15

W E D N E S D A Y

In the Sundarbans, the vast mangrove swamps of Bangladesh and India that are home to the world’s largest tiger population, the natives treat the man-eating cats with the honor they deserve, worshiping the tigers as gods. But in Washington, the swamp that is home to half-a-dozen caged lions and tigers, we treat our man-eating cats with disrespect. When the National Zoo’s lions killed a woman last weekend, Washingtonians didn’t applaud the cats for defending their home territory against intruders. Instead, they clucked about safety precautions and debated the best way to control these homicidal animals. Compare the divine tigers to our despised lions when Sy Montgomery, author of Spell of the Tiger, gives a lecture titled In the Land of Magical Tigers at 6 p.m. at the Museum of Natural History’s Baird Auditorium, 10th & Constitution Ave. NW. $13. (202) 357-3030. (David Plotz)