National Geographic : 1961 May
Enchantress! QUEEN OF AN INDIAN PALACE, A RARE WHITE TIGRESS COMES TO WASHINGTON By THEODORE H. REED, D.V.M. Director, National Zoological Park, Smithsonian Institution Photographs by THOMAS J. ABERCROMBIE National Geographic Staff rT4HE HAREM COURTYARD lies beyond this door," said His Highness, the Maharaja of Rewa, as he handed a servant a big brass key. "In my grandfather's day you would have been in trouble just for standing here-fanatic retainers, razor-sharp swords, and all the traditional amenities." The door creaked open- revealing a gorgeous crea ture with inquisitive gaze focused on us. She stared with calm curiosity, then walked slowly toward us with the dignity of one to the palace born. As she came closer, I was astonished by her perfect development. Her ice-blue eyes were peculiarly aloof, yet inquisitive. I extended my clenched hand in the experienced animal handler's form of greeting. Dain tily, she licked my knuckles. Fortunately, bars sepa rated us - her fangs were three inches long. Here at last was one of the rare white tigers for which I had come halfway around the world. Her stripes were black, shading into brown, but her main coat was eggshell white instead of the normal rufous orange. Exotic coloring and magnificent physique 8 KODACHROMEBY NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC PHOTOGRAPHERS 628 THOMAS NEBBIA AND JOHN E. FLETCHER© N.G.S.