Tigers, in general, do not actively kill or hunt humans. In fact, they would often change direction at the first sign of humans rather than seek them out in an aggressive confrontation. But have you heard of the Demon of Champawat?
The Demon of Champawat was a tigress in Nepal. She killed over 400 people before being killed in 1907. According to records, she has traveled as much as 20 miles a day searching for new victims.
The Reign of the Demon Tiger of Champawat
The Champawat Tiger was a Bengal Tigress known to be responsible for 436 deaths in Nepal during the latter part of the 19th century. Her attacks have been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the highest number of fatalities from a tiger. The attacks began in the Himalayas in the small village of Rupal.
Despite being a massive cat, she used her stealth to her advantage. Even if she did leave a trail of blood, she could evade capture and death. Several hunters tried to catch her but failed. The Nepalese Army knew something had to be done, so they organized a large patrol forcing the tiger to abandon her territory. This led her to relocate instead.
She was driven over the Sarda river and into the border of India. The relocation did not lessen her thirst for human flesh. She preyed on numerous villagers in the Kumaon District. She even adjusted her hunting strategy by traveling upwards at around 20 miles a day to make a kill and avoid being captured. Her main targets were young women and children, as they were the ones who often wandered into the forest to collect wood, food, and other materials. She only killed during the day, which is typical of man-eating tigers. As word spread about her attacks, the daily life of the villagers ceased. People would refuse to leave their huts when they would hear the tigress’ roars. (Source: Ripley’s: Believe It or Not)
Who Killed the Tigress?
In 1907, the locals were desperate. They called for Jim Corbett’s help. He was a famous British hunter and tracker who was born in Nainital in the Kumaon region. Corbett was recognized for his skills in hunting wildcats like leopards and tigers.
Days before the murderous tigress was killed, Corbett spent a significant amount of time tracking her down. He followed the trail of blood she left after her latest victim, Premka Devi, a 16-year-old girl from the village of Fungar. Corbett organized a patrol of 300 villagers. By noon he found her.
Corbett held his breath and steadied his aim; his first few shots hit her on the chest and shoulder. His last shot hit her on the foot that stopped her mid-charge roughly 20 feet away from Corbett’s spot. She finally died on that day, restoring peace and order in the village. Even if Corbett was confident about his skills, the Champawat Tiger kept him on his toes. She made him feel as hunted as she was. She was the tigress that he pursued that almost cost him his life. (Source: Ripley’s: Believe It or Not)