Tale of the Cat

Nir Elias / Reuters

On the prowl
A South China tiger in his cage at the Suzhou South China Conservation Base

"Without the breath of the tiger there will be no wind, only clouds, and certainly no rain." —The I Ching

"I'll be quite honest with you," says Ron Tilson, director of conservation at Minnesota Zoo, co-author of a new edition of the encyclopedic Tigers of the World and, with decades of fieldwork in Asia's tiger habitats under his belt, an authority — maybe the authority — on our most endangered big cat. "I've never seen a wild tiger."

There's more. "I'm actually allergic to tigers,"...

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