As far as land animals are concerned, no predator is fiercer than the tiger. With males ranging from 500 to 800 pounds; possessing 3 to 4 inch canines capable of exerting 1,000 pounds of pressure per square inch; using razor sharp claws; and reaching 40 mph in speed, a tiger can take on anything that walks the Earth. An Indian proverb states, “Do not blame God for having created the tiger, but thank Him for not having given it wings.”
From 1900 to 1907 the deadliest man-eater in recorded history stalked human prey in northern India and Nepal — a Bengal tiger known as the Champawat Tiger. The death toll from this one tiger reached an incredible 435 lives. No Beast So Fierce by Dane Huckelbridge vividly tells the story of this menacing man-eater and the hunter, Jim Corbett, who eventually killed her.
In more than just a man versus beast tale, Huckelbridge delves into the larger context in which this story takes place, explaining British imperialism and its effect on tigers’ habitat as well as the indigenous people and their means of coping with a man-eater. Under the chapter “The Full Measure of a Tiger,” he goes into the amazing physical attributes that tigers possess, their evolutionary history, geographic range, and how humans have dealt with tigers over the ages.
The story of the Champawat Tiger, actually a tigress, begins with a hunter who shot and wounded her in the mouth. Thus injured and unable to hunt her normal prey, the tiger turned to much easier game — humans. For the next seven years, she prowled parts of Nepal and northern India spending some of her time in cooler mountainous areas that normally never have tigers but are full of unsuspecting people. The tiger always stayed on the move, compounding the problem of tracking her down.
Colonial authorities were in a quandary of what to do. A well-known hunter had failed in his attempts, and the people were desperate for help. Authorities finally called upon Jim Corbett, an unknown railway employee who was born and raised in the area known as the Kumaon where the tiger did most of her killing. Corbett had spent his life hunting the area and knew it and tigers well. Corbett realized he could not accomplish his mission on his own and needed the help of villagers to help drive the tiger to him. He also knew he only had two or three days to close in on the man-eater after she made a kill before she moved onto another area, potentially many miles away. His opportunity presented itself when a young woman in a village not far away became the tiger’s latest victim. Following the blood trail into the jungle, Corbett stalked the killer, knowing all along the tiger could rush him at any moment. With the villagers' help, Corbett was able to come face to face with the Champawat Tiger.
No Beast So Fierce tells this riveting true-life tale and goes deeper in following the life of Corbett after his encounter and how he became the greatest conservationist for tigers and their habitat. The Corbett Tiger Reserve is a
1,200 square km wilderness area, of which within its borders is the Jim Corbett National Park that protects Bengal tigers today.