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Royal Way to Kill a Cat
March 13, 1961
Only the tiger failed to get the joke as organized royalty on elephant back moved through a trimmed jungle to hunt � la mode
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March 13, 1961

Royal Way To Kill A Cat

Only the tiger failed to get the joke as organized royalty on elephant back moved through a trimmed jungle to hunt � la mode

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The natives had every reason to be restless when Britain's touring Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip and some friends went hunting the other day in Nepal with their host, King Mahendra. To insure an afternoon of sport fit for a queen, a large patch of Meghauli jungle was barbered like an English lawn and sprayed with DDT. Royal tents were set up with zinc bathtubs painted gleaming white and flush toilets (the Queen's had a red-velvet seat cover). A picnic lunch of wild boar shashlik and venison curry was catered by the famed Yak and Yeti bar in Katmandu (SI, July 27, 1959). A small army of 305 elephants from nearby India was imported to bear the guests. Two of them served as walking bars and several as ambulatory press boxes. But in spite of all preparations the Queen contented herself with shooting only pictures, while the Prince had a sore finger and couldn't shoot at all. The day's bag: one runty tiger and a mother rhino.

MOUNTED ON A SMALL, OR RUNABOUT-TYPE, ELEPHANT, WHICH WAS THE MODEL USED EARLY IN THE CHASE, THE QUEEN LEADS THE LINE AS STEALTHY NEPAL TIGER HUNTERS CLOSE IN ON THEIR PREY—WHICH IS BEING KEPT HANDY FOR THEM BY MAHENDRA'S BEATERS

THE QUEEN SHOOTS FROM HER ELEPHANT'S BACK, BUT ONLY ON FILM

THE WOUNDED PRINCE SMILES A GREETING IN KATMANDU

The biggest trophy was this female rhinoceros—a mother, whose baby was promptly driven off. Rhinos are not considered sporting trophies in Nepal, since only 80 are left in the country and poachers threaten them with extinction. Even the elephants turned skittish when the rhino was being ringed; some of them bolted and ran. But by this time the intrepid hunters had shifted from the small to the large, or limousine-type, elephants with howdahs mounted on their backs and so were unharmed.

The slain tigress is measured on the ground, after being stretched as far as she could go, under the supervision of King Mahendra, bareheaded and in uniform. She came to a disappointing eight feet, eight inches. Ringed by the Nepalese King's beaters the night before, the tigress was fed a buffalo calf to slow her down. Even so, she made a game fight. Britain's Foreign Secretary, Lord Home, missed her four times, leaving the kill to be made by another gun—nobody knew for sure just whose.

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