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April 2004

Tiger Territory

"What was to be done about the tiger?" Joseph Rock asked in his March 1922 article, "Hunting the Chaulmoogra Tree." In Burma (now Myanmar) on an expedition to gather rare seeds, Rock—a legendary explorer and botanist—visited a village terrorized by this wild cat. Two women had been killed, another badly wounded, and a two-year-old girl was missing. "All we found was a trail of blood which led into the forest," Rock wrote.
"I shall never forget how the poor husbands of the slain women worked on that trap," Rock recalled of the snare the villagers set. It got results. "The captured creature's rage was terrible to behold," and after "only a few minutes . . . 20 spears ended its savage existence." The next day the grieving villagers woke to find "the sky still weeping over all this tragedy." 

—Margaret G. Zackowitz
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Photograph by Joseph F. Rock

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