Our elephant was
still several hours ahead of us, but he was going slowly, stopping here and
there and entertaining himself with food. He seemed completely at ease.
We had been
pursuing him for more than an hour when the path of our elephant joined another
coming from the north. Carefully we examined the spoors and discovered the
recent tracks of a second bull.
From there on
they went together. The second animal, judging from his tracks, was of great
size but smaller than our monster.
For two hours we
followed the two old cronies. Sometimes their tracks would get mixed, but
always visible was that enormous three-foot spoor. By 9 a.m. the jungle heat
Francisco rushed on ahead, but almost immediately they stopped. They had
discovered fresh elephant sign. "Hot," cried out Mario. "They must
be very near."
We left the jeep
and all went ahead on foot. The wind was not very good, as it was variable and
could carry our scent down the track. But apparently it had not for, as we
silently rounded a bend in the path, the advance tracker held up his hand. I
crept forward. There, not a hundred yards ahead of us, were the two
They were quite
calm, lolling under some tall trees, slowly moving their huge ears in a fanlike
motion. The smaller was an enormous beast, but my elephant was beyond my
imagination. A real monster.
quietly lit a cigaret, to see by the smoke the direction of the wind. I tossed
out a little talcum powder I always carry for the purpose. The wind was
crossed, meaning that it came from our left toward our right, but did not carry
our scent to the animals. This was a break; we could get closer without being
approached, soundlessly, using tree trunks for cover, ever testing the wind so
it would not give us away. We were about 80 yards from them. The big one had
his side turned to us, but the other was facing us with ears alert. He
suspected something. We stopped and observed a few moments.
you open fire," whispered Mario.