat for wildlife here. The park plays a dutiful shelter in preserving a variety of flora count.The park is an ideal home for many majestic animals like the Royal Bengal Tiger, Asiatic Elephant and many other wild animals. Due to healthy population of wild today, Corbett is one of best preserved parks with 164 numbers of tigers and over 600 elephants. As per the recent survey Corbett reveals the highest density of population of tigers in the country at 20/100 square kilometers. Apart from Royal Bengal Tiger Corbett is also a home to a sizeable population of the endangered Asiatic elephant and other critically endangered species including the Ghariyal. Some of the other known mammal species reside in Corbett include Asiatic Black Bear, Hog Deer, Walking Deer, Sambar, Sloth Beer, Yellow-throated marten, Otters and many more to list.

Tiger

The tiger (Panthera tigris) is perhaps the most celebrated of the wild animals of India. It is symbolises the power of Nature and finds an important place in our culture, mythology and legends. It has been worshiped as the guardian and ruler of the forest.

The Asian Elephant

The elephant, largest of the land mammals, has been an integral part of the history, mythology, tradition, culture and religion of India. There are three surviving species of elephants in the world, one in Asia and two in Africa. The Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) is distributed in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Unlike the African species, Asian elephants have been domesticated for thousands of years and have been used in medieval warfare, for temples, and as a working animal.

Para or Hog Deer

(Axis porcinus) is the rarest of Corbett's deer. It is closely related to the chital but is smaller in size. Unlike most other deer, the hog deer is not given to leaping over obstacles but instead, it escapes its predators by crouching low, ducking under obstacles. Its limbs are short and its hind legs are longer than the fore legs. This anatomy raises its rump to a higher level than the shoulders.

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