Early Life of Frederick Walter Champion
He was born in the year 1893, 24th August in Surrey, in United Kingdom. Frederick Walter Champion spent his early life amidst the company of nature lovers, who were his family members. George Charles Champion, who was his father, was an English entomologist, while his brother Sir Harry George Champion was also a reputed forester. Harry Champion was famous for categorising the various types of forests in India. Frederick Walter Champion had arrived in the country in the year 1913 and had worked in the Police Department, East Bengal till the year 1916. He is said to have been recruited into the British Indian Army, Cavalry division for the post of a Second Lieutenant during 21st August, 1916. Thereafter, he was promoted as the Captain on 8th March. 1917 and finally as the Lieutenant on 21st August, 1917. He was appointed as the Wing Officer, along with Kurram Militia on 8th March, 1917 and he had delivered his service with the 31st Lancers. Kuram Militia was a unit of the Frontier Corps which was situated on the North West Frontier of India. On 1st May, 1922, Frederick Walter Champion was eventually granted the rank of Captain.
Conservational Efforts of Frederick Walter Champion
Frederick Walter Champion was associated with the Imperial Forestry Service, United Provinces of India following his return from the war. Gradually, he was promoted as the Deputy Conservator of Forests. He opposed the system of hunting for sports and was completely against the theory of killing or shooting innocent wildlife. He introduced the concept of 'camera trapping' during the 1920's and developed the system of shooting wild beasts with the aide of a camera, particularly in the Sivalik Hills, and the cameras he employed were equipped with tripwires. With the aide of a flashlight, Champion was capable of attaining numerous night-time clicks of dholes, sloth bears, leopards, wild tigers and other creatures. He realised that one could easily identify the different species of tigers and their stripe patterns just by glancing at the clear photographs of the tigers.
He strongly believed in the protectionist role of the forest department in India and propagated the idea of restricting gun licenses. He also used to stop motor vehicles from making an entry into the Reserved Forests. His deep commitment towards the protection of wild animals motivated Jim Corbett, one of his friends who also turned into a conservationist though in his early years he was a hunter. Along with Jim Corbett, Frederick Walter Champion became one of the founders of the Jim Corbett National Park which was founded in 1935, and was famous as one of the earliest national parks of the nation. However, Champion had shifted to East Africa following the independence of India from the British Raj. He also started working as Divisional Forest Officer for Serengeti and Kilimanjaro till his retirement.
Later Champion used the theme of how wildlife was being jeopardized by new developments. Champion insisted that wildlife was shrinking despite the best efforts of Forest Officers. Champion was tuned to appreciating nature but the value of timber production was ingrained in him. He had deep confidence in foresters. He was an ardent conservationist and ceaselessly campaigned for the defence of tigers and the preservation of their natural habitats. He was one of the founder members of India's first national park established in 1935 along with Jim Corbett.
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