In the eye of a tiger

It was dawn on a chilly winter morning in South Africa when writer Stephanie Hanes and I first met Madonna, TigerWoods (sic), and Cathay, all South China tigers and three of the last 60 cats of their kind. They hadn't eaten in nearly a week (normal for tigers in the wild) and appeared out of the bush as they heard our truck, hoping for breakfast. They had been brought here from China to breed and learn how to hunt with an African expert at such things.

They were surely wondering, "Where is our food?" When it was time to feed them, they were herded into a small pen so their food could be placed in their enclosure. As we got down out of the truck to stretch our legs, the tigers paced as close to us as they could be on the other side of the fence. TigerWoods followed Stephanie's every move, his gorgeous orange eyes locked on her, moving as she moved. She was the smallest of our group, and he wanted her for dinner. Soon, though, the tigers were all contentedly munching on antelope. It was an unforgettable experience – especially for a writer who had never imagined she could have been dinner.

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