Man-Eaters - Page 1&2:Why
Cats Attack | 3&4:
The Real Facts | 5&6: Jim Corbett
| 7&8: The Sundarbans |
9&10: Dudhwa Tiger Reserve | 11&12: Reducing Attacks | 13&14: Tiger Attack Stories
The Bengal tiger - Champawat:
Of all the sub-species of tiger it is the Bengal which has gained the worst reputation as a man-eater. It has been said that "at one time, in parts of India, at the beginning of the 19th century, man-eaters were so prevalent that it seemed to be a question of whether man or tiger would survive." Each night, fires encircled the villages and the native people only ever travelled in large groups, fully armed and beating drums to scare the cats.
In the 1930s tigers killed between 1,000 and 1,600 people each year, causing terror among the human population. One famous tigress known as Champawat killed some 200 men and women before being driven out of Nepal. She moved to another location, this time in India, and continued to kill bringing her total up to 436 before she was tracked down and killed in 1937.
The Smithsonian Institution holds a famous 11-foot Bengal tiger in its World of Mammals Hall. This tiger was almost certainly a man-eater until it was shot in 1967. It may also have been a distant relation of the famous Champawat.
Jim Corbett - hunter and conservationist:
The late Jim Corbett, a famous hunter and tracker of big game, yet also an ardent conservationist, was responsible for killing the man-eater of Champawat and many other man-eating tigers and leopards over a thirty-five year period.
Upon his arrival at the village where the man-eater of Champawat had taken her last victim he found the area a virtual ghost town, with villagers locked inside their huts and no one having ventured outside for a week. The tigress roamed the roads near the village roaring and terrifying villagers.
Her last kill was a 16-year-old girl out gathering wood. After trailing the tigress through blackthorn bushes draped with "long strands of the girl's raven-black hair" Corbett came across part of a human leg. "In all the subsequent years I have hunted man-eaters," Corbett wrote, "I have not seen anything as pitiful as that young comely leg-bitten off a little below the knee as clean as though severed by the stroke of an ax(e)." While distracted by the leg, Corbett forgot about tracking the tigress until, "a little earth from the fifteen-foot bank in front of me, come rolling down the steep side".
Later examination of the tigress showed the upper and lower canine teeth on the right side of her mouth were broken -- the upper one in half, the lower one right down to the bone. This permanent injury, Corbett claimed, "had prevented her from killing her natural prey, and had been the cause of her becoming a man-eater."
Shooting the man-eater of Champawat was to make Corbett an instant folk hero. Today, a stone plaque marks the village and gives details of how Corbett tracked the tigress down and finally killed her.
With Thanks To The Smithsonian