No beast so fierce : the Champawat Tiger and her hunter, the first tiger conservationist
The deadliest animal of all time meets the world's most legendary hunter in a classic battle between man and wild.
But this pulse-pounding narrative is also a nuanced story of how colonialism and environmental destruction upset the natural order, placing man, tiger and nature on a collision course. In Champawat, India, circa 1900, a Bengal tigress was wounded by a poacher in the forests of the Himalayan foothills.
Unable to hunt her usual prey, the tiger began stalking and eating an easier food source: human beings.
Between 1900 and 1907, the Champawat Man-Eater, as she became known, emerged as the most prolific serial killer of human beings the world has ever known, claiming an astonishing 436 lives. Desperate for help, authorities appealed to renowned local hunter Jim Corbett, an Indian-born Brit of Irish descent, who was intimately familiar with the Champawat forest.
Corbett, who would later earn fame and devote the latter part of his life to saving the Bengal tiger and its habitat, sprang into action.
Like a detective on the tail of a serial killer, he tracked the tiger's movements, as the tiger began to hunt him in return. This was the beginning of Corbett's life-long love of tigers, though his first encounter with the Champawat Tiger would be her last.