“There was the grandest sight of animal beauty and pent-up physical force I had ever seen,” wrote William Mitchell in the November 1924 issue of National Geographic. “Its coat, of the brightest-orange color streaked with jet-black, gleamed in the afternoon sun.”
Mitchell grabbed his U.S.-made Springfield rifle: “I was very anxious to kill my tigers with an all-American outfit.”
Widely considered the father of the U.S. Air Force, Mitchell was on assignment in India for the magazine. The task: Kill a tiger and write about it.
As the Year of the Tiger begins, according to the Chinese zodiac, the cats inhabit less than 6 percent of their historic range, and fewer than 5,000 remain in the wild. Their situation is slightly improved from