After 30 minutes
of hard running the heat and the exertion began to tell on my 65 years. Mario
and Francisco were ahead of me. I whistled at them and told Mario and Kukuya to
go for the jeep. I knew it might be a long chase. I had no idea where the jeep
was, but trusted in their jungle training to find it. Francisco and I sat down
to rest until the jeep arrived. While we waited, I amused myself by teaching
Francisco how to use the .375 rifle which he carried for me as a reserve weapon
but which he had never fired. He was delighted to be able to try it.
It took Mario and
Kukuya two hours to find the jeep and return to us. We sat down for a while
longer, ate some canned food and took a few sips of our much reduced supply of
Half an hour
later we were on the trail again, this time with the jeep. After about two and
a half miles through fairly open country, the tracks of the two elephants
entered a patch of thickly wooded jungle.
We left the jeep
at the entrance to the thicket. Francisco and Kukuya entered the wood
noiselessly. Mario and I followed with equal caution. The smoke from Mario's
cigaret, and my talcum powder, showed a variable wind, not a comforting sign
when we were going into blindingly thick bush after two pain-maddened
elephants,either one of which could kill us all easily.
We crept forward,
one careful step after another, for what seemed an age. The jungle was
absolutely quiet. Suddenly Francisco held up his hand and signaled that he saw
something. I strained my eyes. Yes, about 20 yards ahead we could see something
moving slowly among the thick mass of branches and leaves. We could not make
out what part of which of the two enormous animals it was, but I slowly raised
my .416 rifle to take aim at the moving mass of gray hide.
I fired two
bullets from the .416. Almost simultaneously the other big rifle went off at my
side. That was Mario. Then we heard a shot from the .375. It was Francisco, who
only an hour before learned to use the rifle and was now getting off his first
shot—into the body of the biggest elephant ever shot by man.
Before the echo
of our shots died away, pandemonium started in the jungle. The crash and
cracking of broken trees and branches sounded like an artillery battle. We did
not stop to listen, but turned and ran as hard as we could for open country.
Deep in a jungle was no place to be with two injured elephants you could not
see and with a variable wind that could give our position away at any
When we got 50
yards outside the thicket, we turned and waited for the chase. The wind by now
was at our backs, carrying our scent straight to the great beasts. But the
attack did not come. Inside the jungle the crash and tear of trees continued.
We started to run around the thicket, which was fortunately small—about a mile
and a half in circumference—keeping a good 50 or 60 yards from the edge of the
This way we
reached the place where we had left our jeep. I saw, to my astonishment, not 10
feet from the jeep the bloody tracks of the big elephant. He had passed the
jeep only a few seconds before.
A little way from
the jeep we found the tracks of the smaller beast who had taken off in the
opposite direction from his larger companion. Fortunately for us, the two
monsters had separated and now the job was not quite so dangerous. We had only
one elephant at a time to worry about and he (the big one) had six .416 bullets
and one from the .375 in his vitals.