Jim Corbett was a renowned tiger hunter who was born in India in 1875. However, he never hunted tigers for sport, as so many did at the time. Through many amazing kills and several close calls, he developed a profound respect for the big cats, including maneaters.
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 knew tigers better than anyone. His conservation efforts went against the grain of the times, but his legacy lives on in a national park named after him, and a tiger species named Panthera tigris corbetti. Read his fascinating story at Damn Interesting.