National Geographic : 1950 Jan
The National Geographic Magazine Headwoman of Rekcha Village Gives the Author a Piece of Her Mind S. Dillon Ripley (seated) led a National Geographic Society-Yale University-Smithsonian Institution expedition into little-known Nepal in search of rare birds, mammals, and fishes. In the roadless interior Americans camped in Rekcha. The village's elderly headwoman, at first unfriendly, grew so fond of them that she visited camp daily, bringing gifts of food (page 16). Richard Mack (left) wears a Nepalese men's necklace, for which he traded a watch. suffering with tuberculosis, his days seemingly numbered. However, the climate of the remote Valley of Katmandu proved highly beneficial. He performed prodigious political and eco nomic services for his employers as their Resi dent at the court of Nepal from 1833 to 1843, and in addition sent out trained Nepalese searchers to the back country to collect the fauna of the mountain kingdom. In the 1830's and 1840's he turned out many scientific papers describing his new finds, most of which he had never seen alive. On this research of Hodgson a considerable proportion of the scientific names of the Indian fauna is based. I knew, however, that his original collec tions, which were given at a later date to the British Museum in London, are now faded and in poor condition because of the tropical climate in which they were kept for many years. Since Hodgson's time only a few frag mentary collections have been made, mostly in the vicinity of the capital. A Land of Mighty Rivers Nepal is a rectangle, 500 miles long by roughly 100 broad, sandwiched in between India and Tibet (map, page 4). It is an independent kingdom with a population of nearly 7,000,000.* * See, in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE: "Nepal, the Sequestered Kingdom," by Penelope Chetwode, March. 1935; and "Nepal: A Little-known Kingdom," by John Claude White, October, 1920.