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Title: In Wildest Africa, vol 1 (of 2)
Author: Schilling, Carl Georg
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  _From a Photograph by Nicola Perscheid, Berlin._

_C. G. Schillings_]





  VOL. I


[Illustration: LION STUDY.]


I never dreamed that my book _With Flashlight and Rifle_--alike in its
German and its English and American editions--would receive everywhere
so kind a welcome, or that it would make for me so many new friends,
both at home and abroad.

I have been encouraged by this success to give a fresh series of my
studies of African wild life and of my “Nature Documents,” as Dr.
Ludwig Heck has designated my photographs, in the present work.

I should like to express my gratitude once again to all those who, in
one way or another, have furthered my labours in connection with these
two books, especially to Dr. Heck himself and the other men of eminence
and learning whose names I mentioned in my preface to _With Flashlight
and Rifle_. A complete list of all my kind helpers and well-wishers
would be too long to print here. I am deeply indebted, too, to the
many correspondents--men of note and young schoolboys alike--who
have written to me to express their appreciation of my achievements.
Their praises have gone to my heart. I owe a special word of thanks to
President Roosevelt, who smoothed the way for my book in the United
States by his reference to me in his own volume _Outdoor Pastimes of an
American Hunter_. I take the more pleasure in discharging this debt in
that I had long derived intense enjoyment from President Roosevelt’s
masterly descriptions of wild life and sport in America. President
Roosevelt has always been one of the foremost pioneers in the movement
for the preservation of nature in all its forms, and has made every
possible use of the resources placed at his disposal by his high
position to further this end.

This new book of mine is in form a series of impressions and sketches,
loosely strung together; but it will serve, I hope, indirectly to win
over my readers to the one underlying idea--the idea upon which I harp
so often--of the importance of taking active steps to prevent the
complete extermination of wild life.

Like _With Flashlight and Rifle_, this supplementary work can claim to
stand out from the ranks of all other volumes of the kind as regards
the character of its illustrations. All those photographs which I
have taken myself are reproduced from the original negatives without
retouching of any kind. Every single one, therefore, is an absolutely
trustworthy record of a scene visible at a given hour upon the African
velt by day or by night. I insist upon this point because herein lie
both the value and the fascination of my pictures.

In his introduction to the English edition of _With Flashlight and
Rifle_ Sir Harry Johnston declares that that work was “bound to produce
nostalgia in the lines of returned veterans”; I trust that _In Wildest
Africa_ will bring also to such readers a breath from the wilderness
awaking in them memories of exciting experiences on the velt. Above
all, I trust that its appeal will be not to grown readers alone, but
that it will have still stronger attractions for the coming generation.

A preface should not be too long. I shall conclude with the expression
of the hope that I may be able presently to secure a new collection of
“Nature Documents.”




  _C. G. Schillings, phot._]


Contents of Vol. I

  CHAP.                                                             PAGE

  I. THE SPELL OF THE ELELESCHO                                        1



  IV. THE SURVIVORS                                                  139

  V. SPORT AND NATURE IN GERMANY                                     179

  VI. THE LONELY WONDER-WORLD OF THE NYÍKA                           204

  VII. THE VOICES OF THE WILDERNESS                                  283

[Illustration: GULLS.]

List of Illustrations in Vol. I


  _Frontispiece_--Portrait of the Author.

  Lion Study                                                           v

  Young Dwarf Antelope                                               vii

  Armed Natives                                                       ix

  Black-hoofed Antelopes                                              xi

  Gulls                                                             xiii

  A Giraffe Photograph                                                 1

  My “Boys” organising a “Goma”                                        2

  Bearers indulging in a Bath                                          3

  A Masai _ol’ moruan_ (old man)                                       4

  Group of Masai                                                       5

  A _memento mori_ of the Velt                                         9

  Dwarf Gazelles on the Velt                                          11

  Masai Herdsmen                                                      13

  Young Masai Dancing and Singing                                     17

  Bearers on the March                                                21

  Transport Bearers in Difficulties                                   21

  The Author being Carried across a Swamp                             23

  How Mules and Asses are got across a River                          24

  Two of my Wandorobo Guides                        _facing_          24

  A Halt of my Caravan on the Velt                                    25

  Masai Warriors                                                      29

  Group of Masai                                                      33

  A Party of my trusty Companions                                     37

  Bearers making their way through high grass                         41

  The Caravan on the March                                            45

  A Herd of Zebras taking Refuge from the Heat of the Midday
    Sun                                             _facing_          48

  Flamingoes on the margin of a Lake                                  49

  Flamingoes flying down to the Lake margin                           53

  Alfred Kaiser in Arab costume                                       55

  Group of Gnus                                                       58

  Nile Geese on the Natron Lake                                       58

  A Herd of Grant’s Gazelles                                          59

  Crested Cranes and Zebras                                           59

  A Camp on the Velt                                                  63

  Native Settlement on the Pangani River                              67

  Group of Eland Antelopes                                            72

  A Herd of White-bearded Gnus                                        73

  A Masai Dance                                                       77

  A Herd of White-bearded Gnus
      (i) at close quarters;
     (ii) a more distant view;
    (iii) they show their disquiet;
     (iv) they decide to retreat                    _facing_          80

  Effects of Heat and Mirage                                          81

  A Hot Day in the Great Rift Valley                                  85

  Group of Masai                                                      87

  Prehistoric Sketch on a Fragment of Ivory                           88

  Old Picture of a female Hippopotamus                                91

  An old German Picture of the Giraffe                                93

  Hottentot Hunters: a sketch of two hundred years ago                95

  Ancient Egyptian representations of Giraffes and other animals      97

  Sketches of Animals made by the Bushmen                             99

  Black-tailed Antelopes running through high grass                  101

  Bearers on the March                                               103

  A Rhinoceros moving through velt grass                             107

  Three large Gorillas shot by Captain Dominick                      115

  Troop of Lions in broad daylight                                   121

  Herd of Elephants in South Africa, by Harris                       127

  Group of Wild Animals at Hagenbeck’s zoological gardens            133

  Young Grant’s Gazelles                                             139

  ’Mbega Monkeys                                                     140

  A ’Mbega                                          _facing_         142

  East African Wild Buffaloes                                        143

  Modern Methods of Taxidermy: Setting up a Giraffe              146-149

  Male Giraffe Gazelle                                               150

  Dwarf Antelope                                                     152

  Giraffe Gazelles                                                   152

  Snow-white Black-hoofed Antelope                                   153

  New Species of Hyena (_Hyena schillingsi_)                         153

  Dwarf Musk Deer                                                    158

  A Pair of Guerezas                                                 159

  Black-hoofed Antelope                                              164

  Giraffe Gazelle and Dwarf Antelope                                 165

  Head of an African Wart-hog                                        168

  Nest of Ostrich’s Eggs                                             169

  Drying Ornithological specimens                                    174

  Group of Author’s Trophies                                         175

  Women of the Rahe Oasis                                            177

  Egyptian Geese in a Swamp                                          179

  The Nyíka: a Bird’s-eye View                      _facing_         200

  Oryx Antelopes                                                     204

  A Velt Hillock                                                     205

  The Summit of Mount ’Ngaptuk                                       207

  A Look-out Place                                                   211

  Black-hoofed Antelopes                                        216, 217

  Black-tailed Antelopes                                        222, 223

  Masai Hartebeests                                                  230

  Giraffe Gazelle                                                    231

  Grant’s Gazelles                                  _facing_         234

  Grant’s Gazelles                                                   237

  White-bearded Gnus and Zebras taking Refuge
    from the Midday Sun                             _facing_         240

  An old Acacia                                                      244

  A typical Landscape                                                245

  Hungry Vultures                                                    249

  Flamingoes in Flight                                          252, 253

  Storks on the Wing                                                 258

  Storks gathering for Migration                                     259

  Remains of Rhinoceroses                                            261

  Crested Cranes in Flight                                           264

  Vultures and Marabous                                              265

  Herd of Waterbuck                                                  270

  Oryx Antelopes                                                     271

  Grant’s Gazelles                                                   276

  Hartebeests near the Western ’Ndjiri Swamps                        277

  Map of a Day’s Movements and Observations                          279

  Flamingoes on the Margin of the Natron Lake                        281

  A Francolin perched on a Thorn-bush                                283

  Flight of Sandfowl                                                 287

  Zebras and Gnus                                   _facing_         292

  An Alarum-turaco                                                   295

  Nest of Weaver-birds                                               301

  A Shrike on the Look-out                                           309

  Brook with an Underground Channel                                  315



The Spell of the Elelescho

On the afternoon of January 14, 1897, a small caravan of native
bearers, some fifty strong, was wearily making its way across the wide
plain towards its long-wished-for goal, Lake Nakuro, which was at last
coming, into sight in the far distance. The appearance of the bearers
and their worn-out clothing showed plainly that the caravan had made
a long journey. And so it was. Weakened by fever, I was coming from
the Victoria Nyanza in the hope of making a quicker recovery in this
more elevated district. As is the way when one is convalescent, life
seemed to me something doubly beautiful and desirable now that, after
lying seriously ill for weeks, I was recovering from the fever. I
had been all but despaired of by the English officers who had kindly
taken care of me, Mr. C. W. Hobley and Mr. Tompkins, to whom I owe
a debt of gratitude. I had caught the disease in the marshes of the
Nyanza and in my tramp through the wild Sotik and Nandi country, then
unexplored or very little known. During the last few days our march had
once more been imperilled by hostile tribes, the rebel Wakamassia, but
this danger was all but past now that we were entering the uninhabited
region of the Nakuro, Elmenteita and Naiwasha Lakes, in the district
known to the Masai as En’aiposha.


Endless undulating, expanses of grassy country, unadorned by a single
tree, had made our last days of marching not too pleasant. Now there
was a marked downward incline of the grass-covered plateau; it
gradually changed to a barren plain of volcanic origin, and the view
extended over the wide glittering lake.

Filling a far-stretching hollow, and lost to view on the horizon, it
lay at our feet, a welcome sight.


The camp was pitched beside a parched-looking ’msuaki tree on the banks
of a brook which at this time of the year was a turbid torrent pouring
itself down towards the lake. Some time before, bush and grass fires
had raged in the neighbourhood and destroyed the old grass, and here,
it would seem, a heavy rainfall had conjured forth for us a new carpet
of grass that was fresh and luxuriant. The remarkable luxuriance of the
grass lands in the district had already been specially noticed, and
compared to the richest pastures of the Swiss Alps, by the discoverer
of, and first traveller in, this region, Dr. G. A. Fischer, an explorer
who, alas! so soon fell a victim to the climate.

Fischer--in 1883--was the first to visit the neighbouring Lake
Naiwasha. How the situation has changed since then! At that time, and
thus only twelve years before I first camped there, the warlike Masai
still held these wide uplands as absolute masters.

[Illustration: A MASAI _ol’ moruan_ (_i.e._ OLD MAN) ANSWERING MY

Oscar Baumann, an explorer who did good service, was one of the first
to traverse their inhospitable dominions. It was some years after
Fischer’s journey that Baumann made his way into the region of the
Nile sources, during his famous expedition to legend-haunted Ruanda
(now better known to us through Dr. Richard Kandt’s researches). I
made his acquaintance at the Austrian Consulate at Zanzibar. He, also,
was snatched away in his early years by the Sphinx of Africa, the
treacherous climate.


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


His journey, only a few years before my stay here, cost his numerous
and strongly armed caravan hard fighting with the natives. And now I am
camping here with a few men in an unfortified camp!

Fischer was quite convinced that he could not venture upon his
exploring journey without the support of the Mohammedan trading
caravans, but he had finally to start alone with 230 bearers. Yet,
notwithstanding all difficulties, he successfully accomplished his
task. But how different from those of to-day were the circumstances
under which a journey was made into unknown Masailand at that time!
The Masai warrior was then still sovereign master in his own land; he
was still “Ol open l en gob” (“Lord of the land”) in the full sense of
the word. And all the chivalrous poetry that has been so pathetically
brought home to us by the fate of the North American Indians, was also
not alien to his warlike character. Then came the moment when he had to
face the firearms of the Europeans. His fate was sealed, like that of
the lion and the leopard.

Then, too, tribute had to be arranged for on all sides. Not only some
of the petty chiefs in the neighbourhood of the coast, but the Masai
too, must receive costly payments. Thus, for example, Dr. Fischer had
to hand over to the chief Sedenga at ‘Mkaramo on the Pagani River, to
obtain permission for the passage of his caravan, 100 pieces of cloth,
each six yards long, an axe, 100 leaden bullets, one ten-pound keg of
gunpowder, two large coils of brass wire, and eight pounds’ weight of
artificial pearls!

Only two kinds of caravans were known to the Masai, slave caravans and
trading caravans, which busied themselves with collecting the coveted
ivory tusks. The Arab traders knew how to combine the two objects: the
slaves, the “black ivory” of the trade, were forced to carry the white
ivory down to the coast.

The strength of these trading caravans, well equipped with firearms,
always amounted to several hundred men; but under certain circumstances
these numbers were considerably increased, so that caravans of a
thousand men or even more were not rare. It took Fischer long months
to recruit his caravan. The bearers did not like to undertake the
dangerous journey with the first white man who started for that region.
The jealousy of the Arab traders was also at work. They feared that the
channels of the ivory traffic, which they carefully kept secret, might
be revealed.

The German explorer carried through his expedition under the greatest
difficulties. He returned home only to succumb soon after to the
extraordinary hardships he had endured.

Fischer’s researches were of special importance in connection with
the ornithology of Masailand.[1] His journey gave to science some
thirty-six hitherto unknown species of birds. Such a result must
indeed command our respect, when we consider the difficulties with
which the traveller had to contend, and especially when we remember
that his available resources were comparatively trifling, beside, for
instance, the abundant help that was at the disposal of the English
explorers of the same period. The Geographical Society of Hamburg
rendered him the service of making the execution of his plans possible,
and for the same object Fischer expended all the money he had earned
in the active practice of his profession as a doctor on the island
of Zanzibar. He saw the activity he had devoted to the service of
scientific ideals richly rewarded by the results he obtained. And then
he had soon to succumb to the treacherous climate. But if his life was
cut short, how quickly the power of the Masai warriors was broken, the
very power that had so harassed him, and made his journey so difficult
and dangerous. That terrible scourge, the cattle plague, probably
introduced from India, suddenly destroyed the greater part of the herds
of the Masai, and at the same time blotted out vast numbers of the
Masai themselves from the list of the living.


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._

A _memento mori_ OF THE AFRICAN VELT.]

       *       *       *       *       *


The fates of these pastoral people and of their property (the countless
herds of cattle) were so closely bound together, and these warlike
herdsmen had become so dependent on their droves of cattle, that once
these were ruined they could not survive, but died in a few days of

In the lapse of little more than a year the cattle plague and the
Black Death had swept over the Masai uplands. Hungry vultures hovered
over scenes of horror. The herds of cattle fell under the strange
pestilence. Agonised by slow starvation, the herdsmen followed them
to death. I have often found lying together, in one narrow space, the
countless white bleached bones of the cattle and the skull of their
former owner. It would be an old camping-ground, with its fence of
thorns (zereba) long rotted away, and it was now a strangely impressive
Golgotha. These heaps of bones, still to be seen in 1897, were soon
after dissolved in dust and scattered by the winds.

Where are the Masai of those days?

Suddenly they stand boldly before me, as if they had sprung up out of
the ground! It is no illusion. But why do my bearers show no fear?
Why does no uproar break out in the camp?


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


It is plain enough that no one troubles himself about the appearance of
these figures, for they come, not threatening and demanding tribute,
but conscious of the overpowering might of the European. True, a few
months ago, not so far from my camp, their warriors surprised and
destroyed a caravan of nearly a thousand coast folk. But, generally
speaking, they do not care to have to reckon with the superior weapons
of Europe. They even accept some food from me. And in this matter
they are not so dainty as they used to be in former times, when the
warriors--obedient to strict dietary laws--lived only on the meat and
milk of their herds. Of course, here we have to deal with only a small
number of them. Yonder, on the wild uplands, there still live a not
inconsiderable number of Masai, who having saved their herds, or got
them together again, keep as far away as may be from the Europeans and
their uncanny weapons.

The Masai warriors, with their wives, children, and herds, seem to
me to be fit accessories for this desert landscape. In the evening,
dances amuse us till late in the night, and many a wordy skirmish
breaks out as some of my bearers who, thanks to former journeys,
have some knowledge of the Masai tongue, gossip with these nomads of
the wilderness. The coast folk think themselves high as the heavens
above the “savage” Masai. The Masai warriors, in return, despise the
burden-bearing coast folk, count them as “barbarians,” and scornfully
call them “il’meek.”

But the times have changed, and so it comes to pass that my people
too join in the dance, which lasts late into the night: that songs
of the warriors and the women--“‘Singōliōitin loo-‘l-muran” and
“Loo-‘ngorōyok”--ring out through the darkness, the chorus finding a
manifold echo with its oft-repeated “Ho! He! Ho! Na! He! Hoo!” It is a
“Leather Stocking” kind of poetry, and indeed the redskins of the New
World and the Masai here in Dark Africa seem to me alike. The former
had to yield to civilisation, the same fate awaits the latter.

No one had the least anxiety about the night. We quietly allowed the
Moran[2] to bivouac near the camp. Our march through the wild highlands
of the Wasotiko and the Wanandi had deadened our sense of such dangers.
We could have no forebodings of the fierce struggle lasting for years
that was yet to come between the English troops and those peoples, or
imagine how warlike and skilled in self-defence they were. The presence
of hundreds of spear- and club-armed warriors in the camp had become
an almost daily experience, and great was the surprise of the English
officers, later on, when they heard that the great caravan, which I
had joined, had had the good fortune to pass through these districts
without any fighting.

For me my serious illness had all at once interrupted the austere and
wild delights of this life of the march and the caravan. But I had now
become doubly responsive to the joys of travel amid light and air,
freedom and endless space; doubly responsive also to the changing
impressions derived from my week of marching through lonely primeval
forests, bamboo thickets, and grassy plains--scenes in which, as my
friend Richard Kandt, the discoverer of the source of the Nile, so
strikingly remarks,[3] every plant, every stone, seems to cry out again
to one in the vast solitude but one word: “The desert! the desert!”


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


In the early morning hours of January 15 there was a light continuous
rainfall. A short march of only two hours brought us to our camping
place on the shore of Lake Nakuro.

Far away extended the panorama of the lake, which lay before us filling
its hollow bed, with its banks at this season of the year yielding
fresh pastures to numberless herds of wild animals, and its waters
affording rest and food to countless members of the feathered tribe.
I had hardly ever seen greater numbers of the pretty little dwarf
gazelles (_Gazella thomsoni_, Gthr.). Thousands and thousands more
of these graceful creatures showed themselves on the fresh, green,
grassy meadows of the lake margin, or scattered over its pebble beds of
obsidian, augite, and pumice-stone. Wherever one turned one’s gaze it
fell again and again upon these beautiful gazelles, which in many ways
reminded one of wild goats at pasture, and were so strangely trustful
that they often allowed the spectator to come quite close to them.
Marked as are the colours of its hairy covering, the dwarf gazelle
does not stand out boldly from the background, whether this be a plain
blackened by bush-fires, or the mere bare ground, dun-coloured and
brown, or land covered with soft green grass. But how clearly defined
are its brown, black, and white, when we look closely at the hide of a
specimen we have secured, or see it in a museum.

Darker spots in the distance far away from us we take to be larger wild
animals. The field-glass shows that they are hartebeests, and a great
number of waterbuck; and still farther off there is a moving mass that
shimmers and is half lost in the glare of the morning sun. There are
zebras, and yet more zebras, moving like living walls! Strange effects
of light actually give us the impression of something like a wall or
rampart, made up of the living forms of the zebras--the deep shadows
they throw come out black, their flanks are lighted up in the dazzling
sunshine, and they shimmer with all colours and with ever-changing

Here by the lake we have the characteristic mark of the wilderness:
dwarf gazelles and zebras, zebras and dwarf gazelles in greater and
greater multitudes! Wherever the eye glances it falls upon these
two species, and the numerous waterbuck and Grant’s gazelles, and
the hundreds of hartebeests, are in a sense mere points of relief
for the sight amidst these vast crowds. Bathed in the shimmering
light this multitude of animals mingles together. Wherever I make my
appearance there is for awhile movement in the mass of wild creatures,
which otherwise are grazing quietly. I have long since left the
camp a considerable distance behind me. I am following One of the
rhinoceros--or hippopotamus--tracks leading to the lake margin,
lost, so to speak, in this multitudinous animal life, and once more
I have the feeling of finding myself, as it were, in the midst of a
vast flock of sheep, and the impression that all the creatures about
me are not “wild beasts,” but rather tame domestic animals that have
been driven out here to graze on the pastures under the supervision of
a herdsman.




  _C. G. Schillings, phot._



The mass of animals surges and undulates to and fro. Some old bulls
of the heavily horned hartebeest species seem to have undertaken the
duty of sentinels. They stand apart fixed and motionless, watching
attentively the strange appearance of the approaching man, and then
make away in a long striding gallop, with heads bent well down, to
increase the distance between themselves and the suspicious object,
ready all the while to give the alarm signal for a general stampede
by loud snorting. In this district we do not find the flat-horned
hartebeest of the Kilimanjaro (_Bubalis cokei_, Gthr.), but the species
named after its discoverer, Jackson (_Bubalis jacksoni_). Long and
stately horns distinguish this variety of a remarkably formed species
of antelope, which is widely distributed throughout Darkest Africa.
To my great delight I succeeded in bringing down a specimen of a much
more interesting species, Neumann’s hartebeest[4] (_Bubalis neumanni_,
Rothsch.), then only known by one or two examples.



  _C. G. Schillings, phot._



  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


Overwhelming in its vastness, its rich variety of colour, form, and
movement is the picture of animal life thus displayed.

Moving along the hollows of the plateau hour after hour, looking out
from its ridges, now with the field-glass, now with unaided sight,
I find the whole grassy expanse covered with these wild creatures.
Hundreds and hundreds more of zebras alternate with larger or smaller
herds of Grant’s gazelles. Near them, but keeping apart, and all around
them the dwarf gazelles are swarming. Here and there one sees the
proudly uplifted head of a stately waterbuck, adorned with splendid
branching horns, and not far off his hornless doe, both of them in
form and action greatly reminding one of the stag, of our northern
lands. Occasionally the eye catches sight of splendid black-plumed
cock ostriches here and there on the plateau. They watch the traveller
carefully, and are accompanied by their mates, which are very much more
difficult for the eye to make out owing to their plain grey plumage. On
all sides there are whole herds of brown hartebeests grazing, resting,
or making for some more distant spot with their characteristic long
striding gallop. And now one suddenly comes upon a herd of giant eland
antelopes, brownish yellow, and adorned with white cross-stripes.
Conscious of their mighty strength, there is not much shyness about
them; but they know not the danger they run from the long-range weapon
of the European.

Think of all this animal life, bathed in the fulness of the tropical
sunlight! All depths and shades of colour play before our eyes.
Strongly cast shadows, ever changing with the position of the sun,
alter again and again the whole appearance of this world of life, and
from minute to minute it presents new riddles to any one who has not
had years of experience in the wilderness. When the glittering light
of the midday hours is tiring and confusing the sight, one often can
hardly tell for certain whether it be a living multitude stretching
out in the distance before one, or whether the play of the sunlight is
imparting a semblance of life to scattered clumps of thorn bushes.

Four rhinoceroses which I now descry moving across the plain in the
distance, and a flock of ostriches which I can plainly make out
with the field-glass, change shape and colour so often that it is
astonishing to see them. According to their movements and position with
respect to the sun they appear to be of a blending blue and grey, or
intensely black, and then again almost invisible and the colour of the
earth, but always changing, always different from what they were the
moment before.

To realise all this one must in fancy place oneself in the condition
of exaggerated susceptibility to nervous excitement that results from
the intensity of the light, together with the climate, and the unusual
degree of hardship. All this produces the greater effect because one
has to do one’s work in solitude and loneliness, and is cut off from
all interchange of ideas with one’s fellows.

Here, where the flora makes so poor a display, the fauna is abundant.
What a sight it affords for the ornithologists!


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


Amongst the herds of zebras our European stork together with its
smaller African cousin, the Abdim stork, is stalking in hundreds
over the plain hunting for locusts. In company with the storks I
saw also great flocks of the handsome crested crane engaged in the
same occupation. Or they rose in heavy flocks over the valleys with
loud and strangely discordant cries. Under the scanty shadows of the
mimosas the splendid giant bustards take their stand at midday, erect,
solemn, stiff-necked. At this time they are not very wary, but in the
coolness of the morning and in the evening hours they soon get away
to a safe distance, either running with their quick mincing step, or
spreading their strong pinions for a short flight along the ground.
Their smaller relative, _Otis gindiana_, Oust., rose before me in the
air, often throwing somersaults on the wing like a tumbler pigeon.
There is hardly any other bird of its size that has such a mastery of
flight. Sea-eagles circled by the margin of the lake uttering their
beautiful clear-sounding cries. Heedless of their presence thousands
of splendid rose-red flamingoes soared up into the deep blue dome
of the sky, or lined the margin of Nakuro, like a garland of living
lake-roses, in company with great flocks of ducks, geese, and waterside
birds of many kinds. Out of the clumps of acacias, and from between
the thickets of ‘msuaki bush by the lake, guinea fowl and francolins
rise, strung out in clattering flying lines, and in the morning hours
handsome sandfowl that have come from far-off regions of the plateau
sail by the margin of the lake. Altogether an overwhelmingly rich
picture of warmly pulsating life and activity! The sight of it all is
indeed quite capable of impressing one with the idea of flocks of
wild creatures that have been completely tamed; and once this idea has
suggested itself, the impression is so strong that for many minutes one
can believe in it!

Amidst all this wealth of “wild” life, which here seems hardly to
deserve the name of “wild,” it is much easier to understand how
primitive man in other continents gradually secured domestic animals
for his use, from the vast range of choice thus presented to him.

But a strange feeling comes over the observer when he remembers that
out of all this wealth of animal life the African has never been able
to link one single creature permanently to himself. He obtained his
cattle and also his goats and sheep from Asia. The camel may be left
out of account, for its connection with the human race is lost in the
mystery of primitive times. We may say that the fauna of Africa has not
given a single species to the group of our domestic animals. It is sad
and humiliating to reflect that the men of to-day cannot accomplish
what was done in the dim past--granted that it took endless ages in the

There were times, as I have said, when I could not get rid of this
impression of _tame_ herds of animals. And this was all in a land, and
a district, that left one nothing to desire in the way of primitive
wildness. What, then, must it have been in early days when man was
not yet waylaying the beasts of the wilderness, or at least had not
yet employed the poisoned dart and spear, the pitfall and the snare?
It must have been a veritable Garden of Eden. But here, far and wide,
there is nothing to be seen of man, only something that evokes
conjectures as to his former presence.


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


For suddenly from a height I notice a number of large mounds, formed
of stones, such as only the hand of man could have built up. Under the
secure protection of these masses of rock--rough hillocks of heaped up
stones--men, who were once chiefs and elders of the Masai, sleep their
everlasting sleep. Their resting-places have been so placed that they
are not visible from any considerable distance, but are hidden away
in the hollows of the ground. Out there in the wilderness, beneath
the bright blue sky, these simple old monuments speak to me most
impressively of the mighty harmony of everlasting change. As chance
will have it, I find not far from the graves a human skull shining
brightly in the sunlight and resting on a projecting rock. It must
have lain here very long, as if keeping a look out on the old tomb of
ol ‘loiboni, the departed “wizards” of the Masai. The empty eye-holes
stare at the ancient grave.

But this symbol of the least is not obedient to the spell of death
that whispers here all night long, for it has had to give shelter and
protection to the rearing up of new life. As my hand grasps the skull,
now brittle with decay, a family of mice takes to flight from inside
of it. They had set up their home in this bony palace, and built their
nest there.

And as if the Masai, resting probably for centuries under these heaps
of stone, had left their herds to me, once more there surges around me
this sea of animals. Near at hand they are sharply defined against the
ground, but farther off in the glittering light they grow indefinite.
How the whole flood of life contrasts with the grim volcanic barrenness
of the landscape!

At this moment my impression of vast shepherd-guarded herds is deepened
by the sudden appearance of some spotted hyenas, scattering among the
volcanic pebble beds, and then running away over the plain, and seeming
to play the part of the shepherds’ dogs.

But where are the herdsmen of all these herds? Immediately there comes
an answer to my question. Yonder, by the margin of the lake, in the
distance, I see little wreaths of smoke rising. The idea they give me
of herdsmen on the watch is to be quickly dissipated by a report, not
a loud one, followed by puffs of powder-smoke that vanish quickly in
the air. The shooting does not disturb the animals that surround me.
But then the report is hardly audible, the little puffs of smoke barely
perceptible to the eye. I must find out who is disturbing the peace. It
is perhaps a caravan making for the Victoria Nyanza. For we are upon
the new “road” to the lake--a road which is indeed still in the region
of projects, but which soon will be plainly marked with railway metal.

The smoke puffs appear at markedly regular intervals and as quickly
disappear. I cannot understand it. For a long time I keep my attention
anxiously fixed on these proceedings, all the while hurrying towards
this remarkable apparition. At last my field-glasses enable me to
descry a man, who from time to time drops on one knee to take aim.


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


What in the world is he after?

As we draw closer, I am extremely surprised at seeing that the man does
not allow himself to be in the least disturbed in his proceedings. Now
his bullets begin to whistle unpleasantly near me. I fire in the air,
once, twice.... Now his attention is attracted, and simultaneously I
perceive a number of dark objects near the marksman. They seem to be
his companions, black men, and squatting on the ground.

From the background there emerge now great numbers of such objects--it
must be a large caravan.

The distance between us is diminished so that one can see plainly....
Now we can shout to each other.... At last I learn that the hunter is
marching with his long caravan of bearers to the great lake. He has
been putting out all his exertions to shoot some wild animals. But
although he has many surprisingly interesting hunting adventures to
tell of as the result of his three months’ march from the coast to
this point, that task seems to have been beyond his powers! With a
well-aimed shot he has stretched on the ground just one single dwarf

After shaking hands, he bewails the fact that he has a rifle that
shoots so baldly. He says its system is absolutely worthless,
especially against wild animals.

Our fleeting acquaintance is broken off in a few minutes. He is the
first newly arrived European that I have met for a long time, but I
have not too much sympathy for this class of sportsmen. So my new
acquaintance goes off, still blazing away freely. He has been urged on
by my information that his camping and watering, place for the day
is a long way off, and that the borders of the lake seem to me to be

A queer kind of shepherd, in truth, for these wild herds! I fear
he would be very like a wolf, or rather--to be zoologically and
geographically precise--a leopard, in sheep’s clothing!

Again I was alone; the disturber of my peace had not frightened away
the animals. So, as I was regaining strength rapidly, I decided to
halt here for a few days. This meant having to provide for oneself in
the most primitive way, for I was short of some of the most necessary
provisions and supplies. But in such conditions the decision was not
difficult to take. I shall not easily forget the days I spent there.

The plateau of the volcanic lakes Naiwasha, Elementeita and Nakuro,
standing nearly 6,000 feet above the sea, presents to the spectator all
the austere, stern, and strange charm peculiar to the Masai uplands.

Some ten years have gone by since that expedition of mine, and all
is now changed. Up to that time only the natives had lived in these
districts. Few Europeans had penetrated into these solitudes; but now
a track of iron rails links the Indian Ocean with the Central African
Lake basin, and the shrill whistle of the locomotive sounds in the
equatorial wilderness. Wherever the influence of the railway extends,
the Masai, whom I then learned to know, have disappeared. Reservations
have been assigned to them, like the Indians of North America.


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


My former companion on my travels, Alfred Kaiser, describes, not
without a certain feeling of sadness, how he saw them once more,
not long, ago, under these new conditions, already to a great extent
changed by European influence--and changed in a way that was not at all
to their advantage. Using, instead of the beautiful Masai dialects,
some mangled fragments of English, they scornfully refused objects of
barter that were eagerly coveted ten years ago, and insisted on coined
money. They no longer wore their native ornaments, but were dressed in
European second-hand clothes. In a word they were stripped of all the
wild and primitive beauty that had once distinguished them.

It is a hard fate, when a rude aboriginal people is all of a sudden
brought into touch with those of a high degree of civilisation.

As the former lord of the land[5] was deprived of his rights, so the
same fate, more or less, befalls the splendid animal world that lends
its charm to these solitudes.

But then--ten years ago! I had been given back to life after sharp
suffering, and all that I was now allowed to see in such rich abundance
spoke to me in a more than ordinarily impressive language, a language
that seemed to me to have an enduring charm.

And how clearly must this language have sounded in the times of the
primitive past!

So we may here attempt a picture of the wild life of the lake margin
in former days, on the lines of the sketches I have already traced out
of the life and activity of the wild herds of the plateau, as I still
could see them....

Out of the many memories of those days, that still work on me like
magic, there is one above all that has a special meaning, for me:

But what is “Elelescho”? the reader will ask. “Elelescho”[6] is the
name of a peculiar plant, perhaps it would be more correct to say a
bush, that has in many ways set its mark on the flora in the very
heart of the Masai region. Ranges of hills covered with silvery-leafed
Elelescho, the spicy smell of Elelescho, the water at the camping place
redolent of Elelescho--and also, in consequence, tea, coffee, cocoa
tasting of Elelescho--that is a memory that remains fixed firmly in
one’s thoughts of this home of the wild herds and of the Masai. It Was
these disappearing nomads who gave the bush its beautiful name.

Possibly the musical sound of the name has not a little to do with
reconciling us in memory to the plant. For the bush itself has in
process of time monotonous effect not very to the senses, but for
this very reason all the stronger and more enduring. Its character is
connected by strong links of memory with our experiences of those days,
and the sound of its name awakes rose-coloured recollections. For just
as it is not given to man to remember exactly the nature of intense
bodily pains, so fancy, looking backwards, kindly blots out much that
was hard and little that was pleasant in the life we have led. Thus
it is that this strange bush, with its silver-grey leaves and aromatic
odour, is capable, as hardly anything else is, of awakening in the mind
of the traveller a kind of nostalgia--nostalgia for the wilderness, to
which he is drawn by so much of beauty and of hardship. We have gained
very little by learning that botanists recognise our plant as one of
the Compositæ, and name it _Tarchonantus camphoratus_, L. It is to be
found also in other parts of Africa; and Professor Fritsch reported,
as early as 1863, that he found it growing in Griqualand, then still
an unsettled country, where it was called the “Mohatla.” It would be
a pity if its beautifully sounding Masai name were not preserved for
future times, and I must do my best to save “Elelescho” from such


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


One must have learned the word with its sweet-sounding pronunciation
from the lips of a proud, handsome, slender Masai warrior in order to
understand how so seemingly slight a thing can imbue one’s impression
of a whole land.

The Elelescho is as prominent in those regions as the oak and beech
or fir in Germany, or as the juniper, the heath, and the broom, and
has the same influence on the landscape. But it has a greater and
deeper influence upon the imagination, because it so dominates those
solitudes, that to him who has long travelled in them the mere memory
of it evokes a vivid picture of their once familiar aspect. The strong
scent of the Elelescho plant leads the Masai to wear the leaves of the
bush as a decoration round their ears for the sake of its perfume. It
belongs thus to the plants that because of their scent are used as
ornaments by warriors and maidens: “Il-käk ooitaa ‘l muran oo ‘n----
doiye ‘l---- orôpili.”[7] So there pass before us Masai maidens, and
Masai warriors decked with Elelescho leaves and Elelescho branches,
and received with sympathetic smiles by the caravan leaders--who,
however, unlike the Masai, think very little of it. Very simple and
naïve are the relations of these natives with nature around them. Only
the obvious, the actually useful, comes into their thoughts, and for
my black companions the Elelescho always recalls only memories of poor
desert regions of the waste--regions in which they must often endure
hunger and suffer many hardships. Far different is the influence of
the Elelescho region on my feelings. For me this bush is symbolically
linked with the plunge into uninhabited solitudes, with self-liberation
from the pressure of the civilisation of modern men and all its haste
and hurry.

We wish to feel once more, and to give ourselves up fully to, the spell
of the Elelescho--the charm of the Elelescho thickets, that are also in
South Africa in the lands about the Cape the characteristic mark of the
velt, now so lonely, but once alive with hundreds of thousands of wild

A wonderful night has come on.

The moon--in a few days it will be at the full--sheds its beams in
glittering splendour over Lake Nakuro.

The little camp is soon wrapped in silence. The weary bearers sink into
deep and well-earned slumber. Only the sentries, pushed far out, are
on the alert. It was but a few days since the rebel Wakamassia
hillmen were a source of danger to us, and nightly precautions are
not yet forgotten. The moonbeams flicker ghost-like over the lake.
Night-jars give forth their songs close to the camp all round us.
Strange sounds and cries ring out from the throats of the waterfowl
on the lake margins, and not far away one hears the snorting of the
hippopotami. Jackals and spotted hyenas prowl round the camp, betraying
themselves by their voices. The hyena’s howl and jackal’s wailing bark
mingle strangely with the deep bass note of a bull-hippopotamus. Here
in the wilderness there is hardly any sound that is louder than the
mighty voice of these giants of the water.[8]


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._



  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


A strange feeling came over me. Amid all the ever-varying sensations of
the last year my capacity for enjoyment, my sensitiveness to outside
impressions, had been developed and enhanced. A short time since I was
between life and death, struggling with the treacherous infection of
fever. Now I was well. I was breathing the air some three thousand feet
higher than the place where I lay ill near Victoria Nyanza. I was again
in a region whose vast volcanic solitudes contrasted strongly with its
abundance of highly developed organic life, and exercised a strange
influence upon me.

Is there such a place as Europe? Is it possible that thousands of miles
away there is a centre of civilisation whose teeming millions would
fain imprint their image on the whole earth, and even lay covetous
hands on this far-off wilderness, and that in time this must happen?

A world of which I myself am a unit! How strange that I can delight
so deeply in all this wild charm! And how quickly the wishes of men
change! A while ago, in the long nights of fever, I had but one
desire--that my heart, my heart alone, should not be buried in a
foreign soil, but be taken back to the Fatherland.

And now, only a few weeks after my recovery, how different seems to me
all I may hope for from Fate, and how much more complex, how much more
difficult to accomplish!

I yield myself up entirely to the spell of the wilderness, to the mood
of the night.

That was ten years ago, before the Europeans had banished it--when it
ached on the senses like the nocturne of some great tone-poet. But I
know well that to-day it is no longer in existence; Lake Nakuro is now
only a lake like any other, and the railway whistle wakes its echoes.

That night the spell must have been exceptionally strong. It seemed to
me as though I were under some charm, as if I were carried back into
the far-off times. There came before my mind much of what the lake
had seen in the long vanished past. The lands around me heaved and
quaked. Mighty earth-shaping forces were doing their work. I seemed to
see before my eyes what happened here in primeval times--how volcanic
forces, strange, boundless, and terrible, had built up and given
form to the country around me here, destroying all living things, and
yet at the same time preparing the conditions for the hotly pulsating
waves of life of later days. In my mind I saw pass before me wondrous
mighty forms of the animal world of the past, long since extinct.
Then--suddenly I started up. What was that?


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._



A loud trumpeting ran in my ears! Elephants! Were there still extant
such herds of elephants as those that I saw coming down there to the
lake to drink, rolling themselves in the mud of its banks, and openly
making friends with the hippopotami? Just as in the daytime I had
noticed the different kinds of antelopes and the zebras, so here I saw
again the elephants and hippopotami living their life close together,
moving round or beside each other without fear or hesitation. The
herd, numbering many hundred heads, was guided to its drinking-place
silently and slowly by its aged leader, a female elephant of most
exceptional size. Many young elephants were there in company with their
mothers. Some very little ones, only a few weeks old, played with their
comrades, or knowingly imitated the movements of the older animals in
the water, while the old ones took care to prevent the tender young
creatures from taking any harm.

But it all seemed somehow impossible! Veterans among the most
experienced black elephant-hunters had assured me that such huge
herds were not to be met with. And if I saw aright in the shimmering
moonlight, what a great mass of hippopotami were moving about there
before me! And now, paying, no attention to the elephants that were
peacefully bathing farther out in the muddy water, they clambered on
to the land, and began to graze like cows on the bank among some more
of the elephants. It was exactly the same friendly relation that
I had seen between the dwarf gazelles and the zebras during the day.
Could I be only dreaming? Such a multitude of huge creatures here close
to my camp--it could hardly be a reality!



  _C. G. Schillings, phot._




  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


And now I perceived that a second herd of elephants, some hundreds
strong, was approaching the water. In a straight line these still more
giant-like colossi came down to the lake margin--all of them, as I
now clearly perceived, bulls with mighty tusks, and amongst them some
quite enormous tuskers, obviously patriarchs of the herd, and carrying
some hundreds of pounds’ weight of ivory that glittered afar in the

The two herds greeted each other with their curious cries, difficult to
describe, and then the newcomers began to bathe and drink.

My attention was especially arrested by some of the elephants, clearly
visible in the moonlight, keeping apart from the rest. Standing
together in pairs they caressed each other with their trunks, while
the enormous ears which are such an imposing decoration of the African
elephant stood out from their heads, so as to make them look larger
than ever.

My wonder increases! Numerous herds of giraffes, hundreds strong,
come down to the lake, and this, too, not far from the elephants, and
without any fear.

And now there is again a new picture! A herd of innumerable buffaloes.
With their great formidable heads turned watchfully towards the
rest of the crowd, they too are coming for a refreshing bath. Their
numbers still increase. It is a sight recalling, surpassing even, the
descriptions given by the first travellers over the velt regions of
Cape Colony.

How did all this accord with the reports I had received of the scarcity
of elephants? with the destruction of the buffalo by the cattle
plague? With my own previous experiences? The most authoritative of my
informants had assured me that in this district the elephant was to be
found very rarely, the buffalo hardly ever!

Suddenly with mysterious swiftness the night is gone, and the day
breaks. I search for and find the tracks of my giant guests of the
night. I had made no mistake. Monstrous footprints are sharply
impressed in the mud, the ground looks as it had been ploughed up,
and in the midst of the plain, not very far from the lake, there are
actually hundreds of mighty elephants standing near some ol-girigiri
acacias. As I begin to watch them, they suddenly become restless. In
their noiseless way they make off at an extremely quick rate, and soon
disappear behind the nearest ridge.

Round about me I see herds of zebras, hartebeests, and wild animals of
all kinds in vaster numbers even than those yesterday. The deep bellow
of the wild buffalo breaks upon my ear. I can see long-necked towering
giraffes in the acacia thickets. The snorting of numerous hippopotami
sounds from the lake. Some of these burly fellows are sunning
themselves on its margin; and quite close to them several rhinoceroses
are grazing peacefully in the midst of their uncouth cousins.

I am surprised, too, at seeing a troop of lions disappearing into the
bush, after having made a visit to the water. They are so close to
me that I can plainly see by the shape of their bodies that they are
going home after having had an abundant repast.


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


The behaviour of my people puzzles me. I had no opportunity for
questioning them as to why they were not more impressed by this
unexpected spectacle, for my attention was suddenly arrested by the
appearance of a lengthy caravan of bearers, that seemed as if it had
emerged before my eyes from the trampled ground. There is new life
and movement among the herds of wild animals. Slowly, defiantly, or
in swift-footed fear, each according to its kind, all these wonderful
creatures seek safety from the approaching crowd.

A robust negro marches at the head of the caravan. He carries a white
flag inscribed all over with texts from the Koran. Hundreds of bearers
come steadily in. Each carries a load of nearly ninety pounds’ weight,
besides his cooking gear, sleeping-mat, gun and powder-horn. At regular
intervals grave-looking, bearded Arabs march among the bearers. Two
stately figures, riding upon asses and surrounded by an armed escort,
are evidently the chiefs, and a great drove of asses with pack-saddles
laden with elephant tusks brings up the rear. Very quickly the numerous
party establish their camp, and I now remark that hundreds of the
bearers are also laden with ivory. It is clearly a caravan of Arab

After the usual greetings--“Sabal kher” (“God bless thee”), and “Salaam
aleikum,” questions are asked in the Swahili language: “Habari ghani?”
(“What news?”) I now learn that the party of travellers set out some
two years ago from Pangani on the coast to trade for ivory in the
Masai country. I am surprised to hear the Arabs tell how, although
theirs is one of the first caravans that have made the attempt, they
have penetrated far into the inhospitable and perilous lands of the
Masai. Their journey has been greatly delayed, for they have had to
fight many battles with the Wachenzi, the aborigines of the districts
through which they marched. “But Allah was with us, and the Unbelievers
had the worst of it! Allah is great, and Mohammed is his prophet!”

Every one set busily to work. In the turn of a hand the camp was
surrounded with a thorny zereba hedge, and made secure.

And now I had personal experience of what has passed, times without
number, in the broad lands of the Masai;--armed detachments from the
caravan started on raids for far-off districts. The timid Wandorobo,
that strange subject tribe of the Masai, brought more and more ivory
to the camp to sell it to the traders, after long and obstinate
bargaining. It was remarkable how clever were the people of the caravan
in dealing with these timid wild folk, and how well they knew how to
gain their confidence.[9] This confidence, however, was not made use of
in trade and barter for the advantage of the natives. But thanks to the
methods and ways of managing the natives, as the traders understood
them, we saw that the wild folk were quite satisfied, and this was the
main point.


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


But what patience is required in trade of this kind! A white man could
never develop such Oriental patience. Again and again a tusk would be
endlessly bargained over, till at last, often after days of chaffering,
it passed into the possession of the caravan. The natives were of
course bent on getting the tusks, sooner or later, into the camp. At
the very outset they had sent in a most exact description of them, and
then envoys from the caravan had to go and inspect them, often at a
distance of several days’ march from the camp.

Every day a great number of Masai warriors appeared in the camp. Men
belonging to many kraals, owners of great herds of cattle, camped near
the lake. There were not infrequent skirmishes, especially at night
time. The young warriors, the Moran, made attempts at plunder, and were
beaten off with broken heads. But, on the whole, this hardly disturbed
the good understanding. “It is their testuri (custom),” thought the
experienced and fatalistic coast folk, and they accepted it as an
unavoidable incident of the trade. But festivals were also arranged,
with dance and song. In the still moonlit nights the strange chant
rang out in a high treble far over the plain, and sounded in the rocky
hills, and festivity and rejoicing reigned among the warriors, the
girls, and the women.

But by day one saw their busy life displayed, all the bucolic poetry
of grazing herds of cattle with their spear-armed herdsmen. There was
a great deal to be done, and in each and every task the Masai girls
and women showed themselves, like the men, excellent guardians and
attendants of their herds.

In the neighbourhood of the Masai kraals the wild animals of the plain
mingled freely with the tame cattle of the Masai, knowing well that the
Masai folk would not shoot them. The wild animals were exposed only to
the attacks of the Wandorobo. But these latter bore themselves very
shyly in the presence of their over-lords, the Masai, and went off to
far distant hunting grounds, so that the wild animals were hardly ever
disturbed by a hunter.

The young Masai warriors also began to devote themselves to hunting
for ivory. With great courage, and often with no small display of
dexterity, they killed a large number of elephants, allured by the
high prices offered by the caravans. But they kept the beautiful
tusks carefully hidden, buried in the earth till the moment when they
had successfully arranged a sale. The buried treasure was easy to
conceal. At the place where the tusks were put away the grass was set
on fire and burned up over a considerable area, and then no eye could
distinguish the slightest indication of the buried treasure.

The Elmoran also made use of a method of hunting which is employed in
other parts of Africa, namely, to slip quietly up to an elephant, and
with a single powerfully delivered sword-cut sever the tendon Achilles.
But few indeed were daring enough to attempt this, and these were
strong, brave, and well-trained warriors. Such an exploit won for them
high respect among their comrades of the clan.


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._



  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


While the Masai warriors thus took their share in elephant-killing, and
the Wandorobo stuck to their long, trusted poisoned darts and poisoned
spears, the caravan folk attacked the elephants with powder and iron
bullets,[10] and slew whole hecatombs of them.

“Nowadays,” the leader of the caravan told me, “the chase is easier
and less dangerous, and your firearms also give the man from the coast
the power of hunting and killing the Fihl (elephant). For example, you
know, sir, that my half-brother, Seliman bin Omari, is not a practised
hunter. And yet, believe me, he and his people have brought down many,
many elephants.”

But his banker on the coast, the Hindoo Radda Damja, certainly never
hears one word of any elephant being killed by Seliman’s people:

“No one is so clever as he is at knowing nothing about elephants when
questions are asked. The ivory is always something traded for with the
natives, far, far away in the interior,” he adds, with a cunning wink.
“The main point is that we all get pembe (ivory), and he gets plenty of
it! I would like to work the business as he does, but, sir, I am not so
clever in preparing amulets, and moreover, I don’t know as much as he
does of the ways of the elephant.

“But it’s a pity that in all parts of the country the ivory is becoming
very scarce, so one has to be going always farther into the interior,
and one must try to find new ivory districts.”

Thus my Arab informant talked a long time with me. He told me much that
was interesting and much that was new to me. He told me of caravans
that had been massacred, cut off to the last man by the natives in
remote districts: and again of caravans that had been not one or
two,--no, as long as six years on the march, that had buried a lot of
ivory and gradually got it down to the coast. Time counts for nothing
here, for the people--that is to say, those who are not slaves--receive
only the one lump sum agreed upon for the journey, no matter how
long it lasts. His friends, with caravans mustering many hundreds,
had carried hundreds and hundreds of barrels of gunpowder into the
interior, they had sought everywhere for new districts abounding in
ivory, and the result had been the slaughter of the elephants on all
sides. Nevertheless he had not much to tell me of men having enriched
themselves by this trade. However, this did not apply to the traders
on the coast, who advanced the money. These lent money to the caravan
leaders, who went into the interior, at the high rate of interest usual
in the East, and thus became rich men. They had, of course, also many
losses. It happened not seldom that one of their debtors was “lost” in
the interior, which means that he simply did not come back, but chose
to pass the rest of his life in exile. And in that case it would be a
difficult matter for the creditor to take proceedings against him.


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


Then my informant told me how many of the elephant hunters still living
had been carrying on their business already for a long time before any
Europeans whatever thought of making a prolonged stay in the country.
He told me also much that was interesting about the old trade routes
extending far through Africa, and even to the Congo. He had friends
and relatives who had already traversed these routes many times, and
journeyed from the east coast even to the Congo, long before any
European traveller. Many of the people of his caravan were able to tell
from memory each day’s journey as far as the Congo, and give exact
information about the chiefs who held sway in each district, and the
possibility of getting supplies of various kinds of provisions, such as
maize, millet, bananas, or other products of the country.

I cannot exactly say how long he had talked with me about elephants
and elephant-hunting, about the ivory trade, and many other things.
I only know one thing--that after some time his talk became more and
more difficult for me to understand, that I strove in vain against an
ever-increasing weariness, and that at last I saw neither the Arab nor
the caravan--in a word, saw nothing more, felt nothing more.

I fell into a deep sleep in which, in my dreams, I had a lively
argument with some Europeans, who would not believe so many elephants,
buffaloes, and other wild animals had formerly been here, and who kept
on objecting strongly that it was impossible that all this could have
been the case so short a time ago.

When I woke up again I found myself in my lounging-chair, a primitive
piece of furniture of my own construction. My black servant stood
before me, and asked me if I would not rather go to bed.

I rubbed my eyes--it had all been a dream, then; the spell of Elelescho
must have inspired me with it. How foolish to yield to this spell! But
men will perhaps so yield to it when all this has become “historical”
and the Masai and their lives and deeds have, like the Redskins of
America, found their Fenimore Cooper.

Then may the spell of the Elelescho exert its rightful power; then may
it make famous the slender, sinewy, noble Masai ol-morani as, amidst
his fair ones, his “doiye,”[11] he leads the song-accompanied dance
as he goes out to war, and reigns the free lord of the wilderness!
But to-day he bears on his brow the significant mark of an inexorable
fate--that of the last of the Mohicans.

The spell of the Elelescho has departed from Lake Nakuro, once so
remote from the world.

The lake is no longer remote.

Iron railway lines link it with the Indian Ocean. Vanished from it is
the spell that I once felt both waking and sleeping; gone is the poetry
of the elephant herds, the Masai, the Wandorobo, and the caravan life
in all its aspects; gone all that I saw there. The traveller, if he
would learn to know the primitive life and ways, whether of men or of
the animal world, if he would know the primeval harmony that speaks
to him in an overpowering language peculiar to itself, must press on
into the wilderness farther away from these tracks. This harmony,
whose special character is day by day disappearing, day by day is in
an ever increasing measure destroyed, cannot be recalled under the
new, the coming system, the system that abandons itself to
restlessness--that, in a word, which we call modern industry, modern



  _C. G. Schillings, phot._




  _C. G. Schillings, phot._



  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


To-day one may perhaps read in the _East African Gazette_ that Mr.
Smith, the railway engineer, favoured by extraordinary luck on a
hunting expedition, has seen one solitary bull elephant not far from
Lake Nakuro! This is something quite out of the ordinary, and Mr.
Smith is to be congratulated. Unfortunately his efforts during many
years to have even one young East African elephant sent to London have
been without any result. A young animal is no longer to be found. In
the same number of this newspaper, under another heading, we read the
report that the export of ivory this year by the Uganda Railway has
been utterly disappointing; the quantity carried has been terribly
small, hardly worth mentioning!

I had a talk lately with a travelling companion who had spent some time
with me in the wilderness ten years ago, and who had just revisited
those distant lands, availing himself of the railway. Alfred Kaiser, a
widely travelled man, recalled to me the life we had lived together,
when there was yet hardly a trace of European influence among the
people of the interior by Lake Victoria. In memory we saw again the
inhabitants of then hardly known Sotikoland receiving us mistrustfully
on their frontier, thousands strong. Their glittering spears sparkle in
the morning sun; chiefs, ministers, and court ladies of the Wakawiróndo
appear in camp in most primitive costume; club-armed warriors regard us
with the most open distrust; cowry shells and artificial pearls form
their costume and are used as their money; sudden attacks and fighting
are quite in the order of the day.

And now, only ten years later, Kaiser has seen the Masai at Lake
Nakuro, English-speaking caricatures of civilisation.

A feeling of something like resentment comes upon the traveller who has
had to pay toll for his journey with the ceaseless sweat of his brow,
when he thinks that now any one can reach Lake Nakuro in a few days
from the coast. It is true that the over-anxious globe-trotter is kept
in check by only too well justified fears of the treacherous malaria
and the sleeping-sickness that has made such terrible progress of late.
Otherwise the railway journey from Mombassa to the Victoria Nyanza, and
then down the Nile to Cairo, would be a much-travelled route.

I have tried to describe, in brief outline, the rapid, unwelcome change
of our time, the result of European civilisation forcing its way in. As
I describe things, so they were half a century ago, and even yet ten
years ago, when I stayed by the shores of Nakuro, and no railway had
yet been made there.

To-day one can no longer find the old spell of the Elelescho there, or
anywhere else where the white man has penetrated.

The traveller probably sees only a shrubby plant.

It covers many a ridge, and the lonely plains of the uplands, and
sends afar its spicy perfume. The botanists call it _Tarchonantus
camphoratus_, L. They class it among the Compositæ.


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


But here it can no longer exercise any spell.

That has flown far, far away, into the interior. There, where the white
man has not yet come, it still prolongs its existence.

How long, yet will it be before it has entirely departed?



  (From L. Reinhardt’s work _Der Mensch zur Eiszeit in Europa_.)]


From the Cave-dweller’s Sketch to the Flashlight Photograph

The mysterious charm of wild nature, undisturbed, almost untouched, by
the hand of man,--the charm inherent in all that I have in mind when I
talk of “the spell of the Elelescho”--explains the keen and profound
interest with which my pictures of animal life were received at home.

In these days, when even electricity has been harnessed by men, there
is a feeling that the knell has been sounded of all that is wild,
be it man or beast. And however unpretending and inadequate the
little pictures might be that I had won from the wilderness, yet all
nature-lovers felt that they had here before them authentic, first-hand
records revealing secrets which the eye of man had never before looked
upon, or had had but scant opportunity for studying.

These pictures were the first to show really wild animals in full
freedom, just as they actually live their life on velt and marsh-land,
in bush, forest, air, and water. They showed nature in its unalloyed
reality, and therefore a peculiar stamp of truth and beauty must have
imprinted itself upon them. They came, too, as a surprise, for in many
points the hitherto accepted representations of the animal world and
those given by my photographs did not agree.

Mere subject counts for so much in a picture with most people that
it takes them a long time to appreciate a work of art the subject
of which does not at the first glance appeal to them. This applies
peculiarly to my African photographs. It is not a very easy matter
for the eye to grasp the movements of the varying forms of animal
life in their natural freedom. Often their appearance is so blended
with their surroundings that it requires long practice to distinguish
the individual characteristics of each, the fleeting graces of their
momentary aspects.

I could not, therefore, help feeling a certain apprehension that every
one would not at once be able to understand and decipher my pictures in
my book, _With Flashlight and Rifle_. It is necessary when one looks
at them to understand, in some degree, how to read between the lines;
one must make an effort to grasp their more elusive features; in short,
one must devote oneself to the study of them with a certain gusto, a
certain intelligence. There was a further difficulty arising from the
fact that the illustrations could be reproduced only by a process in
which unfortunately much of the finer detail of the originals is lost.
The use of the process, however, was necessary for various reasons.

There can be only two ways of securing the best possible result in
the execution of pictures of such subjects. The ideal method would be
for heaven-sent artists, after years of study, to give us works of
this class, and combine in these masterpieces the strictest truth with
the finest craftsmanship. But this requires a thorough study of each
separate species of animal seen from afar and at close quarters--and
how is this possible, seeing that one gets only momentary glimpses?
The other method is that of photography, the picture on the negative,
which can claim the advantage of documentary accuracy, and at the same
time leaves a certain scope for the artistic sense of the operator. So
the greatly improved photographic methods of to-day can step in, at
least as a substitute and makeshift, in the absence of works of art
such as the genius of one man may give us. Considering the extreme
difficulty of taking portraits of living animals in their wild, timid
state, such pictures can only in a few instances lay claim to technical
photographic perfection. But at least so far as my own taste goes, a
certain lack of sharp definition in the picture (often deliberately
sought for in taking other objects) is not only no disadvantage, but is
even desirable. As a confirmation of this idea of mine, I may mention
the opinion of an American journalist, who declares that my picture of
a herd of wild animals given on page 327 of _With Flashlight and Rifle_
to be the most perfect thing of the kind he has seen, and the most
pleasing to him, and compares it to the work of a Corot.


It must be noted that _if the animals are drawn so as to stand out
separated from the landscape which is a needful accessory of the
picture, and brought forward into the foreground in an obviously
selected pose, they must appear unnatural to the eye of the expert_.
Such pictures cannot fail to give an unnatural impression, for in the
freedom of the wilderness the animal world never presents itself in
this way to the eyes of man. In their full significance as masterpieces
of nature, all the various aspects of the animal world are first
manifested to us in close connection with their environment. It has
been a keen satisfaction to me to find that many world-renowned artists
have appreciated warmly the beauty of these photographs, and have
given expression to this feeling. I have been told, for instance--what
I myself had already noticed--that numbers of the pictures, especially,
those showing birds on the wing, bear a great resemblance to certain
famous works of Japanese painters[12] of animal life, works that seem
to dive into the secrets of nature. It has been brought home to me,
indeed, both by hundreds of letters and thousands of opinions expressed
in conversation, that the pictures have excited almost universal
interest, and that my labours have not been in vain.

Fully to enjoy the peculiar beauty of such photographs of living wild
animals, the best way is undoubtedly to see the pictures considerably
magnified by means of the magic lantern. On account of the special
character and strangeness of most of the objects shown, I have the
lantern slides lightly tinted. This colouring can be done without
in the least altering the picture in its details, and its object is
merely to secure greater effectiveness. Approval from all sides,
both from artistic circles and from the public, satisfies me as to
the correctness of this proceeding. Only in this way do photographic
pictures shown by transmitted light produce the full impression of
beauty and naturalness; they seem to transport the spectator directly
to the far-off wilderness.

There must be some good reason for the widespread interest manifested
in these pictures of the life and ways of animals, some of them still
so little known, and all of them living in remote solitudes. It seems
to me that the cause is deep-seated--that deep down in the heart of
the highly-cultured civilised man there are involuntary yearnings after
the sensations of wild, healthy, primeval nature. The progress of
mankind from the so-called barbaric stage to the highest civilisation
has been accomplished in so short a time, in comparison with the whole
period of man’s existence, that it is easy to understand how such a
longing may survive. In every man there must be something of this
craving for light and air and primeval conditions.


  _Camelo-pardus feu Giraffe._


“The conflict of man with the animal world,” says Wilhelm Bölsche,
“has passed away unsung and uncelebrated. The civilised man of to-day
has hardly a recollection of the endless lapse of time during which
mankind had to struggle with the beasts of the earth for mastery.”
Let us for a few moments turn our gaze backwards to that far past.
In epochs that the learned date back by hundreds of thousands of
years, we find attempts made by the cave-dwellers to execute artistic
representations of nature as they saw it. The artist of prehistoric
times set to work with his rude instruments to draw in merest outline
on a smooth rock-face, on a tusk taken in the chase, or on some such
material, the things that had particularly attracted his thoughts or
stimulated his efforts. Specimens of these primitive works of art
have been handed down to us. In the first place there are pictures of
animals, scratched upon ivory, and notwithstanding all their crudeness,
sketched with sufficient ability to enable us to-day to recognise with
certainty the objects which the artist tried to depict. Such sketches
scratched on ivory, showing various kinds of animals (some of them now
extinct) and forming the oldest documents of the animal-sketcher’s art,
have been found in the caves of the south-west of France, in the old
dwelling-places of the so-called “Madeleine” hunters of La Madeleine
and Laugerie Basse. The museum at Zurich also possesses similar
primitive documents from the Kesslerloch cave, near Thaingen, in the
canton of Schaffhausen.


    (Some South African tribes actually hunt the lion on foot with
    javelins, and I have myself more than once observed the courage
    of the East African natives in similar circumstances.)]

It is indeed not surprising that the cave-dweller of those days took
his models from the ranks of the animal creation. All his thoughts
and efforts were directed to the chase; he had no resources but in
this pursuit, and he had to carry on, day and night perhaps, a
fierce struggle for existence with wild beasts. One can thus follow
the development of the human race through the course of time from the
primitive sketches of beasts down to our own days, in which it has
been reserved for the hand of man to execute masterpieces inspired
by genius, and in which man makes the sun to serve him in depicting
and preserving representations of all that lives and moves, creeps
and flies. By means of the sketches of animals laboriously scratched
on pieces of ivory by the Cave men of Southern Europe, we make the
acquaintance of the long-haired prototypes of the living elephants
of to-day. These animals were the most coveted big game in Europe.
Clearly recognisable sketches of reindeer tell us that a climate like
that of the northern steppes prevailed at the time; others of horses
show that the wild horse was then to be found in Europe; those of the
aurochs prove the existence of that animal. There is a remarkably close
resemblance between the style of all these drawings and that of the
rude sketches made by the Esquimaux of our own day. Some such Esquimaux
sketches of animals on walrus tusks, at the most a hundred years old,
are to be found in the Berlin Ethnographical Museum. Interesting,
too, are the sketches of giraffes from the hands of ancient Egyptian
artists. They show us that the artist of those days in drawing animals
allowed a loose rein to his fancy and imagination. Thousands of years
must separate these representations of animals from the sketches of
Asiatic wild life which Sven Hedin discovered at Togri-sai-Tale near
Lôb-nor. They are scratched on bright green slate, and depict yaks,
wild asses and tigers, and the hunting of them with bow and arrow.
They appear to be of the same kind as the animal-sketches made by the
South African Bushmen, discovered by Fritsch in the year 1863. These
cave pictures show us various members of the fauna of Cape Colony,
which has already been to so great an extent exterminated. During
the period of the Middle Ages a more perfect style of representing
animals was gradually evolved, but even about the year 1720 we find
representations that are inaccurate to an incredible extent, and,
indeed, so recently as the early part of last century, one sees in
the travels of the French naturalist Le Vaillant, in the picture of a
female hippopotamus, a proof that the development of animal-drawing had
as yet made little progress.





But what a difference in drawing and technique has come about in less
than a hundred years! One need only compare the pictures of those
times with the works of our own days, to be convinced that, besides
artistic execution, there is now an increasingly exacting demand for
the precise truth. Indeed, one of the first points to be insisted on
is that photographic pictures _shall not be altered, worked up--in
word, in any way “retouched.”_ Only on this condition can they really
claim to be--that which in a special sense they ought to be--_true to
nature, absolutely trustworthy “nature-documents.”_ This distinguishes
the photograph from works of art executed by the hand of man, which
must conform to each individual conception of the artist.

It is a hard saying that the modern cultured man is becoming,
continually more and more estranged from nature. But in this matter
let us take the standpoint of the optimist, who says to himself that
there must be a reaction--a conscious, deliberate return, which indeed
will represent the result of the highest stage of culture. There is
an increasing perception of the existence in our home landscape of an
ideal worth, that we have not yet been able sufficiently to estimate.
To-day already there is a movement on all sides, and the demand is
heard, ever stronger and clearer, for the protection of the beauties
of nature. We must protect Nature in the widest sense of the word. And
even if, in the stern progress of evolving civilisation, much that
remains in the treasury of primitive nature must be destroyed, we shall
be able long to preserve and rejoice in much else.


And here come into play the healthy desire of man in his primitive
state, the cry for light and air, and all the beauty of nature. It
is hardly a hundred years since we in Europe learned to value the
landscape beauties of unspoilt nature. English writers of travels a
century ago still spoke of Switzerland with aversion; it was for them
a horrible, dismal mountain country. And it is easy to understand how
man in his hard struggle for the necessaries of life regarded, and was
forced to regard, nature around him as on the whole unfriendly and
menacing. But since those times there has been a change for the better,
even though it cannot be denied that many men require very specially
adjusted spectacles to enable them to enjoy this or that beauty of the
nature around them! Thus the landowner feels a pleasing satisfaction
at the sight of his cornfields. And yet these cornfields are hardly
anything else but an artificially formed bit of bare velt, on which at
certain times a short-lived vegetation grows up, whilst at other times
the naked soil presents itself to the eye--uninviting, stripped of all
adornment, arid and empty. Thus, too, the man who loves wine feels
that well-cultivated vineyards are a beautiful sight; but it may be
doubted whether he would do so if, say, only cotton-pods grew on the
vines! In ancient times, as Humboldt shows, with the Greeks and Romans,
as a rule, only country that was “comfortable to live in” was called
beautiful, not what was wild and romantic. Yet Propertius[13] and many
others praise the beauty of nature left to itself, in contrast with
that which is embellished by art. Then we have a long way to travel
through the Middle Ages, when the Alps are described to us as “dismal”
and “horrible,” till we come to the nature-studies of Rousseau, Kant,
and Goethe. At first there were very few to sympathise with them.
Their view gradually prevailed, in spite of many backward eddies. Thus
Hegel had only one impression of the Swiss Alps, that of a performance
tiresome on account of its length--a judgment not far removed from that
of the Savoyard peasant who declared that people who took any interest
in snow-covered mountains must be insane.

On the other hand, we find in Eastern Asia, and especially among the
Japanese, from the earliest times, the most ardent love for nature, and
there even the poorest knows how to adorn his home with flowers, and to
turn the beauty of the landscape to similar account.

A great part of the interest felt in natural beauty is perhaps to
be traced to extraneous considerations. On the other hand, here in
Germany we see most of our people full of feeling for our glorious
forests and for our German scenery in general. We have to face the
prospect, however, of a silenced countryside--a countryside without
song or music.[14] That is a matter for anxiety. Insects, birds,
quadrupeds, life and movement should be a part of the landscape. This
idea should continue to attract more and more adherents. German thought
and feeling are altogether in unison on this subject, and it is to
be hoped that the cry for the protection of the beauties of nature,
for the preservation of the plant and animal worlds, and all that is
picturesque in our native landscape, may continue to find expression.
The League for the Preservation of the Homeland in Germany gains daily
new supporters.


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


Men like Professor Conwentz and many others have been working for years
in this direction, and carrying on a most successful propaganda. This
action for the preservation of the Homeland, taken in the highest and
broadest sense of the word, must tend to evoke and foster the love of
nature and its beauties in ever wider circles.

In other countries, too, steady progress is being made towards the
same goal, and the importance of these considerations has long been
recognised. In England and in America a way has recently been found to
give practical effect to the idea of the protection of the beauties of
nature by measures well calculated for this end. In this connection,
too, a refined æsthetic culture is gaining ground. I do not at all
close my eyes to the difficulty of regulating the conditions bearing on
this matter. But in this connection we must not shrink from decisive
measures. Those who come after us will be the first to prize and esteem
these measures at their full value.

What I have here described as something to be desired and worth
striving for at home must also hold good for the whole world--the
preservation of all that is characteristic, all that belongs to
primitive nature, wherever it is to be found.

The beauties of nature are most abundant, and in our time they are
all--all--threatened with destruction and in need of protection. Where
we can save and preserve any of them, our hands should not remain idle.

But where this is not possible, let us secure “nature-documents,”
paintings, representations of all kinds as true to life as may be.

In this way we shall, at least, save for future ages memorials of
enduring worth, for which our children’s children will give us thanks.




New Light on the Tragedy of Civilisation

Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, says in
his lately published work, _Out-door Pastimes of an American Hunter_:
“The most striking and melancholy feature in connection with American
big game is the rapidity with which it has vanished.”

He makes a critical investigation of this disturbing fact, and he
most strongly advocates restrictive laws and the establishment of
reservations for wild animals. He puts himself at the head of every
effort directed towards the protection, as far as may be, of the animal
world and of wild nature, and shows by word and deed how even in a
brief period remarkable results can be obtained in this direction.
At the same time, on every page of his striking work, the President
shows that he is in favour of the practice of the chase within proper
limits, and thus he by no means takes the side of extreme partisans in
this matter. His efforts are of the greatest service to the cause, and
will no doubt have extremely valuable results in the United States,
where, owing to its peculiar circumstances, the natural treasures of
the country were, till very lately, recklessly wasted.

The establishment of the Yellowstone National Park was largely the
President’s work. In this vast territory no shot may be fired. It forms
an inviolable national sanctuary, within whose boundaries life of all
kinds is safe. Several similar reservations are already established,
or their establishment is projected. Strict protective laws have been
some of them brought into operation throughout the States, and some
of them gradually extended to various districts according to their
circumstances. Whole tracts (as, for instance, Alaska) have been closed
for years by law against the hunter. In short, a period of thoughtless
ravage has been followed by an era of self-control with a swiftness
that no one would ever have expected under the conditions prevailing in

The facts I have noted give one something to think about. When in
such vast regions of the world measures of this kind are found to be
necessary, there must have been strong grounds for them. And, in fact,
primitive nature and all its glories were in as serious peril in the
United States as in many other parts of the world. The cutting down
of enormous stretches of forest, and the destruction of the stately
representatives of the animal world, went on at giant speed in the
United States. The almost complete extinction of the splendid American
bison, that once roamed in millions over the prairies of the United
States, is one of the most startling facts illustrating the destruction
of wild animals through the introduction of civilisation. This fact had
no slight influence in procuring the enactment of severe measures.

In a land like the United States such measures are possible,
advantageous, and practicable. In other countries, too, which are in
a settled condition, similar regulations have everywhere come into
force of late years. Thus, for instance, the remnants of the fauna of
Australia are now protected by stringent laws. But quite different,
and much more difficult, are the conditions of the problem with regard
to Africa. There, more than anywhere else, the time has come for
protective regulations. But how can these measures be enforced, however
well they may be thought out? We must keep before our eyes the terrible
example of the disappearance of the animal world of South Africa, as
the result of the extremely rapid spread of civilised life. We can now,
with the help of statements made by trustworthy writers, survey the
various phases of this utter destruction of animal life during the last
century, and so form an idea of what awaits other parts of the Dark

Powerful voices have been raised of late in favour of the preservation
of African wild life, and this especially in England. In this respect,
Mr. Edward North Buxton is most prominent in pressing for thorough
measures of protection for the African fauna, throughout the wide
possessions or spheres of interest of the British Empire. In England,
too, many strong pleas have been made in support of the view that
even relatively speaking noxious animals should not be deprived by
man of the right to a certain amount of protection. Thus Sir H. H.
Johnston, the former Governor of the Uganda Province in Central
Africa, says in his preface to the English edition of my book _With
Flashlight and Rifle_, that in his opinion the weasel, the owl, and
the primitive British badger of the existing fauna ought not to be
entirely sacrificed to the pheasant--a beautiful enough bird, but,
after all, one that must always remain an “interloper”; that the egret,
the bird of paradise, the chinchilla, the sea-otter,[15] and such-like
creatures are “æsthetically as important,” and have the same right
to existence, as a woman beautifully dressed in the spoils of these
animals. Good pioneer work in this direction must result from the
noble-hearted resolve of the Queen of England to put herself at the
head of the “Anti-Osprey Movement,” organised to save the royal heron
from threatened extinction.

There can be no doubt that the complete extermination of any species of
animal must excite in the mind of a reflecting man a sense of injustice
and wrong; and that this complete destruction of certain species can
only be to the interest of all men in general when such animals, of
whatever kind they may be, are entirely noxious and quite useless.
No epoch in the world’s history can be set in comparison with ours in
so far as it has been the witness, in the course of a few decades, of
almost daily progress and improvement in connection with industry,
culture, and the whole field of human knowledge. And, moreover, no
epoch has been so penetrated with the great thoughts of progressive
humanity. The continual employment--in ways that are ever more adroit,
ever more complex--of all the resources offered by nature to man,
seems at the same time to blind him to certain grave misdeeds that he
is actually perpetrating every day. These great crimes against the
harmony and order with which nature surrounds us--crimes that it is not
easy to make any amends for--are the disfigurement and poisoning of
watercourses, the pollution of the air, the laying waste of a portion
of the plant world (namely, the forests), and the extinction of some of
the animals that live with us.

We do not shrink from the most _reckless_ exploitation of those forests
that have come down to us from the primeval past--the vast stores
of coal buried deep in the bosom of the earth. The expert can now
calculate with certainty that in a few hundred, at the very farthest
in a thousand, years these stores will be exhausted. When it comes to
this, the triumphant progress of industrial science will no doubt give
us some substitute, perhaps even something better; but no technical
knowledge, no science, can ever give us back anew those highly
developed organisms of the plant and animal world which man to-day
is recklessly sweeping out of the list of living things. They cannot
restore to us the green woods and their animal life. We preserve with
punctilious precision every vestige of the art of the past. The older
the documents of earlier historic times are, the more eagerly they
are coveted, the more highly they are valued. Our collectors gladly
pay the largest sums for an old papyrus, an old picture, an object of
decorative art, or a marble statue. And, as has been rightly remarked,
what warrant have we that some new Phidias, some new Michael Angelo,
some new Praxiteles will not arise, and give us something of as high
value as these, or even much more perfect? Unreservedly to deny this
would be the same thing as to give the lie to the progress of the human

But the same man who, in this respect, acts so reverently, so
conservatively, looks on with folded arms while treasures are
destroyed that ought to be guarded with special affection and care, in
these times when the great value of all natural science is so fully

We organise, at an extremely high cost, expeditions to survey and
explore far-off regions. We sink into the greatest depths of the sea
our cunningly devised trawl-nets, and study with ceaseless diligence
the smallest organisms that they bring up into the light of day. We
consider the course of the stars, and calculate with precision their
remote orbits. We daily discover new secrets, and have almost ceased
to feel surprised at each day bringing us something new, something yet
unheard of. Much that is thus done to secure the treasures of the past
_might equally well be done in coming years. But much that we neglect
to do can never be made good_, for we are permitting the slaughter,
up to the point of extinction, of the most remarkable, the most
interesting, and the least known forms among the most highly organised
of the creatures that dwell with us on our earth!

An example that appeals to us with terrible force is that of South
Africa (taking the country in its widest limits), a region now so
largely peopled by Europeans. There has been an almost complete
disappearance of the larger animals that once lived in their millions
on its wide plains. If one studies the trustworthy narratives of the
earlier explorers, one reads that, hardly a century ago, it was not a
rare sight to see in one day a hundred, or even a hundred and fifty
rhinoceroses, hundreds of elephants that showed little fear of man,
and countless antelopes; and one asks oneself, How can it be possible
that all this abundance of life has vanished in so short a time? A
specimen of the “white” rhinoceros, which in those times was still
living in large numbers, is in our day worth a small fortune; it is to
be found _in no museum in Germany_, and is simply almost impossible to
obtain. This former abundance is now known only to few, and these only
specialists engaged in studies of this kind. But to them it is also
plain and terribly certain that, where the like conditions come into
being, the same process that was at work in South Africa will produce
the same results.

There can be no doubt about it. In a hundred years from now wide
regions of what once was Darkest Africa will have been more or less
civilised, and all that delightful animal world, which to-day still
lives its life there, will have succumbed to the might of civilised
man. That will be the time when the fortunate possessors of horns and
hides of extinct African antelopes, and the owners of elephant tusks,
skulls, and specimens of all kinds will be selling all this for its
weight in gold. And no one will be able to understand how it was that
in our day so little thought was given to preserving as far as possible
all this valuable material in abundant quantities at least for _the
sake of science_, instead of sacrificing it wholesale to the interests
of trade, and to the recklessness of the new settlers in those lands.
For these men, who have to struggle hard with the new conditions of
life and its necessities, can scarcely act otherwise than heedlessly
and short-sightedly. They will always take possession of a district
before settled conditions are introduced, and before the Government is
in a position to enforce the observance of its regulations, however
well-intentioned these may be. So it will come to pass that it will
suddenly be found no longer possible to provide European collections
with even a pair of specimens of the mighty elephant, or to procure
other large animals for exhibition in these establishments. And this
will be the case not only with regard to the larger species, but the
same thing will happen to all others.


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


The Queen of England has lately expressed the wish that no lady shall
come into her presence wearing osprey plumes in her hat. This act of
hers should be most heartily welcomed, for the bird world is being
destroyed in a way of which only a few experts have any idea. If our
ladies only knew that whole species of birds have become extinct,
thanks to the fashion of wearing hats trimmed with birds’ feathers,
doubtless they would no longer pay allegiance to this destructive
fashion. The massacre of birds is carried on in some such way as
this. The leading firms agree to make this or that bird fashionable.
It is thus that the death-sentence of many rare species of birds is
pronounced. The traders scattered all over the world give the hunters
who engage in this kind of business directions, for instance, to bring
in osprey feathers. And how are they obtained? The royal heron, a
timid and beautiful bird, is not easy to stalk. But the businesslike
hunter knows what to do. He simply kills the herons in thousands and
thousands _at their nesting-places_. Love for its offspring brings
the beautiful creature within range of the gun-barrel of the lurking
hunter, who kills thousands of the birds in cold blood when they are
gathered together in the breeding season. Countless thousands must be
killed, countless thousands more of young helpless nestlings, bereft
of the parent birds, must starve to death before enough of these
little plumes has been collected to make a load heavy enough to be put
on the bearers’ shoulders. And now the dealers of the whole civilised
world lay in a stock, so that full provision may be made for a form
of fashion-mania that may probably last only a few months. Even in
the farthest swamps of America, in the lands beyond the Caspian, and
wherever the royal heron breeds, one can follow the bird hunter, and
see him at his horrible and murderous work. The end is everlasting
silence. A rare species is soon utterly destroyed. In the last
century alone about two dozen species of birds became extinct. And in
these days nearly a dozen more species of birds are threatened with
extinction! According to the Reports of the Smithsonian Institute this
is notably the case in America with regard to quite as many species.
The wonderful birds of paradise are going; the latest “trimming” for
the hats of American ladies, these dwellers in remote islands of the
Southern Seas are to be threatened in a more serious degree, and
probably to a great extent exterminated. Everywhere we have the same
lamentable facts! It is certainly high time to interfere effectively.
I myself think that the best results would follow from appeal to all
noble-minded women.

In Africa I have already observed an example of the disappearance of
one species of bird[17]--every European takes a lot of trouble to get
possession of some of the much-prized marabou feathers. Now, as long
ago as the year 1900, at London, as a member of the International
Conference for the Protection of Wild Animals, I did my best to obtain,
at least on paper, some measure of protection for the marabou. This
bird had not only quite won my heart by its extraordinary sagacity,
but for the same reason it was a general favourite even in the times
of classical antiquity. My efforts were in vain. And this will mean
nothing more or less than the extermination of a large and handsome
bird, which is comparatively easy to hunt down, and the rate of
increase of which is exceptionally small.

From all these points of view the support of the “League for the
Protection of Bird Life in Germany” is to be warmly recommended. In
England these reasons have brought about the formation of the
“Society for the Preservation of the Wild Fauna of the Empire,” which
devotes itself to the protection of animal life in general throughout
the world-wide British dominions.




Let us now follow a little more closely, under the guidance of English
writers, the process of the extermination of the South African animal
world. This lamentable work was completed very rapidly in the course of
only something like a hundred years. From numerous English authorities,
as well as from the publications of the Society already named, I
have been able to ascertain that the last “blaauwbok” was killed by
the Boers in Cape Colony about the year 1800. From extant sketches
of this wild animal, it appears that it was a smaller species of the
splendid horse-antelopes still to be found in other parts of Africa.
During the following seventy-five years the extermination of several
other kinds of animals was systematically carried out; and exactly
eighty years later the last quagga, a kind of zebra (_Equus quagga_)
was killed by the Boers. In England there is only one single specimen
preserved, and that in a very poor condition. It is to be found in the
British Museum. A further sacrifice to the advancing Europeans was the
giant, wide-mouthed, “white” rhinoceros (_Rhinoceros simus_, Burch.),
a mighty creature, that formerly ranged in thousands over the grassy
plains of South Africa. The length of a horn taken from one of them is
given as 6 ft. 9 in., English measurement! Even as late as the year
1884, a single trader was able to pile up huge masses, small hills,
of these rhinoceros horns by equipping some four hundred tribesmen
of the Matabele race with guns and ammunition and sending them out
rhinoceros-hunting. Now it is difficult to get even a few specimens of
this animal for the museums, and they are almost worth their weight in
gold. Information lately obtained seems to indicate that a very small
number of these mighty beasts, probably not more than thirty-five in
all, are still living their life in the midst of inaccessible swamps
in Zululand and Mashonaland, in a district that, on account of its
deadly climate, is almost closed to Europeans. However, the Government
of Natal has, I am pleased to say, made the killing any animal of this
species, without legal permission, a crime to be punished by a fine of

An English officer, Captain (afterwards Sir) William Cornwallis Harris,
is an authoritative witness as to the extermination of wild animals in
South Africa in 1836, though it must have been going on for a long time
before that without any written record. The Boers must have slaughtered
hecatombs of wild animals, though up to that date we have no first-hand
written evidence on the subject.[18] Their proceedings were precisely
of the same character as the events that have occurred in our own day
in connection with the destruction of the elephant, the rhinoceros,
and other animals throughout Africa. This destruction goes on silently,
and only a few men who have a special knowledge of the circumstances
bring some information about it to the world at large. The rest keep
silence, and mostly have good grounds for so doing.

The descriptions given by Harris, Oswell, Vardon, C. J. Anderson and
their contemporaries give some idea of what enormous multitudes of
wild creatures then wandered over the plains of South Africa. We are
inclined to underestimate the abundance of the fauna of earlier epochs.
The process of animal-destruction by the hand of man has been going on
from immemorial times. For thousands of years man has been continually
pressing the animal world back more and more, and it has had to give
way in the unequal struggle. This process has been going on so slowly
and so imperceptibly that it is only by the scanty remnants left
from earlier times that we can form some estimate of the wealth that
has disappeared. These are no empty fancies. All the lonely far-off
islands of the world’s seas, the little visited Polar lands, and all
the uninhabited steppes and wildernesses give us evidence of this. Not
only from the lips of Cornwallis Harris, but also from some of his
contemporaries, we have descriptions of the former abundance of wild
life in the Cape districts of South Africa. At that time the country
was, in the literal sense of the word, covered with countless herds
of Cape buffaloes, white-tailed gnus, blessbock, bontebock, zebras,
quaggas, hill-zebras, hartebeests, eland-antelopes, horse-antelopes,
oryx-antelopes, waterbuck, impallah-antelopes, springbocks, and
ostriches. Herds of hundreds of elephants were to be seen. Every marsh,
every river-bed, was literally overcrowded with hippopotami. All other
kinds of animals that are now so scarce, such as the large and handsome
kudu, and all the different kinds of small wild animals, were to be
met with in vast numbers. Although since the year 1652 South Africa
had been to a continually increasing extent occupied by the Boers,
all these wonderful things had managed to survive in rich profusion
up to the moment when, about a hundred years ago, the great war of
extermination began. Various causes contributed to bring this about:
the increasing numbers of the settlers, their continual penetration
farther and farther into the interior, and, above all things, the
improvement of firearms.

The natives, although very numerous in South Africa, had, as happens
everywhere, left the animal life of the country in its abundance to
the Europeans, who were overrunning the land in increasing numbers. It
was reserved for these to bring the war of extermination to an end in
a short time. Truly a melancholy spectacle!

Wilhelm Bölsche describes all this in fitting words:[19] “In Africa,”
he says, “a wonderful drama is to-day unfolding itself before our eyes.
It is the downfall of the whole of a mighty animal world. What is being
destroyed is the main remnant of the great mammalian development of
the Tertiary period. Once it spread in the same fulness over Europe,
Asia, and North America. Now in its last refuge this most wonderful
wave of life is rapidly ebbing away. Everything contributes to this
result--human progress, human folly, and even disease among the animals



To give an example: Through the trifling fact that we have ivory balls
for billiards, the African elephant goes to destruction. The individual
cannot stop this; but what he can do is to secure more material for
each special branch of science before the door is closed, and to once
more observe in their primeval surroundings the last elephants, wild
buffaloes, giraffes--those last living vestiges of the Tertiary period.

But above all, the sketches of Le Vaillant, a French explorer, who,
about 1780, set out from Cape Town on his travels into the interior,
are of great importance for our study of the former abundance of animal
life in South Africa. They are all the more interesting for German
readers because he traversed part of what is now German South-West
Africa, and gives in his book an account of its condition at that
time. He, too, tells of absolutely incredibly great multitudes of
wild animals; on the banks of the Orange River he comes upon great
herds of elephants and giraffes, and he cannot find enough to say
of the astonishing wealth of animal life. For those who know German
South-West Africa, his narrative is of special interest. He formed
collections which he brought back with him to his native country, and
to all appearance is a fairly trustworthy authority, though at the same
time, like many contemporary and later travellers, here and there he
makes assertions that are clearly unwarrantable. For instance, in one
place he tells how he once rode a zebra, that he had wounded, for a
considerable distance, back to his camp.

Some fifty years later, at the period of the journeys of Captain
William Cornwallis Harris,[20] as I have already remarked, the same
conditions prevailed, with regard to the abundance of wild animals,
as in the days of Le Vaillant. It was almost a daily experience for
the traveller to be molested by lions. The Vaal River then teemed with
hippopotami. What is now the site of Pretoria was inhabited by a number
of rhinoceroses, that were absolutely an annoyance to the explorer:
“Out of every bush peeped the horrible head of one of these creatures.”
Of the neighbourhood of Mafeking he tells us that the gatherings of
zebras and white-tailed gnus literally covered the whole plain; that
with his own eyes he had at one time seen at least fifteen thousand
head of wild animals! In another place he tells us of an absolutely
overwhelming spectacle. He saw at the same time more than three hundred
elephants; to use his own expression, the plain looked like one
undulating mass.

William Cotton Oswell, whom I have mentioned in my earlier work, and
who died as lately as 1893, knew the countries of South Africa in
the days of Livingstone, and gives the same account of them as his
predecessor Harris. He once came upon more than four hundred elephants
gathered together in one herd on the open velt. Unfortunately, like so
many others, he published very few sketches.

Gordon Cumming, a traveller well known to the German public through
Brehms’ _Tierleben_, has also left us sketches of those days that
corroborate the descriptions given by his contemporaries. He tells
how, in the year 1860, a great drive was organised in the Orange
Free State in honour of the Duke of Edinburgh, afterwards Grand Duke
of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. The number of wild animals driven together by
the natives, which included zebras, quaggas, gnus, cow-antelopes,
blessbock, springbocks, and ostriches, was estimated at five-and-twenty
thousand. The number killed on this one day was reckoned at about six
thousand animals, and a number of natives were trampled to death by the
herds of wild beasts.

At this time there were still Europeans in South Africa who made
elephant-hunting their ordinary business. Now there are neither
elephants nor indeed any other kind of wild animal in numbers worth
mentioning in these once rich hunting grounds. They have all been
killed off in the course of a hundred years. Where once hundreds of
thousands of gnus lived their life, there are now only a few hundred
specimens carefully preserved and guarded. And the same is the case
with all other wild animals. Many species are gone completely and
for ever. _A similar process will go on slowly but surely throughout
the whole of Africa, wherever civilisation penetrates. There is only
one chance of the beautiful wild life of Africa being permanently
preserved, and that lies in the hunters themselves consenting to
protect and spare it._

It has been rightly remarked by such a competent authority as A. H.
Neumann (who is, moreover, one of the most experienced of English
elephant hunters) that the continued existence of many wild African
species is not incompatible with the progress of civilisation. He
points out that we can only reckon with some degree of certainty on the
effective preservation of wild animals, where not only reservations
have been established for them, but where also a considerable amount
of control can be exercised over both Europeans and natives. In his
opinion, for instance, a mere regulation forbidding the shooting of
female elephants is impracticable: “I should like,” he says, “to see
one of those who have drawn up such a regulation come into the African
bush, and there show us how we are to distinguish between female and
bull elephants in these impenetrable thickets.”

In the British colonies in Africa reservations for wild animals have
been established with most successful results. Those of British East
Africa, the Sudan and Somaliland, and finally of British Central
Africa, taken together, have about five times the area of the Victoria


  _C. G. Shillings, phot._


By means of reports made as carefully as possible by the district
authorities, estimates have been obtained of the numbers of existing
wild animals. In the laying out of the reservations the very migratory
habits of the African fauna have been taken into consideration as far
as is practicable, and by strict protective regulations of various
kinds most satisfactory results have been secured. In the Transvaal
Colony, too, a reservation has been marked out in the Barberton
district between the Olifant River and the Portuguese frontier. Any
one shooting in this reservation without a permit is liable to a fine
of £100, or six months’ imprisonment. There is a very interesting
official report as to the wild inhabitants of this reservation. “It
contains one old rhinoceros (with shot-marks on its hide), a small herd
of elephants, a considerable supply of ostriches, from five to nine
giraffes, a satisfactory quantity of gnus, and also of ‘black-heeled’
or impallah-antelopes, two or three small herds of buffaloes, several
herds of zebras, numerous waterbuck and kudus, and a small number of
horse-antelopes. On the other hand, whether oryx-antelopes and eland
are still to be found there appears to the author of the report in the
highest degree doubtful.”

However, in the extensive reservations that have been established
in other British possessions in Africa, and especially in those of
the Sudan, a large number of the beautifully formed dwellers of the
wilderness still live their life, and this must be a delight to the
heart of every sportsman.

It is to be hoped that through thus establishing “sanctuaries” (as the
English call them), with the consequent supervision, a means has been
found of protecting the indigenous wild life of Africa, as well of
America, for a long time to come.

In German colonies, too, efforts are being made to preserve, as far
as possible, the native fauna. The more our views can be made clear,
the more complete the survey of this difficult subject can be made
by the combined experience of many experts being gradually brought
to bear together upon it, the sooner may we anticipate satisfactory
results from this co-operative action. For years I have been following
with close interest everything connected with this question, and my
wide correspondence with officers, officials, and private individuals
warrants me in concluding that on all sides there is an energetic
movement in progress. Of course, we have to face serious difficulties
in such a campaign. Thus it seems, according to numerous and
trustworthy reports, that the attempt to establish Boer settlements in
the Kilimanjaro district in East Africa has had, and still is having,
very fatal results for the once splendid wild life of that region.
And, indeed, it is no easy matter to reconcile a colony of Boers--the
people who have already made such a clean sweep of the wild life of
South Africa--to the preservation of the fauna of the country. One
can see how difficult the regulation of these matters is for the

We must not forget also that, as a result of the wonderful improvements
in firearms, the problem of the protection of wild animals presents
itself to-day in quite a different fashion from that of the days of the
hunters of fifty, or even of twenty-five years ago.

But it is not the individual hunter whose interest lies in sport
or science[22]; it is not the man who brings us the first knowledge
of many of the inhabitants of the wilderness, and first arouses our
interest in them; it is not such as these who should be regarded as
the destroyers of the fauna of a foreign land. Rather this is the work
of all those powerful influences that everywhere combine to this end
during the introduction of civilised life. It has indeed been already
proposed, in all seriousness, by some men of science to completely
extirpate the wild animals of East Africa, in order thus to circumvent
the tsetse fly and other minor pests that may perhaps communicate
disease from the wild to the tame cattle. And this, too, before it
can be said with any certainty whether these cases of infection do
not arise only from a number of very small animals which it would be
impossible to exterminate!

Our most important task is now to obtain an accurate knowledge of the
fauna of foreign lands. For this purpose we must collect materials
which will render the study of this wild life of other lands possible
to our scientific institutions; which will place them in a position to
give to a wide public an idea of all these rich treasures, and thus
awaken an intelligent love for them in the hearts of the pioneers of

And then we must devise practicable measures of protection. This
is a wide field of labour. The hunter himself must take in hand
the intelligent preservation of the wild animals. The measures of
protection must be suited to the varying conditions of the wide hunting
grounds of foreign lands, and must not be considered only from the
stay-at-home point of view.

This is not to be done by mere laments over the extermination of wild
life, or even by merely putting limitations on the enjoyment of the
chase by the individual hunter. On the contrary, a beneficial result
can be obtained only by all European travellers in those countries
interchanging their experiences, collecting material, and exerting
themselves to the utmost and in concert to devise measures that will,
as far as may be, put a stop to the threatened extermination.

This is a great and noble task.



The Survivors

To learn to know anything with precision, to devote oneself to it
and master it in its smallest details, one must generally make its
study a labour of love. So the spread of more exact knowledge of
the manifestations of nature around us must go hand in hand with
the awakening of love for them and for the splendours they present
to our view. And with this increasing impulse towards research and
knowledge must come the desire to prevent as far as possible the rapid
destruction of fauna and flora. Public opinion, in truth, has begun to
range itself on the side of these much menaced glories of nature.

We have to observe and investigate. We have to get together some small
portion of the vast material that is often so uselessly squandered,
in order to employ it in the service of special branches of science,
and to make some closer knowledge of these things accessible to every
one. We have to establish great collections formed on a definite plan,
and everywhere to save as much material as possible for scientific and
educational purposes, so long as it can still be done. “If these ideas
could be brought home to the right quarters, millions would be made
available for this object,” writes one of the most learned specialists
in these matters. Our zoological gardens and museums are already doing
their best, but they are hampered by the want of pecuniary resources.
Whilst the largest sums are freely provided for the purchase of
antiquities, there is a dearth of means for doing what is necessary to
save the treasures of our vanishing fauna while there is still time!



Other countries, America for instance, set us a glorious example. There
you see public collections formed, affording panoramas of animal life
so splendid, so beautiful, and planned on such grand lines, that the
love of nature must be lighted up in the hearts of all who visit them.

What can be saved of these disappearing treasures must suffice for all
time, and must in part at least be preserved in fire and thief-proof
“zoological treasuries,” for it will be impossible to obtain such
things again in the future, no matter what efforts may be made. Thus a
great and difficult task presents itself to our museums. We can rightly
require of them that they shall not merely exhibit the principal
species of the animal world, but that they shall also preserve
specimens of the most striking representatives of our still surviving
fauna that are likely soon to become extinct. And these specimens
must be guarded by all the resources of art and science against light
and any other influence that might injure them. For such a far-seeing
policy posterity will be grateful to us.

It seems, however, as though some unlucky star presided over the
collecting of the larger species of the animal world. Let any one
devote himself to these special pursuits and objects, and even if he
win thereby the approval of experts and of wide circles of the public,
still a certain odium will seem to attach to him. Obviously he
must kill a certain number of animals, that are often _quite unknown_
till then, and in almost every case have been _hardly studied_ at all,
in order that he may add them to the collections belonging to his
native country. He gains the gratitude of science and of the learned,
but he has to encounter the prejudices of others. People think that
they are justified in throwing upon him, the scientific collector, the
reproach of being an exterminator.


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._




I have to thank Professor Matschie for the two lower illustrations.]

Those who speak thus completely forget that it was through the material
thus placed before their eyes that they themselves obtained their very
first knowledge of these beautiful creatures; that till then they
hardly took any interest in such things; and that it is only by means
of knowledge secured in this way that regulations for the preservation
of these beauties of nature can be devised.

Let us suppose that every museum and scientific collection in the
world were provided with a series of specimens of all the varieties
of the animal world that are now most seriously threatened with
extinction; let us further suppose that each of these institutions
secured, besides, duplicate series of the hides and skeletons of each
species. To make a striking comparison, all this, beside the wholesale
destruction of the animal world of which we have to complain, would be
like a week-end sportsman perhaps killing one hare during his whole
life compared to the millions of hares killed every year in Germany.

If a species is already reduced to such a state that the taking of a
few hundred, or even a few thousand, specimens for scientific purposes
will exterminate it, we may say generally that, even without this
proceeding, it is inevitably doomed to extinction. But the wretched
egg-collecting by youths, for instance, is quite a different matter.
Certainly there must be a great deficiency, when continually, year
after year, wood and meadow are searched for birds’ nests by thousands
of boys. This is obvious, and thus the rarer species are threatened in
their very existence.





Great stress ought always to be laid upon the point to which I have
here called attention, and I can appeal to every expert on the subject
for confirmation of my opinion.


    AFRICA IN 1896.]

I think that I have earned a special right to speak on this matter.
For the last fifteen years I have hardly ever carried a gun when
at home in Europe; I have refused the most pressing invitations to
shooting parties; and I have sought pleasure only in the sight of our
native wild animals, which I know so well, and in secretly watching
and observing them. But in the midst of a yet unstudied foreign fauna,
of which we still know little or nothing, where there is question of
first obtaining some scanty knowledge oneself, and forming collections
for definite scientific research--in the midst of an animal world of
this kind I would not hesitate to shoot even large numbers of each
species. For there would be good reason for not merely securing
well-developed male specimens, as the hunter does, but also females
and young animals in all the various stages of growth and colouring.
This must be obvious even to a child, and no one will deny to science
the right so to act, at least in those regions of Africa which--in
comparison with India and other countries--are still untouched by
civilisation, and which therefore, in their primitive unchanged
condition, afford us doubly interesting results. Now supposing one has
got together large collections, and has been so fortunate as to succeed
in bringing them down to the coast and home to Europe. A collection
of insects or of the lower animals may pass without remark; but woe
to the slayer of the larger species of wild animals! These come under
the description of “beasts of the chase,” and now a peculiar kind of
bacillus quickly develops--the bacillus of “hostility to the hunter,”
which, introduced into Europe from the tropics, finds here, too, a
fostering soil. Let me be allowed to endeavour to find a prophylactic
against this bacillus in these essays. I have already often laid stress
upon the facts that such great quantities of the skins and feathers
of birds are exported for the purposes of fashion, that by this trade
whole species are threatened with extinction; that every individual
European is allowed, without any hindrance, to send home his trophies
of the chase--trophies which, with only a few exceptions, can have
hardly any value for science; above all, that the extermination of the
elephant in Africa is being carried out before our very eyes for the
sake of his ivory; and that all this is held permissible. But let one
make collections for scientific purposes, and scrupulously hand over
every skin, every hide, with the horns and skull belonging to it, all
carefully labelled, to some museum at home, and, according to widely
expressed opinion, he is greatly to blame for the destruction of animal








Happily in recent years our colonial collections have been considerably
augmented. An extraordinarily large quantity of material has been
forwarded to the Berlin Natural History Museum, amongst others, by
officials, private individuals, and members of the garrisons abroad.
Hence valuable results have been obtained for the zoology of these
regions. Amongst the satisfactory results of the ever increasing
activity in the zoological exploration of the Dark Continent are
surprising and repeated discoveries of unknown species of animals,
such as the Okapi (_Ocapia johnstoni_) and a black wild hog, till now
completely unknown (_Hylochœrus meinertzhageni_, Oldf. Thomas). With
the help of these collections, Professor Matschie, dealing with the
mammalia, and Professor Reichenow with the birds, have succeeded in
establishing the fact that each separate region of the Dark Continent
possesses its own characteristic fauna. And most important conclusions
with regard to the distribution of animals have thus been derived from
these great systematic collections. My friend Baron Carlo Erlanger, the
well-known African traveller, and the only one who has ever traversed
Somaliland from end to end, though unhappily cut off by an early death,
was able to confirm these theories, with reference to the countries
he explored, by the ample collections he systematically formed. The
whole science of zoology in relation to geography has been turned on to
new lines of research, and has given the most important and most
valuable results. Everything should be done to support efforts of this


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._



  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


But in this department it is to all increasing extent the duty of our
German museums to promote a knowledge of and an interest in the animal
world of far-off lands by the display of ample collections, so arranged
as to convey instruction. There has already been gratifying progress in
this respect, but it is clear that for the development of these ideas
we need more extensive, up-to-date buildings for our collections and
museums. Other countries, especially England, and above all America,
are far in advance of us in this matter. Our zoological gardens have
the task of putting the _living_ animal world before us. Happily we are
doing this by far-sighted methods. To the Zoological Gardens of Berlin
belongs the credit of having, to a continually increasing extent,
arranged a display of the animal world in appropriate surroundings,
and with reference to systematic classification and to its relations
with geographical distribution and ethnological science, so far as
one can assume the connection or companionship of certain species
with man. There we see the disappearing species of wild cattle
housed, each according to its peculiar character, in enclosures that
are strictly true to nature, and artistically designed. Thus, for
instance, the American bison--now hardly to be obtained for its weight
in gold is shown in surroundings that remind us of the North American
Indians, these also a disappearing race. The ostrich-house takes us
back to the land of the Pharaohs, of which the ostrich was once a
characteristic inhabitant, as well as the ichneumon, the crocodile,
and the hippopotamus. Then the class of rodents is brought before
us in almost poetical surroundings, that seem quite to justify the
German animal stories of the Middle Ages, and that are calculated to
produce quite a different effect on the mind from that of a stiffly
arranged exhibition of the regulation type, especially in the case of
the rising generation. But on account of the difficulty of securing
and maintaining certain species, and their shortness of life in close
captivity, our zoological gardens can only properly carry out their
programme so long as it is possible for them to continually renew their
stock of animals.

On the other hand, the museums are all the more responsible for setting
before our eyes the various species of animals even long after these
have become extinct, and they must do this by means of works of art
executed by the hand of man, masterpieces of taxidermy.

And by masterpieces of taxidermy I mean artistic groups of “stuffed”
animals that will, as far as may be, show us their life and action,
their ways and habits. In former times this work was left to the
so-called “animal-stuffer.” He took a hide, filled it out with some
material or other, and then, so far as he could, gave it the appearance
of a quadruped or a bird. Thus one sees a stuffed hippopotamus of this
good old time which looks, not like such an animal, but like a gigantic
sausage. One sees stags or antelopes that somewhat resemble the wooden
toys associated with the Christmas boxes of my childhood, and not the
particular species of animals which they are intended to represent--in
short, wretched caricatures with neither beauty nor fidelity to


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._



  _C. G. Schillings, phot._



  _C. G. Schillings, phot._



  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


Nowadays, however, more than this must be done--the best must be
insisted on. Instead of the “stuffer,” the artist must come upon the
scene. Using the methods of the sculptor, he can artistically fashion a
form that will be true to life, and clothe this form with the hide or
skin. Happily by these means we now find such works of art exhibited in
ever increasing numbers, not only in museums abroad, but also in the
public collections of our own country. But as yet this new department
of artistic activity is not generally as well understood as it should
be. It is still far too little valued.

What labour has to be devoted to the artistically correct setting up
of even one single large mammal in a museum--for instance, a giraffe!
First the animal must be hunted down in the wilderness, and its
hide carefully prepared. Then, if it has been brought home in good
condition, there follows a second laborious preparation, and finally
the setting up. The difficult building up of the framework, and the
work upon the giant beast till all is complete, require the labour of
nearly a year. The very first conditions for the success of the whole
are great patience, knowledge, and an ideal that is both artistic and
true to nature.

Our illustrations show, in its various stages, the progress of the
setting up of one of the giraffes I collected in Africa. It is easy to
understand that besides artistic and scientific ability for the correct
moulding of the form, various complex manipulations are required before
the giant beast again stands before us as if “reawakened to life.”

I have further tried to show by illustrations of another giraffe, and
of a series of antelopes, down to the tiny dwarf antelope, how under
the hand of the artist the animal world can be made to rise up again,
as if waked anew to life.

All our larger museums ought to exhibit the most important and most
prominent representatives of the animal kingdom modelled in attractive
groups in their natural surroundings.

In America it has become the custom for private individuals to place at
the disposal of the zoological institutions extensive collections and
large sums of money. With this help they are able to produce artistic
work, true to nature, works of art, the consideration of which gives
the spectator an insight into the life and habits of the animal world
of his native land as well as of foreign countries. Unfortunately this
custom has hardly yet been introduced amongst us.

My native city of Frankfurt[23] can claim the honour of possessing,
in the time-honoured Senckenberg Institute (now transferred to a new
home), a museum founded by private effort and private interests, where
one may see collections formed for exhibition, that may be pointed out
as models of their kind.

The collector of such things can partake of no greater pleasure than
he experiences when, making a tour of the museums of various places
at home, he sees awakened to new life the wild creatures he formerly
observed and laid low in far-off lands. So I could not deny myself the
pleasure of adding to this book a number of pictures of animals and
groups of animals which I secured in the wastes of Africa, and
which are now set up in various museums. These are trophies that must
allure every sportsman. It is of course not so easy a matter to secure
them as it is to hack off without any trouble the antlers or horns of
some wild animal that one has shot.


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._



  _C. G. Schillings, phot._



  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


Paintings, true to life, from the hands of artists, photographs taken
directly from life, and finally these groups _awakened, as it were, to
a new life_, are the means that can, and should, exert an educating
and informing influence, so that all the beauty of this department
of created nature may not be accessible only to a few learned men,
but be open to all in general. If to an ever increasing degree this
object finds support in influential circles, we shall thus obtain what
must be somehow obtained. In the presence of the progress of industry
and civilisation no one can indeed permanently prevent by protective
measures the disappearance of certain species, even though we may hope
to still delay the process of extinction by suitable regulations. But
on this ground the duty that I have already indicated becomes more
clearly imperative upon us. Its fulfilment cannot fail to be rewarded,
in the case of all who take part in it, by the only true satisfaction
that is given to mortals, the feeling of having done all that was in
any way in our power to do.



Sport and Nature in Germany

Not by far-away Lake Nakuro alone has “the Spell of the Elelescho”
lived. It has lived, and still lives, all over the world; only that it
goes by other names, and is linked with other symbols.

In the brief summer of the Polar regions, battling with the snow
and ice and the long night, it lives in the few stunted willows and
the scanty reindeer-moss. It can only be fully understood where
the ungainly walrus, the mighty Polar bear, coloured like his own
snowfields, and the herds of fur-adorned musk oxen and reindeer give
life to the wilderness, and millions of sea-birds cover the cliffs, or
wheel shrieking through the air. To all these creatures the appearance
of man in these wide regions is so strange and unaccustomed that they
show no fear of him, and even come hurrying up from all sides to look
curiously at this strange new being.

In the high mountain regions of Central Asia, too, this spell survives,
associated with the flocks of those timid creatures the primitive
wild sheep, with the graceful wild goats, with the stately ibex,[24]
and with the life and movement of the countless huge bears of the
mountains, and with a strange flora that I myself have never looked
upon, but of whose existence I am as persuaded as of that of the spell

It is to be found in the jungles of India, whence the tolerant natives
have never driven it out. They have not expelled the animal world from
its paradise. There in the region of the lotus-flower the spell may
perhaps be recognised on still, moonlit nights.

It survives everywhere: in the Australian bush, in the New and the
Old World, on all islands, in all rivers and waters, in the life and
movement of the waves and depths of the ocean, so full of secrets
everywhere; in a word, where man has not yet driven it away.

Once it lived everywhere in Germany, and even to-day it is still to be
found in many places. It has its being where the mighty elk made its
home on moor and marsh-land, and our forefathers hunted the aurochs and
the bison in the primitive forest. To-day it is associated with the
edelweiss and the chamois in the Alps; it has its being in the oak and
beech woods, and where the green current of the Rhine flows down, or
where the stag sends afar his cry of challenge to his rival, and the
huntsman makes his way over the moor.

There one still experiences the spell of the Elelescho. But everywhere,
all over the world, everywhere in our Fatherland, it once lived and
held sway.

We may hope that the intimate and beautiful relations that the German
sportsman establishes between himself and nature in his Fatherland will
for a long, long time be handed down from generation to generation,
and thus result in the maintenance and preservation of the noble old
spell of the woodland and the wilderness. The ideal of _true German
sportsmanship_ has been developed in as high and full a sense as that
of _fair play in sport_ in England.

Both of these ideals will be judged in unfriendly fashion only by those
who regard them from a distorted point of view. The English ideal of
sport is winning the world to itself; the German ideal must do the same.

Coming from a good German school of sport, I consider myself fortunate
in having learned to know the wonderful animal world of Africa. There
is no doubt whatever that I must ascribe to the influence of this
school the fact that my accounts of what I had experienced and seen met
with such an appreciative reception both at home and abroad.

How wonderful is the chase in Germany! The primitive attraction for the
chase must be a part of every man. One need only once have seen the
excitement that seizes upon a gathering of thousands if on a sudden a
hare or some other wild creature comes into sight. At such a moment,
almost without exception, every one of them is on the move, without
the least reflection, and even notwithstanding the consciousness that
in no case can he himself secure the prize. It is the call of a strong
impulse deep rooted in men. But in our Fatherland how grandly and
nobly what we mean by “true sportsmanship” has developed out of this
primitive instinct!

A certain kind of organisation of the business of the chase must have
been in existence even in primeval times. Those who have made a study
of this department of the life of nomadic hunters in many lands tell
us that tribes and groups of families hunt only in well-defined areas,
and as they value their lives do not venture to pass these boundaries.
I have learned the same thing by my own personal experience of the
Wandorobo and other nomad huntsmen of the African plateau. It must
therefore have been the case everywhere, from the times when primitive
men, the cave-dwellers, began their struggle with the mighty beasts of
primeval days, down to our own times, when the chase is more and more
regulated till at last it becomes the exclusive property of the owner
of the land.

As a consequence of this right came measures for game preservation both
against the interference of the stranger sportsman, and as regards the
wild creatures themselves. Increasing knowledge taught the hunter that
he could not kill more than a certain number of wild animals without
extirpating them entirely in his district.[25] Hence grew up our
complex game-laws of to-day, and the general feeling that our hunting
grounds should be used in as intelligent a way as possible. In Germany
this problem has been solved to a remarkable extent. German sport has
an important influence on the welfare of the people. Great numbers of
our people are strengthened in body and mind by the chase, and, thanks
to it, considerable sums of money are added to the resources of the
country folk.

According to a moderate estimate there are now in Germany upwards of
half a million sportsmen. Each year they kill about 40,000 head of red
and fallow deer, about 200,000 roebuck, 4,000,000 hares, 4,000,000
partridges, and 400,000 wild ducks, in all some 25,000,000 kilograms
(over 50,000,000 lb.) of wild game, of a value of 25,000,000 marks
(£1,250,000), and forming nearly one per cent. of the total meat supply
of Germany. The game leases bring in about 40,000,000 marks annually
(£2,000,000).[26] But these very sportsmen, who every year kill such
a large quantity of wild animals, must at the same time be protectors
and guardians of this same animal life! Strange as it may seem, many
species of wild animals would have been long ago extinct if there were
no sportsmen. For imperative reasons, the hunter must at the same time
undertake the part of protector.

_But this idea ought to be to include a great deal more than is now the
case._ As I have already said, no nation has known so well how to form
a beautiful and poetical ideal of the chase and the spirit of sport as
the Germans have done. But it is not to be denied that this perfect
development, even in its very completeness, has in a certain sense
become one-sided, in so far as sportsmen restrict their protection and
guardianship to certain species of animals; one-sided, too, inasmuch as
to a certain extent they regard their mission from the point of view
of a close corporation. In this there is a certain advantage, but also
a certain amount of danger now that, as a result of the rapid progress
of civilisation, changes are introduced in every department of life so
much more quickly than in earlier times.

Huntsmen and fishermen desire the complete extermination of all kinds
of animals that they consider to be a cause of injury to their sport.
The result is the destruction of many kinds of animals that are
beautiful in form and constitute an ornament of the landscape. By the
same kind of reasoning sportsmen, in their capacity of landlords and
forest owners, ought to demand the extermination of the wild animals
that obtain their food from field and forest. Naturally sportsmen do
not want this, but they should, as far as may be, let themselves be
guided by higher points of view. This is the case already in many
instances. For example, as an instance of zealous game supervision
inspired by scientific principles, we have lately had to welcome a
valuable idea of Forest Commissioner Count Bernstorff. According to
his plan, small labels that will not annoy the animals (the so-called
“Game marks”) are attached near the ears of young roebucks and red
deer. Thus their resting-places, their movements, their growth, can be
carefully observed.... We are, therefore, actually living in a time
when to a certain extent each individual head of game is numbered!

Interesting and valuable as such measures may be, should we not
extend our loving care also to the animals that, though they are not
reckoned as game, yet adorn and give animation to the land we live
in? Some great landlords have given a bright example of progress in
this direction. Thus in Hungary there are sporting estates on which
wolf and bear are not completely exterminated, and in Germany estates
on which the fox is spared to a certain extent. The result has been
to the advantage of stags’ antlers and bucks’ horns on the estates in
question. English landlords allow a free home to a pair of peregrine
falcons or eagles, so as not to allow these beautiful birds to be
completely extirpated.

From these examples it is clear that there can be various opinions as
to the view generally taken with regard to “predatory animals.” If
there is not merely a selfish protection for game animals, but also
protection for the other mammals and birds, we shall thus preserve
from extinction some of the glorious forms of the realm of nature,
and prevent their being sacrificed to narrow interests. There is food
for thought in the fact that (as I have often had occasion to observe
in Africa) in primitive countries there is to be found an astounding
abundance of animal life. _Since prehistoric times man has been
engaged in hunting with his simple weapons without, on the whole,
very much diminishing the number of animals._ A striking proof that
the destruction of wild life is the work of the Europeans themselves,
and of the native hunters carrying firearms under their authority,
is afforded by the fate of the North American buffalo, the whales,
walruses, and seals of the frozen seas, and finally by that of the
elephant in certain districts and of the South African fauna taken as
a whole.

We should not therefore act so rigorously in the proscription of our
so-called “predatory” animals. Yet, for instance, my near neighbour,
Freiherr H. Geyer von Schweppenberg, has lately shown that our pretty
water-hen (_Gallinula chloropus_, L.) can do a great deal of damage to
grass and corn.

In South Africa what are called “poisoning clubs” have been organised,
which aim at the extermination of “noxious animals” by poison. The
use of poison ought to be entirely forbidden by legal enactments,
with the exception, perhaps, of its administration for scientific
purposes. The strychnine canister--the use of which ought only to
be allowed, and that in exceptional cases, to those who are making
scientific collections--is now making its appearance everywhere all
over the world. I have had news from the most distant countries of its
employment, unhappily with far too great success.[27] It is already
some time since the last _Lammergeier_ of the German hill districts
fell a victim to it. It is thinning to frightful extent the numbers of
the bears in Eastern Asia and other countries, though these are quite
harmless to man. But in our Fatherland a completely organised “poison
business” has grown up, which is a very serious matter.

I should like also to advocate strongly the legal prohibition of the
use of pole-traps, to which all our owls and birds of prey fall victims.

If we go on as we are going, the time cannot be far distant when we
shall have to strike out of the list of the living several interesting
members of our native fauna. In North America, in recent times,
the following species, amongst others, have some of them become
extinct, others extremely scarce: the Californian grizzly bear
(_Ursus horribilis californicus_), the San Joaquin Valley elk, or
wapiti (_Cervus nannodes_), Stone’s reindeer (_Rangifer stonei_), the
prongbuck or pronghorn (_Antilocapra americana_), the Pallas cormorant
(_Phalacrocorax perspillicatus_), the Labrador duck (_Camptolaimus
labradorius_), the ivory woodpecker (_Campephilus principalis_), the
scotar (_Aix sponsa_), several other species of birds, and finally the
American woodcock. This last falls a victim chiefly to professional
hunters, who are accustomed to kill it by hundreds in its winter

“This list could perhaps be extended,” Mr. R. Rathbun, the Secretary
of the Smithsonian Institute (whose kindness I have to thank for this
information), adds at the end of his letter.

His communications have also been of special interest to me because
they awoke in me old recollections. In the ‘forties of the past
century my father received a letter from North America in which he
was informed that on ground over which the New York of to-day extends,
one could shoot in a single day hundreds of woodcock. I myself, in
my young days, used to take care of a beautifully coloured parrot,
of a kind that since then has been almost extirpated, and is hardly
to be obtained any longer. _Connurus carolinensis_ is the name of
this beautiful species of parrot, which also appears on the list of
extinct animals of North America. There, too, men have begun to give
strong practical expression to the movement for animal protection. In
sanctuaries like Yellowstone Park there is complete protection for
all animal life, including beasts of prey, and the bears have become
so tame that they allow visitors to come within a few paces of them.
Count E. Bernstorff, who received permission to shoot one of the few
bisons still preserved in the State of Wyoming, says “One might take
the way in which the animal life of America is protected as an example
in securing still better preservation for the survivors of the primeval
wild life of Africa. One must acknowledge that the Americans and their
noble President, a brave sportsman, are now doing all that is possible
in this matter.”

President Roosevelt, in fact, has come forward manfully in the lists
as a champion of widely extended protection for all the beauties of
nature, and especially of the animal world. He endeavours by his words
and writings to work effectually for these great and noble ideas, which
bring to all men delight, profit, and contentment.[28]

Brought up in the school of German sportsmanship, I had later on to
change completely my view as to our distinction between “noxious
animals” and “beasts of prey.” The African wilderness swarms with
_beasts of prey_, and yet also swarms with _useful wild animals_.
The waters of Africa teem with the _fish destroyers_, and also teem
with _fish_. We should not therefore act so short-sightedly and
pedantically. We should not be so eager to hunt down the last fox,
the last pine-marten. The nesting-places of herons and cormorants are
becoming ever fewer; the places where the handsome black tree storks
build in our German Fatherland can almost be counted on the fingers
of one hand; and the same is nearly true of the nesting-places of our
rarer birds of prey.

The killing of a wild cat has already become an event; it is the same
with the eagle-owl.

Out of the mass of literature of recent date bearing on the subject, I
take a single book. In a very readable essay, _Der Uhu in Böhmen_, Kurt
Loos shows that only a few years ago this interesting and beautiful
large owl (_Bubo maximus_) was to be found making its home to the
extent of some fifty pairs in thirty-five districts of Bohemia; now
only eighteen pairs are living there, in ten districts. The author
demands protection for the surviving pairs of owls, as natural objects
that should be preserved, and he makes out a strong case for his
proposal. Röntgen-ray photographs are among the illustrations of this
interesting work, and they suggest that in times when one can do one’s
work with such excellent appliances, there is all the more reason for
avoiding the thoughtless neglect of legacies left to us by Nature from
the days of its primeval beauty.

Numerous other examples of the rapid disappearance of certain species
in our Fatherland might be quoted here. Unfortunately we have, on the
whole, very little right to reproach the people of Southern Europe
on the subject of their custom of carrying on a systematic massacre
of birds; for we ourselves are always trapping thrushes and larks,
and there is the shooting of the woodcock in spring. There can be no
doubt that, if we would give up this spring shooting of the woodcock,
this bird, which has so won the heart of the German sportsman, would
breed abundantly in our forests. On sporting estates in the wooded
hills in Baden I have had occasion to observe this bird nesting; and
it is to be regretted that German sportsmen, who in other matters
obey the customs of the chase with such scrupulous conscientiousness,
do not spare this bird in the spring-time, although they are thus
extirpating from their hunting grounds a bird that breeds in the
woodlands of our country. The North American woodcock is in process
of extinction, for it also is not spared by sportsmen in its breeding
grounds, and it is just as little in safety from them in its winter
quarters. It is thus one of the disappearing birds of North America,
whilst our European woodcock is not so much exposed to harm from
systematic pursuit either in its partly inaccessible northern breeding
grounds or in its winter abode. But it is indeed difficult to abolish
old, deep-rooted practices that are no longer abreast of the times.
“Che vuole, signore?--il piacere della caccia!” was the reply of
an Italian to a tourist who remonstrated with him on the subject of
the extraordinarily widespread destruction of doves by means of nets
in Northern Italy. The same answer would probably be given by the
monks[29] of certain islands of the Mediterranean, who, keeping up an
old custom, kill countless multitudes of turtle-doves during their
migration. These are their favourite dainties, and they also export
them largely in a preserved state. So, too, it will be a difficult
matter to obtain from German sportsmen the complete abandonment of
their pleasant spring campaign against the woodcock. Through the very
interesting experiments of the Duke of Northumberland, who had marks
put upon numbers of young woodcock, it has been ascertained that large
numbers of them undoubtedly spend the whole winter in England. Now, if
Professor Boettger and Wilhelm Schuster are right in their conclusions,
drawn from similar observations, as to the return of the conditions of
the Tertiary period, and if the species of birds they observed used at
an earlier date not infrequently to winter with us, a more extended
protection for the woodcock ought, at any rate, to be introduced.

The continual levying of contributions on our colonies of sea-gulls,
to the injury of a great number of the other species of birds that
inhabit our sea-coasts, should also be greatly restricted. If this
is not done we shall witness, within a period already in sight, a
lamentable extermination of our shore- and sea-birds. And how grateful
for protection many species show themselves! Wherever it is extended to
them they enliven the landscape in the most pleasing way. So, too, it
has been found that certain species of gulls have adapted themselves to
a kind of nocturnal life in the neighbourhood of our great commercial

I may here mention as standing in special need of protection, and as
wonderful adornments of our German landscape, whose preservation should
find an advocate in every thoughtful man--the buzzard, the kestrel, the
hobby-hawk, both our varieties of kite, the crane, the heron, the white
and the black stork, the crested grebe, the water-hen, and the coot.
All these enliven and embellish the landscape to a conspicuous extent,
and should not be sacrificed to selfish interests.

I knew an old gamekeeper, a native of the March of Brandenburg, who
throughout the course of a long life had been taking care of a shooting
estate, which had grown up with him, so to speak. He protected _his_
wild creatures, and was delighted at having a colony of storks’ nests
and a group of badger burrows in _his_ woods. For long years he was
able to preserve a primeval oak, the largest in the whole district,
which in the year 1870 he named the “King’s Oak.”

To-day no birds of prey breed any longer on this estate; the primeval
village of badgers is in ruins, and irreverent hands have cut down
the “King’s Oak.” But the old man, now that his time of service has
expired, never sets foot on the estate, though he is passing the
evening of his life in the neighbourhood.

That was a man who had innate in him a just and reverent feeling for
the preservation of the beauties and glories handed down to us from the
far past, and who loved, and, so far as it was possible, guarded these
wonders of nature.

Let us once for all throw overboard the sharp distinction between
“noxious” and “useful” animals, and within certain limits let us
protect the whole world of animal and plant life. This would be the
noblest form of game preservation, in the widest sense of the word.

I venture to dwell upon these ideas here, knowing that they are shared
by a large number of men and women. Amongst our German game-preserving
associations we have societies that have rendered great services to the
protection of our native wild animals. An extension of these useful
efforts to the protection of all our native fauna and flora in general
is most certainly called for by the greatly altered conditions of our
time. We are gradually coming to a period when every individual wild
animal will be registered by specialists and indicated in a list! And
we are also gradually approaching in our sporting estates the ideal of
extensive, well-kept gardens, in which no touch of wild nature will any
longer be left.

I appeal once more to the authority of President Roosevelt. He
expresses the opinion that it is now not so much the question of
preserving great supplies of any one species as of maintaining the
primitive beauty of the forest in its wild life.

I think with pleasure of my youth, when, at a time when my father,
in union with other game-preservers, founded the _Jagdschutzverein_
(“Association for the Protection of Game”) of the Rhine Province, I
had the opportunity of making myself acquainted with the old state
of things in this department. My native district, the Eifel, still
sheltered boars, eagle-owls, wild cats, and many other rare animals
living in wild freedom. The ear of the boy learned to know and to love
every cry of our native fauna. Roosevelt rightly remarks that many
of the cries of American animals, such as the hoot of the owl, are
_falsely_ described as unpleasant. He who knows them well comes to
love them, and would not like to miss them from the general concert
of animal sounds. Here in Germany, too, we have evidence of this to a
gradually increasing extent.

The German sportsman ought to give a shining example to those of other
lands in this matter of the protection of _all_ the dwellers in his
hunting grounds. To his care is entrusted _the whole German fauna_ in
its widest extent. To secure the preservation of this splendid work of
nature here in Germany is an enterprise that will earn the gratitude
of every lover of nature, the thanks of millions of men. The German
sportsman, as the chosen guardian and keeper of the wild life of his
native land, must also become the protecting lord of all its animal
and plant life; he should maintain his own estate in its primitive
condition to the fullest possible extent. But to his estate, in a wider
sense, also belongs the velt of German Africa, still so rich in wild
life. Here, too, the German sportsman should take up the position of
guardian and protector.

The well-known English writer Clive Philips-Wolley says that happily
the old English sporting spirit is not dead; that the farthest and
wildest hunting grounds of the world, a visit to which demands the
greatest energy and courage, are still sought out by men of the English
race, as in earlier days. England owes a great part of her colonies
to men, eager for enterprise, who as hunters penetrated into unknown
wildernesses; and the English hunter has, thanks to his courage and
determination, always played a great part among strange peoples. The
reckless conduct of travellers in far-off countries and among strange
tribes is often sufficient to give a _whole nation_ a bad character
in the eyes of these people, while a right bearing may make it appear
worthy of their admiration. Philips-Wolley further points out that the
taking of “big bags” of game in far-off hunting grounds[30] should not
be considered merely from the point of view of stay-at-home people,
but from the point of view of those who have special knowledge of the
districts in question.

The time has passed when far-off lands were secured in this way.
But I would wish for the German sportsman that he may, so far as is
possible, visit the splendid hunting grounds that he can now find in
the German colonies, and there become familiar with the chase in forms
that our homeland can no longer offer to him. The more brethren of the
green-coated guild go abroad nowadays, and bring us tidings of the
fauna and of the hunting grounds of the German colonies, the more will
our knowledge of this difficult subject be enlarged, and we shall be in
a better position for working out practical protective regulations for
the preservation of these splendid hunting grounds.

And what a deep charm for the hunter there is in pursuing the chase in
such regions! It is true that circumstances have so greatly changed
in a few decades of years that the old hunters--say those of fifty
years ago--would probably not be able to take the same deep delight in
the sport of to-day that they felt in their own time. It was quite a
different matter to go out to meet the dangerous wild beasts of Africa
with the simple weapons, the muzzle-loaders, of that time. True, the
African hunters, whom Professor Fritsch made acquaintance with in Cape
Colony about the time of the ‘sixties, already possessed long-range
weapons. They used “small-bore rifles” firing an elongated bullet that
carried up to 1,500 yards. These rifles were fitted with ivory sights
and silver sighting-lines, for shooting at night. A hunter named Layard
was at that time famous in Cape Colony for having brought down an
ostrich at 1,750 yards!

Let us follow for once the wanderings of a hunter in East Africa,
and give ourselves up completely to the charm of such a sporting
expedition. No one is better fitted for making himself acquainted with
lands that are remote, difficult of access and unhealthy, than the
sportsman, who, even in such tracts of country, can find enjoyment.
Besides the greater or less delight that the chase itself affords, much
besides that is beautiful and desirable will present itself to him.

When he has got his caravan together he enjoys in the first place the
feeling of primitive untrammelled life in the wilderness. We see,
indeed, how amongst those who belong to the most highly developed
of civilised nations, even in our own days, the need of some dim
reflection of this life makes itself plainly felt. Thus, especially in
America, we see how many dwellers in cities spend some days out ill the
woods and prairies, in order to enjoy there for some time under the
tent the pleasures of camp-life.

In a land which, like Africa, harbours all kinds of dangers, we must
leave all hesitation behind us. In fact, the charm of danger must be
an attraction to the huntsman. He has to justify the confidence of
his followers and of his comrades. The natives who come in contact
with him will by his bearing and conduct form their judgment of all
his compatriots, and of his native land as a whole. So there imposes
itself on him the duty of regarding himself as _a representative of
his nation_. Though he is justified, if it comes to that, in defending
his life even by bloodshed, he will nevertheless seek, as far as is
possible, to enter into friendly relations with the native tribes. In
many districts of Africa the European will traverse, with altogether
superior weapons in his hands, countries whose inhabitants still fight
with nearly the same weapons that were borne by prehistoric tribes.
But notwithstanding this, he must remember that his superiority rests
chiefly on the prestige that the European possesses in presence of the
black man. But this prestige will not suffice, especially at night, to
keep off all attacks. It is therefore necessary that proper precaution
should be the rule. This is in the long run not such an easy matter,
for generally in the midst of apparent peace no one will think of the
possibility of an attack. But it often takes place without warning; and
thefts at night will also sometimes happen. In short, the middle course
between necessary precaution and needless nervousness is not always
easy for the traveller to hit upon.

But all this, to a great extent, adds to the charm of that wild caravan
life. There is something endlessly alluring in thus going out into
the open country with all one’s belongings, pitching one’s camp by
some pleasant place where there is water, and under shady trees, and
wandering, free as the birds, wheresoever the desire or wish of the
moment leads one. Of course, if no shady trees are to be found, if the
water tastes strongly of natron, or looks more like pea-soup than clear
spring-water, if swarms of mosquitoes annoy one in the night, and flies
and other insects in the daytime, all this must be put up with as a
part of this wild life. Free as the birds, we can indeed choose our
way, but with the everlasting restriction that it lies where water is
to be found, and that we can secure supplies.

But with a little good-humour one can get over all this, especially if
one keeps before one’s eyes the fact that there are many worse things
here, such as malaria, dysentery, and all the other numerous tropical
diseases with which these lands are so lavishly supplied. But we could
not find greater enjoyment in the primitive beauty and charm of this
wilderness, even if all this were not so.

It is true that the hunter in Equatorial Africa cannot obtain such
splendid trophies as the stag’s antlers, that marvellous structure
built up by an animal organism, and, according to Röhrig’s striking
researches, renewed again year after year in about eighteen weeks.
But instead there beckon to him other prizes--the mighty horns of the
buffalo, the heavily knotted horns of the eland, the strong spiral
horns of the two species of kudus, the variously shaped horns of the
cow-antelopes, the sword-like horns of the oryx-antelope, all the
beautiful variously shaped antelope and gazelle horns, and many others
that make most delightful trophies, and will be still more highly
valued the more sportsmen go to these distant countries, and the more
these treasures, often so difficult to obtain, are understood. The
mighty weapons of the elephant, that glitter white in the sun, the
uncouth horns from the head of the rhinoceros or the tusks of the
hippopotamus, the head of a giant crocodile bristling with teeth, the
plain and yet so eagerly coveted hide of the King of the Desert, and
the glaringly variegated skin of the leopard--all these are souvenirs
and trophies that have the greatest charm for the hunter; of the
greatest charm and value if he himself has taken them, and not merely
(to use the sharp words with which Roosevelt scourges such practices)
contracted for their capture. The German sportsman must contend for all
these trophies against certain unsportsmanlike elements, such as the
Boers, who unfortunately seem to be now exterminating the wild animals
on Kilimanjaro; but they belong to the sportsman much more than to such
as these. German hunters should not hesitate to take by sportsmanlike
methods their fair share of the stock of big game, and in this way,
as has long been the case in India and Ceylon, a code of customs of
the chase will grow up in the German colonies, suited to the special
circumstances of the country. In a publication by Captain Schlobach,
that is well worth reading, it was recently stated that the military
posts at Olgoss and Sonjo on the Masai uplands were continually at
starvation point, and, in default of other supplies, had often recently
been provisioned entirely with the spoils of the chase.[31] What would
not German sportsmen (who contribute such large sums to the colonies)
have given to be able to shoot these wild animals, and at the same time
to help to spread in our colonies the ideals of the chase as understood
in Germany, and to assist in the general recognition and success of
German sportsmanship!

Our knowledge of the animal world of foreign lands is gradually
increasing to such a satisfactory extent that not only do we find a
general interest taken in the wild life and the hunting grounds of our
colonies, but we shall also be in a position to introduce adequate
measures of protection for this beautiful fauna.


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


In our colonies much has been lately done towards clearing up the
hitherto hidden secrets of animal life. But if one remembers how
many different opinions there are, even amongst authorities at home
in Germany, with regard to many of the questions relating to our
home fauna, one will pass a more lenient judgment on the many sharp
controversies about matters of this kind in the tropics.

But nothing of value is to be hoped for from controversial strife over
divergent theories. All men who have acquired expert knowledge on these
difficult matters should rather unite in a common task, and strive by
co-operation to obtain some adequate result.

In the wide British colonial possessions in Africa very extensive
reservations have been established, in which no one is allowed to harm
the animals. The practice of making exceptions in favour of certain
officials has not been found to answer, and has been given up. So now
wide districts of British Africa rank as animal sanctuaries.

In German Africa, too, the authorities have tried, as far as they can,
to obtain useful results by similar methods. Unfortunately serious
events of many kinds are daily contributing to the diminution in
numbers of the fauna of German Africa. Thus the war in South-West
Africa is sweeping away the still surviving stock of wild animals as
with an iron broom.

In the face of all this, all parties concerned should take their
share in common action. Our museums should be provided with the
necessary material. Even if our knowledge of the African fauna has made
sufficient progress, it further concerns us to exert an educating and
informing influence on every pioneer of our colonies, so that he may
not come in contact with that beautiful animal world in utter ignorance
of it. Unfortunately we are still greatly wanting in this respect.
However, in recent years a great amount of material has been placed
at the disposal of the museums by our colonial officers, officials,
and private individuals. Many of them have even made important
contributions to our special knowledge of the animal world.

But now, whether it is a question of tracing out the hidden and unknown
life and ways of that equatorial animal world that has come into our
possession, or of investigating the customs and languages of races that
are barely discovered, or of tracking the horrors of tropical diseases
and the germs that excite them and becoming master of that miniature
world of life with the lens and the microscope, or of going into the
wilderness as a sportsman--the men who devote themselves to all these
pursuits will be led onwards by that spell, whose name the reader
guesses, the spell of unchanged primeval conditions and untouched

May as many as possible of our German sportsmen go forth into our
tropical possessions and yield themselves up to this spell! That which
in our hunting grounds at home speaks to their hearts in the rustling
of the oak and beech woods and on familiar moors and fields, they will
find in a far higher degree in that far-off wilderness under the German
flag. Returning home, may they, working in unison, and by mutually
supplying what each may lack, bring into existence some splendid
memorial of the joys of German sport.



The Lonely Wonder-world of the Nyíka

The endless wilderness of the Nyíka presents to the traveller so much
that is strange, beautiful, and wonderful that at times his senses
become wearied of these changing impressions of travel, and a longing
comes over him for the familiar scenes he has learned to love at home.

As though in giant characters written on its rocks, the Nyíka tells
us of the conditions and the life of the past and at the same time of
everyday actualities, giving us its message as well by its snow-covered
volcanic peaks as in the footprints and tracks of the mighty creatures
that wander through it. It is a difficult undertaking to reconstruct
in fancy all the splendours that must once have presented themselves
to the eye in this region. But nevertheless I will tell of what I have
looked upon in the past,--of the many beautiful sights that linger in
my memory and rise up like the shadows of a mirage,--of the delightful
manifestations of its moving life, coming and going on hill and in
valley, as strange, wondrous, and unfamiliar forms reveal themselves
to the astonished spectator.


The mystery of a deep harmonious influence belongs to the mighty
wilderness. It reveals itself in its full beauty to him who has
strenuously acquired a love for it by making a long sojourn in it and
paying to it the tribute it demands.

       *       *       *       *       *

A stony wilderness extends endlessly on all sides, and the sight ranges
without limit over the expanse that loses itself in mist and cloud. A
barren stony sea, as far as the eye can reach!

But it is not the velt or the African desert that lies below us as we
rise one moment a hundred yards above the surface of the earth and
the next three hundred yards and more. It is the sea of houses that
form the capital of the German Empire.... In a few seconds the view
takes in all the full extent of the mighty city, and then, as if in a
dream, what we have just seen disappears from our sight. Borne by a
breeze, of which we are hardly aware, our balloon sweeps towards the
Baltic Sea.... It is a strange feeling thus to enjoy, thanks to our
lofty point of outlook, an extended view far over the level March of
Brandenburg with its teeming population all below us, a view which,
old as the world is, has been vouchsafed to few mortal men. The city,
with all its human life and activity, lies far below us. Its roar and
tumult, that strange voice of the stony sea, has died away. We begin
to make a long journey only a few hundred feet above the surface of
the earth. Later on we rise, sailing through banks and clouds to a
height of nine thousand feet above the earth, but before this higher
ascent we have time and leisure to take a bird’s-eye view of “all that
creeps and flies.” What an outlook over forest and plain! As we fly
over them, horses grazing in paddocks, cattle on the pastures, for a
moment suggest to me an illusion of the African velt peopled with its
wild life. The eye, again and again fascinated by this prospect as a
whole, can hardly grasp the details. Now our course is over endless
open heaths, over moors and woodlands. The fleet-footed red deer,
frightened by the drag-rope, look up in astonishment and stare at the
strange monster, not knowing whither to turn in flight from such a
menacing apparition. How the strange monster was a few hours later
within a hair’s breadth of burying us in the waves of the Baltic Sea is
another story....


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


How many hundred times, after I had gone back to the Dark Continent,
have I wished for such a lofty observatory, an airship that would
bear me over velt and desert, and from which I could fathom all the
secrets of the animal world of the tropics, instead of having to travel
toilsomely, fettered to the earth, often merely making step after step
automatically in the blazing heat of the sun. When one day such a wish
as this is fulfilled, that animal world in its beauty and splendour
will have to a great extent passed away....

I must, therefore, content myself with lofty observatories of another
kind, that are not unfrequently to be found in the Masai uplands,
in the form of numerous hills and rock masses. These afford splendid
views and pictures of the animal creation to the spectator who waits
patiently on their summits for hours and days, and has the help of
good optical instruments. What life and activity displays itself there
before our eyes under favourable circumstances! Though the wilderness
may appear a desert solitude, bare and empty of all life, let only a
few hours go by and the sun change its position a little, and already
one sees movement under the trees and bushes that have been till now
casting deep shadows. Then with measured steps, prudently regardful
of their safety, all kinds of animals come forth to graze. We see the
different wild species appearing, at first a few individuals, and soon
in greater or smaller herds.

How far the eye carries in this clear transparent atmosphere, and what
a wide tract of country we are able to overlook! In this tropical
brightness, after weeks and months, and even years, I could not get
rid of the perplexing illusion as to distances. The tract of country
that my sight could command seemed always much less extensive than it
really was. And again, we were continually being misled by shimmering
reflections of the air, so that we took gnus for elephants, ostriches
for rhinoceroses, zebras for wild asses, and we might even hold to our
mistaken view for a considerable time. He who wants to watch the living
animals in this way from a lofty point of observation, must be able to
keep on persistently for hours. Thus only will the scene piece by
piece become familiar to him. Thus only will all the moving life below
him very gradually combine into one splendid and intelligible picture.


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


On the way to my look-out hill I pass thousands of the tracks made by
wild animals.

At the very outset, the traveller from northern lands sees a most
surprising sight in those hundreds of thousands of tracks made by wild
animals, and faithfully preserved for weeks and even for longer periods
in the dry season on the plains of Africa. The giants of the animal
world leave behind them their mighty footprints, often for nearly
a year, holes in which a man will sometimes break his leg. But the
footprints of the smaller animals also last a long time on velt and
plain. And the language of the wilderness rises to a most effectual
appeal to our senses when these tracks are associated with the marked
tarry scent of the waterbuck in the bush, the breath of the great wild
herds on the plain, the strong scent left by elephant or rhinoceros in
the primeval forest and in the sultry thickets, and the scent of the
buffalo among the reed-beds.

There is often a chaos of tracks, a wild maze of paths trodden flat
as a barn-floor, crossing each other, and then again uniting, so that
the idea of tame herds, mentioned before as at times suggested, can no
longer hold good.

To-day we have again waited patiently to see the wilderness gradually
come to life in the hours of the afternoon. And we have not been

Out from the shadows of scattered groups of trees there march
great herds of the white-bearded gnus, that remind one so of small
buffaloes. Slowly they make their way to the more open grazing ground
and disperse themselves over it. But careful watch is kept by a few of
them--the bulls that lead the herds, experienced old fellows! Under
their guardianship the herd feels itself perfectly safe. There is
also an unusually large drove of the wonderfully graceful impallah
or black-tailed antelope. What a remarkable contrast is presented
as the herds mingle together! The gnus, strongly built, haughty in
their bearing, conscious of their strength against all animal foes,
stand out wonderfully amongst their almost too graceful comrades, the
impallah-antelopes. We can plainly distinguish that the females and
those that are accompanied by young ones keep more together, while the
bucks of the impallah-antelopes keep apart and look after their safety.

Now a dark black mass slowly separates itself from a large group of
trees. It is followed by several forms that do not so easily catch the
eye. Our field-glasses tell us that a small flock of ostriches has come
to mix with the wild species already noted. Now there are perhaps well
over three hundred head of these three kinds of wild animals united
together in one gathering. They are used to come together in the most
friendly way, without apparently taking much notice of each other. For
a long time the sight of these creatures, all so different, holds us
fascinated. But our optical instruments must restlessly explore the
distance for new sights of the animal kingdom; and at the same time
there are even better instruments of investigation at work--the
eyes of my black companions.


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._



  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


“Pharu, bwana!” now whispers one of my men, and points cautiously with
his arm down to a certain point on the plain. His caution, however, is
not necessary, for it is at a distance of at least a thousand yards
that his sharp eyes have distinguished the outlines of two almost
invisible rhinoceroses that are moving slowly through a group of
acacias. What an effect that word “pharu” has upon me! For once more
there has come close to me one of those strange, mighty beings that
really belong to a time long passed, and which, like the elephant,
the giraffe, the zebra, the gnu, and a few other forms, lend to the
wilderness the charm of primeval days. Naturally still stronger is
the effect of the cry of “Tembo!” on the hunter and the watcher amid
such scenes. “Elephant!” This name electrifies even the weariest
traveller. But when the word is “Twigga!” (“Giraffe!”)--even here in
Europe the strange, slender-necked creature, moving in some acacia wood
all flooded with the sunlight, comes up bodily before me--bodily and
plainly to be seen, but alas, only in imagination!

After trying for a minute, I succeed in getting the massive creatures
sharply defined in the middle of the field of my glass. But the clear
view of them is something that comes and goes. Several times it
looks as if the velt had swallowed them up; then they suddenly come
into sight again, being specially visible to the eye when they show
themselves sideways. Seen from front or rear, particularly when at
rest, they are all but invisible. We are in luck; the rhinoceroses are
ambling towards us, and come nearer and nearer, slowly following the
line of some hollows in the ground.

Now, borne on strong pinions, and brightly illuminated by the sunbeams,
one of the great bustards cuts through the sea of air, and sinks down
into some low ground far away below us. This is not an unusual sight in
the late hours of the afternoon, and soon after we see not only some
more of the same species, but also three other bustards of a smaller
and commoner species that is more active in flight. It is the _Otis
gindiana_, which I have got to like so much on account of its charming
gambols on the wing, that must be a pleasure to every lover of birds.
At this time of day it carries on this strange tumbling in the air, and
if the day is hot and dry it makes for the neighbourhood of the water,
or in any case for certain hollow places of the velt that provide
it with at least a certain amount of soft vegetable food. Another
picture! A great flock of splendidly coloured crested cranes wings its
strong undulating flight and goes away over the hill. I notice in the
air the striking appearance of the snake-vulture and a pair of the
nimble-winged Bateleur eagles, the “sky apes” of the Abyssinians. My
gaze follows them eagerly into the distance.... In what various ways
the bird world displays its mastery of the realms of air! Our attention
is riveted now on the quiet gliding flight of the vulture in the
highest levels of the air, now on the spectacle of a struggle in the
air between some birds of prey and some ravens or bee-eaters that are
annoying them. Searching the ground as it goes, the augur buzzard
(_Butco augur_) wings its flight over the stone-strewn slopes of the
adjacent hill. Bateleur eagles wheel in graceful circles high in air,
let themselves fall down for several yards, and then shoot up again
heavenward. For hours at a time they will carry on their strong-winged
circling and plunging through the realm of air, apparently without
effort or fatigue. Various kinds of kites show themselves in their
oscillating flight, that makes them always so clever at escaping
the gun; amongst them large numbers of Montagu’s harrier (_Circus
pygargus_, L.), which at certain times of the year range restlessly
over the velt. Hawks and sparrow-hawks wing their rapid flight in
search of prey. In short, every kind and form of bird flight that one
can imagine! For instance, the proud majestic flight of the larger
species of vultures is essentially distinct from the heavy flight
of the small Egyptian vultures (_Neophron percnopterus_, L.), whose
flight the Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria most aptly described, when
he remarked that at a distance the bird might easily be mistaken for a


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._



    _C. G. Schillings, phot._


It is indeed a great pleasure to follow with the eye all the wondrously
beautiful types of flight that the African birds of prey present to us.
The _enormous numbers of birds of prey_, in a land that is nevertheless
so rich in wild life, ought to suggest some salutary reflections to
those who, here at home, with such dogged persistence wage war with
guns and pole-traps against those creatures, which are so great an
ornament to the landscape. For my part, I would on every point support
the proposals of experienced men, like Freiherr von Besserer of Munich
and Dr. von Bocksberger of Marburg, who advocate protection even
for our birds of prey, at least within the Government domains. “Let
us try,” says Von Besserer, “still to preserve them at least within
certain limits. Let us grant them some few places of refuge. Let us not
arraign them too strictly for every theft, so that future generations
may also enjoy the spectacle of their beautiful flight.”

And now it seems, as if on some gigantic chess board, move after move
is being made on the plain below us. We have hardly remarked the wild
species already noted, when we suddenly find ourselves perplexed as to
which point we shall first direct our gaze to, which is to attract the
special attention of our eyes. To our right, two great herds of zebras
come rolling along, and ever as they move are now plainly visible, now
almost disappear, as if in regular alternation. To our left, on the
crest of a ridge that rises there, suddenly sharply defined silhouettes
appear--again it is a herd of gnus, and this time clearly one that
numbers at least a hundred and fifty head. While our attention is still
attracted by this beautiful spectacle, my trusty comrade Abdallah
suddenly lays his hand upon my arm and, only with a glance of his eyes,
indicates the little valley that lies stretched out below our feet.
This time there is good excuse for his caution. For there, looking
as if they were cast in bronze, two of the wonderfully beautiful
giraffe-gazelles stand staring up in astonishment at the place where we
are posted. It may well be that these timid children of the wilderness
here had never yet been disturbed by the strange sight of a human
figure. “Nyógga-nyógga!” whispered the lips of my comrade.

It is not often that one has the chance of seeing the nyógga-nyógga at
such close quarters, and besides, it is extremely difficult to watch it
without being noticed by it. It is so completely lost to sight in its
surroundings, and is so extremely timid and watchful, that I have very
seldom indeed succeeded in observing this splendid animal before it has
itself remarked my presence. When I succeeded it was almost invariably
towards evening when it had come out to feed. It is worth while to
take full advantage of such moments, for the slightest disturbance
instantly drives it away. And so it was now. It was not long before the
two nyógga-nyógga, with their long necks stretched out, disappeared
in the hollows of the broken ground that extended below the place
where we stood. After this I caught sight of them a few times standing
amongst the clumps of acacias, timid, surprised, and watchful; then the
gazelles betook themselves to the protection of the wide velt, looking
like mere points in the distance.

To me it seems as if the sonorous name that the Swahili language gives
them, and also the softer name that sounds so sweetly in the mouth
of a Masai,--“Nanyād,”--best and most fitly express their beauty,
strangeness, and grace.

Again we turn our attention to all that is going on below us. This
time it is the rhinoceroses, which have approached to within a few
hundred yards of my post, that most engage our attention. We observe
how they nibble here and there at the boughs of the _Salvadora persica_
and other shrubs, and then again rub their rough hide or their horns
against the strong trunk of a tree or on a block of stone. They have
all this time been coming gradually nearer to the herd of gnus that we
first noticed, and now at last they stand quietly on the level ground,
only a hundred paces away from the old gnu-bulls which are acting as

And now it is I myself who am the first to make out with the glass a
third rhinoceros. “Wapi, bwana?” my companion eagerly asks me, and as I
point out to him the place on the velt where I have picked the animal
out, he approvingly confirms my observation with the remark: “Ndio,
bwana, pharu mkubwa sana” (“Yes, master, a very big rhinoceros!”)

After some time we see that it is an old and unusually large bull;
he, too, has gradually taken the same line as his two colleagues. Our
observation proves to be correct, and we also remark before long that
the first pair of rhinoceroses we had noticed is made up of an old cow
and her nearly grown up young one.

More herds of zebras and gnus, and small troops of Grant’s gazelles and
of impallah-antelopes have come into sight, and now they are joined by
a whole crowd of hartebeests, which so far have kept themselves hidden
in a side valley of the velt full of thick tall grass.

And now the moving mass of animal life is ever more abundant, more
varied. I notice in the valley at the foot of my hill a string of
guinea-fowl; how they hurry and scurry about, flutter up with sounding
strokes of their wings, and then soon drop down again! And now my
attention is attracted by a pair of Bateleur eagles, that wheel in the
air, and enjoy themselves for an hour at a time playing on the wing.
They probably have made their eyrie not far from this spot.


  _C. G Schillings, phot._



  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


For minutes at a time the cry of the francolin rings out clearly round
about my post; then again it is silent. My eyes can indeed see animals
of many kinds, and my sight ranges with restless efforts over the far
distance; but so far I have looked in vain for a form that is frequent
and familiar enough in this wilderness--the towering figure of the

Where can the giraffes be hiding to-day? Why have they not come out
to the still freshly green acacias in the far-stretching hollow to my
left, where I have already marked their presence for whole days at a

And yet they are there, only I had failed to distinguish them. At last
I can make out their strange forms, as they graze there among the
acacias, and they stand out sharply under the oblique rays of the sun.

What poetry there is in the movements of all the various organisms that
our eyes behold! Every variety of gait, from the heavy, swinging, and
nevertheless rapid march of the pachyderms to the graceful speed of a
pretty gazelle, speaks in a language of its own to him who has become
familiar with the peculiar movements of this animal world. Just as at
the outset the strange appearance of an animal one sees for the first
time makes a surprisingly strong impression on one, so too does the
great difference in the gait of the various species. But they were
all soon familiar to me. So now at the sight of the giraffes I feel
a pleasure and delight in their quaint coming and going, their heads
appearing and disappearing, there below me in the midst of the green
bowers of mimosa leaves, high over which my view ranges. What laws must
be at work here too, by whose operation I am compelled to feel all this
to be so beautiful, so harmonious, so splendid! I grasp the meaning of
the words: “Therefore I believe that life will first open its eyes in
that world of which Goethe said: ‘There is still the life of life, and
this is only form.’”[32]

What a splendid sight there is from my lofty look-out! the whole of
this mighty spectacle displays itself almost without a sound that I
can hear. Only a few voices of birds, but no cry of any other animal
reaches my ears. But as the breeze rises more and more towards evening,
there begins in my immediate neighbourhood a strange and beautiful
concert, that is already familiar to me. And now, as the wind blows
more and more strongly through the perforated gall-nuts that hang
on every tree above us, there resounds through the desert silence a
strange melody, a strange language of musical notes that only the sound
of the Æolian harp can to some degree represent.

These nut-galls on the acacias are bored quite through, and in many
cases become the dwelling-places of small ants. If one disturbs them
by tapping on the outside of their strange habitation,[33] they come
swarming out to fight with the disturber of their peace! It is not
so often that their strange ways and doings concern a human being,
but it comes to pass to-day. The watchful observer takes delight not
only in the sound of these strange musical instruments, but also in
the thought that they give shelter to a little world of their own, a
peculiarly organised little state made up of living beings, just as the
wide endless wilderness below them is a state with the various larger
wild animals for its inhabitants.


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


My diary records yet another kind of natural observatory, a giant tree
uprooted on a wooded river-bank. Here, as it were, in the gallery
of the wood, the huge trunk felled by the storm-wind offered me an
inviting seat among its branches, and thence I enjoyed many a sight of
the animal world around.

There I had a view of the river close at hand, and farther away many
clearings of the wood, which at this time of the year showed a rich
display of animal life. The ripening forest fruits had attracted into
this neighbourhood large packs of baboons. It was good to watch their
busy activity as I looked down from my observatory, where I sat hidden
by a thick growth of creeper. Great herds of antelopes, and especially
waterbuck and Grant’s gazelles, are regularly to be found in these wide
clearings of the woods. I remember some hours of the afternoon when
the life of the forest displayed itself here in a way that suggested
Paradise. I saw at the same time a large drove of the graceful,
wonderful pallahs, and, grazing in their immediate neighbourhood,
some twenty Grant’s gazelle bucks which had joined together to form
a great herd. The antelopes had scattered themselves over part of
the clearing, feeding on the fresh growing grass there, but all the
while keeping themselves somewhat apart from the herd of gazelles.
But they had gradually drawn near to a party of waterbuck which were
standing under an old shady tree, and now I had an opportunity of
watching for a long time these three varieties of antelope, all so
beautiful, yet so different. To my surprise, after some time they were
joined by nine stately eland-antelopes, whose white side-stripes made
them wonderfully prominent among the uniformly coloured coats of the
waterbuck. Amongst these animals some three hundred baboons were moving
about with a certain careless self-possession. They were all big ones,
keenly devoted to the hunt for insects, pulling up grass and turning
over stones. Some of the older individuals meanwhile scrambled up tree
trunks for a few feet, and thence kept a careful look-out for the
approach of any possible enemy.

I kept as still as a mouse, knowing well that the slightest movement
would betray my presence to the timid, keen-sighted monkeys.

Now a numerous herd of zebras moved through the wood and across the
clearing at a slow, careless pace. As they moved there was a bright
shimmering of the variegated stripes of the beautiful “tiger-horses,”
and again they would often be blurred into one uniform grey. They
mingled with the waterbuck, which took very little notice of them, and
evidently had known the zebras for a long time. It was wonderful to see
the proud waterbuck, with their horns, which are at once weapon and
ornament, and the stallion leaders of the zebra herd all continually on
the alert watching against their enemies.


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


There is a scuttling over the ground, for the little mongoose family,
that live over there among the ant-hills, are making a sally from their
fortress. Snake-like in their swift movements, the graceful little
animals seem to glide along. Yonder two snake-vultures are looking for
reptiles. Numbers of other vultures and marabous have flown down to the
margin of the shallow water to bathe and drink.

Into the midst of all this gathering of animals there now come three
ostriches, making for the fresh green growth along the marshy edge
of the river-bank, and a number of francolins and guinea-fowl that
gradually come crowding out of the undergrowth into the clearing to
feed there. On the sandbank on which I look down as it extends far
along the course of the river, there are some thirty huge crocodiles
sunning themselves. I can see several smaller specimens of these
mail-clad lizards on a flat part of the river margin not far from the

Yesterday, too, six giant hippopotami paid a visit to this sandbank on
the primeval river, and left tracks that my eye can plainly see in the
glowing sunshine; to-day, however, I have waited in vain for them to
show themselves. But suddenly from the reed-beds on the opposite bank
of the stream the mighty voice of an old bull comes booming across to

Over this most peaceful picture of animal life the tropical sun
blazes, casting deep shadows. At this hour of the day even the voices
of the birds are generally silent. Only the melodious piping of the
organ-shrike sounds somewhere near me, and often, too, the cries of one
or other of the baboons which is being corrected with bangs and cuffs
by an older member of the pack.

All the various kinds of animals assembled here get on quite peacefully
together. They often almost touch each other, without taking the
slightest notice of one another. Even the antelope bucks, adorned with
dangerously pointed horns, make not the slightest use of their sharp
weapons against the other species. All the time that I was looking down
from my lofty seat I saw nothing but peace and good-fellowship. And
yet how quickly a tragedy might interrupt this stillness and peace!
The tracks of lions and leopards down there, the crocodiles on the
sandbank, and the vultures hovering in the air told me that.

Often in this, and in other places, I have gained an insight into
the life and ways of the animal world, and I have thus passed many
enjoyable hours. Now one, now another species presented itself to
my observation, but it was seldom that I saw such a large number of
different species at _the same time_. But in all cases I have found
that man is a disturbing element in the midst of such pictures of the
animal Paradise. Even where I could feel sure that the appearance
of a white man, a European, was quite unknown to the animals of the
district, even then the very moment I showed myself the immediate
result was a panic-stricken flight.


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


I have still clearly before my eyes the picture that presented
itself to me as I emerged from the over-growth of creepers on the
boughs of that uprooted tree. First a shrill cry from the monkeys.
In a trice the little young ones were clinging to their mothers, and
with long bounds the whole crowd of them galloped away over the level
ground, hidden in a cloud of dust, and disappeared on the far side of
the clearing. There a good many of them halted to look back. Of all the
animals known to me only the baboons and the spotted hyenas take to
flight in this way. The spectacle has such a surprisingly strange and
unaccustomed, almost uncanny effect, that it always recurs to me when
I think of these animals.

The antelopes follow the example of the fugitive baboons, after first
rushing hither and thither, right and left, leaping wildly into the
air. At this moment the impallah-antelopes, especially, make a splendid
picture. Bounding along as if on springs of steel, they shoot up
several yards high into the air. Wherever the eye turns it sees the
graceful forms of these beautiful animals in all possible positions,
making long bounds, some four feet high off the ground, and in every
other attitude that one can imagine. But the end of all these splendid
pictures, each seen for a moment, is a general stampede. Whirling
clouds of dust in the far distance tell for some time longer which way
the fugitives have taken.

But it is not every day that such varied pictures, so richly stored
with the life of the primitive animal world of the tropics, present
themselves to the traveller. And it needs, too, a trained eye to
enjoy all the separate impressions in their combined effect, as making
up one masterpiece of Nature. But often, too, an almost too great
wealth of beauty gathered together in a small space presents itself
to our eyes. Thus, more especially, I keep a memory of these small
idyllic lakes of the wilderness, that are hidden away here and there
in the Nyíka district, and give a home to a wealth of animal life that
often seems almost too abundant. We sometimes find one of the most
interesting species of the larger mammalia, the hippopotamus, living
here in somewhat narrow quarters, but thus more easily accessible to
observation than in the great lake basins, where it lives in hundreds
or thousands, but where also it can much more easily get away from
the sight of the observer. It is true that one can see numerous heads
emerging from the water in the distance, one can mark the thin spray
of water blown from their nostrils, forming numbers of little fountain
jets that glitter in the sun. But the peculiar life and activity of
these giants of the animal world goes on chiefly at night, invisible to
our eyes. In the smaller lakes it is all different.


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._



  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


I remember with pleasure a certain gathering of hippopotami in one of
the lakes that lie hidden away between Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru, and
which were discovered some years ago by Captain Merker. When I saw them
there were still living in them some hundreds of hippopotami, and it
was easy to watch their doings in the water. Gathered in herds they
played about in the water under the bright sunlight, showing little
sign of timidity. Especially the young ones, that were still going
about with their mothers, had so little fear that I sometimes saw them
rising almost completely out of the water. They were also sometimes to
be seen resting in the sunshine on the sandbanks by the lake margin.
Some of these lakes were of such small extent that the animals had to
come up to breathe at a distance of at most only some twenty yards from
the observer. But all the same they were generally inhabited by quite
a number of hippopotami. It was then a great pleasure to watch these
beasts for hours at a time, from the lofty look-out place provided by
the surrounding heights that rose steeply from the edge of the lake.
They kept up good fellowship with the crowds of water and marsh fowl
that give life to these lakes. All these animals displayed themselves
to the spectator at as close quarters and as plainly as in a zoological
garden. The rosy red pelicans fishing in flocks of hundreds at a time
presented the most charming contrast to the uncouth quadrupeds. Even
now in fancy these lakes come before my sight, lakes that lie far from
all human ways and doings in a silent solitude. Dark clouds float over
it. The proximity of the massive and dark Mount Meru often causes a
cloudy veil to hang over that volcanic plateau with its crater lakes.
Again I climb the steep cliffs that ring them round, and again my gaze
sweeps over the level surface of the water. But though there has been
no decrease in the numbers of the waterfowl that enliven the lakes,
the hippopotami have, alas! disappeared. I found on the occasion of my
last journey a small number still there, but I hear from Professor
Sjöstedt,[34] the Swedish naturalist, who lately visited these lakes,
that the hippopotami, who had made the lakes their home since dim
far-off times, have almost disappeared. The Boers[35] have killed
everything. I came upon one here some years ago who was killing a lot
of the hippopotami; others have followed up the work of this forerunner
with more serious results. Attempts to make settlers at home in
primitive regions are almost always inconsistent with a protection of
the primitive animal world, even though these animals inhabit lonely
upland lakes, hidden away in the wilderness, far from human settlements.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus in memory picture follows picture.

Besides the harmonies of the wilderness, the impressions of the eye
are always those that come back alluringly in my recollections.
However truly the artist may be able to reproduce all these various
impressions, there is one kind that will always be missing from his
pictures, namely, all the fleeting _movement_. To take as an
instance only one out of an abundance of forms, who can reproduce in
pictures the endless variety of birds, the world of winged life! Every
day added to my knowledge of these multitudinous flocks, through the
increase day by day of my bird collection, which I obtained at the cost
of much labour, and which has been the means of giving to science many
hitherto unknown species. As I added each new bird to it, I added also
to my knowledge of these beautiful creatures, as yet so little known,
and slowly, very slowly I became familiar with them. What splendour
of forms and colours! In what enormous flocks does the feathered race
inhabit the wilderness and the primeval forest! The Biblical account
of the flocks of quails in the desert sounds to us like a legend, and
yet it is no legend. At times when we too were marching across the same
kind of ground, there flew past us with a whirr of many wings huge
flocks of quails, that sought and found their safety in flight. At
times I have also seen similar flocks of snipe. How long has it been
since both these kinds of birds appeared in such flocks in our country
at home?


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


The endless variety of form and colour, the movements of the animals
which the eye perceives under the ever-changing tropical light, that
shows everything brilliantly and sharply defined, all this taken
together makes up memory-pictures of a charm that nothing can surpass.
But he only can picture them to himself who has gone forth and made
them his own.

The huge sea-turtle comes creeping along, emerges from the waters of
the Indian Ocean, and makes for the sandhills to lay its eggs there.
Its giant track on the sand leads me to its nest. To my astonished eyes
this peculiar track looks as if a ploughshare had torn through the

The Indian Ocean, which is the home of this huge sea-turtle, shelters
also in quiet bays the strange Dugong or sea-cow, and great is the
surprise of even the natives themselves when from time to time they
capture in their nets this remarkable creature, which is becoming rarer
every year.



  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


In the lagoons one sees emerge from the surface the head of a great
giant snake, a good five yards long, the African python; others I have
come upon suddenly on the open velt. There are continually thrilling
moments! It may be that memory conjures up for us the delightful
fairy-like image of a rare dwarf antelope seen perhaps once only in
the shades of the forest, a dwarf antelope that, with strange large
eyes and ears alert, watches one’s approach, and then like a flash of
lightning disappears in the thickets; it may be that in memory one sees
the reddish brown, mud-smeared body of a giant elephant emerge from the
midst of some densely tangled primeval forest; it may be that a tree
suddenly bursting into bloom yields me a wonderfully beautiful new kind
of bird, which I grasp in my hand, delighted with its robe of feathers;
it may be that suddenly the massive giant form of a rhinoceros appears
before me in the tall grass, unexpected, menacing, standing as if
chiselled out of stone; it may be that my free gaze ranges without
limit over the wide prospect, and sees in primitive abundance the
strange life of the tropics; in every case the impressions received
seem to the beholder fascinating beyond description.

Monotonous as the surroundings of the landscape may appear to the
newcomer, poor and barren though the velt may seem to be for weeks at
a time, yet, enlivened and permeated by the mighty flood of all this
strange animal life, it has a beauty and a charm whose influence no one
can escape who makes his way into the midst of it with open heart and

He who looks around him with clear-sighted vision, and tries to see
more than others, has revealed to him the beauties of Nature in the
greatest and most wonderful way, and is drawn in the highest sense
of the word to admiration of them. Here is verified, as Sir Harry
Johnston says in his preface to my first book, “the old nursery story
of eyes and no eyes.”

It is thus that I lie for long hours in the wilderness, and observe,
admire and enjoy. What a wealth of impressions is brought before the
eyes among these ever-changing, at first strange but gradually familiar
sights, in the midst of the foreign-looking landscape, bathed in a
light that has a marvellous influence, and in its full power is almost

Now the dwarfs, and again the giants of the animal world rivet our
attention. But it is especially the _primeval abundance_, the great
profusion of large and small wild life, that gives an impression that
is now delightful, now overwhelming. One must have seen, with the eye
of the hunter, gigantic old bull-elephants in the primeval forest,
great herds of rhinoceroses and giraffes in one single day, thousands
of zebras and antelopes gathered together--one must have felt all this
profuse wealth of life, to be able to understand its full beauty and

Yet there are days when one looks around in vain for all this life
and activity, when, on account of the weather, or some other reason,
the animals do not show themselves so freely. One must also take due
account of the extensive periodical migrations of the African fauna.
_Many an erroneous judgment as to the alleged scarcity of wild life, in
districts in which other hunters pursued the chase at an earlier date
with success, is to be thus explained._


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._



  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


But, on the other hand, there are also days when such an abundance
of animal forms presents itself to our eyes, that the most
lively imagination can form no idea of all this profusion. On such
days, I have often wished that one could have a gigantic photographic
apparatus, an instrument that would be capable of making a record of
all I saw. But on such days, also, I have more than once made a mental
apology to explorers whose lives have long closed in death. When, for
instance, in former years I had looked over the sketches of the late
Cornwallis Harris, sketches showing the life of the South African fauna
as he saw it about the year 1837, I more than once had my doubts about
the correctness of his representations of it. As the result of what I
myself have seen, I have quite given up such doubts.


The original sketches left to us by Cornwallis Harris (which I must
say do not always rise to a high level From the artistic point of
view[36]) are coloured sketches accompanied by descriptions, and
show us such multitudes of wild animals that they seem to border on
the fabulous. For we see in them elephants, rhinoceroses, giraffes,
buffaloes, zebras and antelopes, all gathered together in crowds, and
thus one inclines involuntarily to the opinion that all these have been
brought together in one picture merely to give illustrations of the
various species. But my own observations have shown me that our artist
is perfectly correct. One sees how necessary it is to make documentary
records of such observations. The men of a later time, as I plainly
realise, may be able to place before themselves a picture of all this
primitive abundance of animal life only with the greatest trouble and
by means of earnest study of every authority bearing on the matter.

Enormous periods of time must have gone by to develop all the beauty
and splendour of this so varied and so highly organised life. My
thoughts range over far distant times. I see, looking so near that it
seems as one could touch it with one’s hands, one of the mightiest
volcanoes of our earth gradually unveiling itself and stripping off its
robe of clouds. The volcanic regions below it remind me of the story of
how all my surroundings were developed.

Born in fire, and evolved, differentiated, and formed to so much
beauty, which no hostile hand has yet come to destroy, the scene around
me is so splendid that my eyes keep ranging over it, more and more
eager to contemplate all its splendours.


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._



  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


A strange feeling comes over me. I think of all the beautiful spots of
our old world. They have all been taken possession of under carefully
devised arrangements and methods, well protected by the eye of the
law, and often only occasionally open to access, and then on condition
of payment. But the beauty I am contemplating has now been hopelessly
abandoned to intruders, who have neither knowledge nor taste nor sense,
and who are at this moment so barbarously destroying it.

But these thoughts must give way to others that are more pleasant and
consoling. How wonderful to be able to revel in this wilderness, to
feel in oneself the influence of all these splendours, notwithstanding
all dangers and all difficulties, however great! Everything around us
undulates and shimmers, bathed in a dazzling sea of light. Gradually
the colouring of plain and hills, the dome of the sky and the whole
surrounding landscape, changes to duller and less definite tints. The
sun-illumined air rises in waves from the earth, and the various strata
of it form an ever-changing chaos of reflected light. Over all there is
deep peace. A spell that accords with the mood of the moment seems to
stream down from the dome of the sky over this solitude, lying so far
from the noisy activity of the world.

All that I here behold has been going on since those far times,
directed by natural law, in ever-recurring succession. But to-day for
the first time a member of the complex society of civilisation takes
delight in this mountain rising amidst all this primeval beauty.

Who could possibly set down this poetry upon paper--the poetry of the
velt and its wild inhabitants, the moods of East African Nyíka? The
master of colouring has not yet arisen who could give us a picture of
these mighty gatherings of wild herds, and of these deserts that seem
overcrowded with animal forms, that yet live so peacefully together,
nor can the master of the pen, though he may have been able by his
words to conjure up some idea of them in the mind.

One who has perhaps felt and enjoyed their spell more than any one else
is Alfred Brehm. But he has travelled only in regions that had long
been under the influence of man and his activity. He has only once
seen the king of beasts, and has never looked upon the giraffe--whose
beautiful eyes the Arab compares with the eyes of his beloved--and many
other forms of the African fauna.[37] Nevertheless he has done wonders,
thanks to his deep feeling for his subject, his intimate understanding
of it, and his incomparably poetical power of description. He has
given us imperishable pictures in words that are among the most
beautiful that have ever been written about Nature. Our old famous
teacher, Dr. Schweinfurth, has seen and described similar scenes. With
these two we may rank in equal honour the name of the German explorer
Richard Böhm,[38] who unhappily lost his life so tragically and at such
an early age on the shores of Lake Upämba in Southern Urúa, of which
he was the discoverer. Many others might also be named who were deeply
influenced by these primeval splendours. But the fauna of South Africa
has vanished unsung and untamed, before any artist or master of words
arose to place in a fitting way its beauties on record for all time!


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._



  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


Masters of words like Ludwig Heck, by whose skilful pen the life of the
mammalia has been lately described anew for us in Brehm’s _Tierleben_,
and like Wilhelm Bölsche, would perhaps have been capable of grasping,
and reproducing the impressions that the traveller feels in those far
lands. But they have never trodden these distant countries, and they
must therefore confine themselves to describing artistically and yet
truly what they have never actually seen, from ideas based on their own
clear understanding of the observations of others.

The sun is setting. It is time for me to come down from my hill and
return to my camp. The sun goes to his rest in flaming splendour, there
is a glowing radiance of violet and purple light; soon dark night will
surround me. Thoughtfully I tread my homeward way, with my mind richly
stored with impressions, but anxious as to my efforts to describe all
that I have seen, and doubtful as to my success.

“To have passed a thousand and more days, a thousand and more nights
in the wilderness with a great longing in my heart in some way to
grasp and make my own all the splendour I have seen and all its charm;
to have again and again delighted in the beauty of the Nyíka: this
does not make me capable of reproducing it. And even if after many
decades of years I could fully comprehend it, I should never succeed
in reproducing it in its full significance and bringing it home to the
minds of those who have never looked upon it with their own eyes.”

So runs a passage in my diary.

Descriptions of things similar to those that I have told of in
inadequate words in these slight sketches of the Nyíka district of East
Africa may be read of other regions of our earth. The life and activity
of the Arctic fauna, of those gigantic creatures of to-day, the whales,
and of the Polar bears, the musk oxen, the wild reindeer, the walruses,
the seals--those most sagacious creatures--and the life of many other
animal forms--all these together are waiting for the hand that will
describe them in word and picture and put on enduring record for all
time this changing life. Thus only will a new existence be given to
those forms of life for which the sentence “Vae Victis!” has gone forth.

May the master soon appear who will be able to give us a noble and
true picture of the East African Nyíka in all its vast proportions.
For, as the night is now descending on the wilderness, so will an
everlasting night soon come down upon all the life and movement that I
have tried so inadequately to describe in merest outline.


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._



  _C. G. Schillings, phot._



About a century ago the “Twilight of the Gods” (_Götterdämmerung_)
began for all the wild life of the Cape region of South Africa. Even
before these hundred years had run out it was ended; this abundant
flood of life had disappeared....



  _C. G. Schillings, phot._




The Voices of the Wilderness

The German sportsman knows well the mysterious charm that speaks to the
listener, when in the woods in spring he hears the note of the woodcock
and the cry of the ptarmigan, and when in autumn he hears the call of
the stag to its mate. It must be that the listener is subject to some
atavistic influence, some impulse rooted in the dim past now quickening
into life.

Let him who understands this charm follow me through the equatorial
wilderness, and listen with me to the music of songs and notes that we
may call the language of the Nyíka. We shall hear it there on every
side, by day and by night. True, fully to understand this language
one should have King Solomon’s magic power, which made its possessor
understand the speech of animals, or like Siegfried have dipped one’s
hand in the blood of the dragon, and thus have acquired the gift of
holding converse with the birds.

This much is certain, in the wildernesses of Africa this primeval
language is still to be heard. In our hunting grounds at home the
voices of the aurochs, the bison, the ibex, the bear, the lynx, and
the wolf have been silenced, and many other voices that have belonged
to the wild open country since primeval days have all but died away. I
have indeed learned to understand only a few words of this language of
the wilderness, though I have heard thousands of its sounds. But I may
be able to tell something about it.

What a strong and deep impression this world of sound makes upon the
traveller at so many hours of the day and night! Every region, every
different kind of country has its own characteristic harmony. One does
not always hear it--it depends upon the season of the year and the time
of the day, on the changes of weather, and much else. But when one has
become even to some small extent familiar and conversant with these
various voices, one enjoys this music-language Of the Nyíka with a
sense of deep delight and ever growing understanding. Sometimes it is
most difficult to find out the names of the individual speakers. Often
they keep very quiet; they seem to be like great vocalists on tour:
they appear suddenly, and then disappear again for a long time, without
letting one see any more of them. Then the traveller may often listen
long, in vain, for the singer--gone without leaving a trace behind. But
it is not only the soloists that charm us. There is also the combined
effect of all the voices of nature uniting in one vast impressive
chorus. This has made such an impression upon me that I shall try,
so far as my limited powers permit, to describe it to the reader.
This musical language of the wilderness is in itself powerful, rich
and impressive, but all this in a still greater degree for him who,
observing things with the eyes of a seer, knows many of the voices that
resound in it will not be heard much longer. Although for long, long
ages, through hundreds of thousands of years, this tumult of sound has
been heard, these voices, or many of them, will soon be silent victims
of civilisation! They are going, and with them many of the euphonious
names of places with which the natives have distinguished every spot,
but which the Europeans, as they penetrate into the country, feel
themselves obliged to change.

It may seem that I myself am not quite guiltless of such misdeeds.
It is true that I named an island, that resort of the wild buffaloes
in the Pangani River, “Heck Island,” in honour of Professor Ludwig
Heck. But the island had till then no name whatever. One feels sad, on
glancing over the map of Africa, to note the degradation of so many
old traditional names, which is in no way justified, and is a sign
of the hasty and violent introduction of civilised life. “The Boers
are not people who think much about natural history,” says a writer
somewhere. And in fact, through their agency, the euphonious names of
the various wild species of South Africa are now to a great extent
already obsolete. They hastily gave vulgar-sounding names of their own
to the wild animals.[39] Thus the oryx antelope became the “gemsbock,”
and the cow-antelope, because it was tenacious of life and difficult
to kill, the “hartebeest.” The gnu, on account of its wildness, was
called the “wildebeest,” the bustard the, “pauw,”[40] the hyena the
“wolf,” and the giraffe--incredible though, it may seem--the “kameel”!
Hand in hand with this went the changing of place-names: so we read of
“Hartebeests Fontein,” “Olifants River,” “Kameeldoorn,” “Zwartkop,” and
we have a whole series of unpleasant, and sometimes utterly ugly names
by the introduction of which the beautiful aboriginal names of various
places have become obsolete. Thus not only do the primitive inhabitants
of the land disappear, but their names, too, are blown away upon the

Countless are the voices that resound by day in the Nyíka. But by night
these voices speak still more mysteriously and wonderfully to him who
listens to them, bringing him into still closer union with nature. From
the multitude of these voices I choose a few only.

Old memories come back to me! It is in the year 1896. I have just
landed, and am sitting in my night shooting-encampment by an inlet
of the sea near Dar-es-Salaam. A concert of the voices of nocturnal
birds mingles with the sharp buzz of the mosquitoes. Again and again
one hears a strange cry. Unspeakably sad and monotonous, this peculiar
sound rings out over the waters of the inlet; in the distance a
changing answer comes back in response to it.


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


I did not then suspect _that it would take me nearly a year_ to be
absolutely certain that this sound was uttered by an extremely shy and
restless kind of cuckoo!

This sound of the African night always made the strongest impression
upon me, and remains indelibly in my memory. All that one heard from
near at hand, or from the distance miles away, had its origin not in
man’s voice or in human activity of any kind, but most come from birds
and beasts to a great extent unknown to us. One had to interpret, to
conjecture, to build up theories. Often one struck upon the correct
solution. But often enough, too, the interpretation one accepted proved
to be false, and then one’s anxiety to find out the true solution,
aroused anew, was doubly keen. The first time I heard it, I had no
difficulty in interpreting for myself the cry of the monkeys harassed
in the night by leopards, a screaming of a kind one cannot easily
forget, plainly expressing the greatest terror. The first time one
heard the neighing of the herds of zebras it was much more difficult to
recognise the sound, and the gobbling cry of the ostrich had at first
a still stranger effect. But as soon as I had heard the voice of the
zebras a few times, it was clear to me that the extinct _quagga_ of
South Africa must have derived its name from its cry. If one puts the
accent on the second syllable, and pronounces the _g_ softly and deep
in the throat, one has, as one repeats it, a wonderful reproduction of
the cry of the zebra as I heard it myself.[41]

What a pity that all this cannot be put on permanent record by some
such apparatus as a gigantic phonograph! But unfortunately we are still
a long way from such a possibility.

No one will be surprised at my keeping specially in mind that endlessly
melancholy cry of the cuckoo in the darkness. How lonely and empty our
German woodlands would seem without the cuckoo and the cuckoo cry! As
a matter of fact the African primeval forest _never_ hears the same
cry that has become so clear to ourselves. Our cuckoo, migrating in a
few days all the way from the north to the equator, flies in restless
haste through wood and plain, but _he is silent_. His cry is heard
only in our country at home. But in the East Africa district of Pori,
amongst many other cries those of two species of cuckoo are heard in
rivalry. These are the sickle cuckoo--the “Tipi-tipi” of the Swahili--a
reddish-brown fellow that flutters in heavy flight everywhere about
the bush, the reedy bogs and hill-slopes; and the solitary cuckoo
(_Cuculus solitarius_, Step.), about whose cry I was for a long time
mistaken. The unceasing, low cry of the former, the sickle cuckoo, if
it is heard even a few times, can never again be forgotten. It sounds
like--“Dut-dút--dududu--dut-dút.” One hears it by day and also in the
darkest night, contrasting strongly with the sharply defined, clear
note of our European cuckoo, though the latter listens in silence
to the cry of his cousins all through the winter under the equator.
This cry seems to me, with its low, dull, softly prolonged tones--so
different from the louder cry of its northern relative--to be quite in
keeping with its mysterious tropical home. For the sickle cuckoo knows
all its deepest mysteries, and no bird ranges so unweariedly through
the densest thickets and over the most inaccessible regions. In the
most hidden, solitary, and unknown spots[42] it would come fluttering
up from the ground at my feet, often startling me. It seemed to me as
if the bird wanted to call my attention to newly discovered mysteries,
as its “Dut-dút--dududu--dut-dút” came sounding to me, now here, now
there, low, soft and melodious, by day under the brooding noonday heat,
and just the same in the midnight hours.

At night, too, he is seconded, as I have already mentioned, by his more
timid cousin, with an ever repeated “Kí-kü-kü--kí-kü-kü,” that resounds
monotonously in the distance.

There is a strange charm in continually hearing these voices again and
again, without knowing the little singers; and a triumph at last in
making out which they are.

“During a sleepless night,” said Richard Wagner, “I once went out upon
the balcony of my window on the Grand Canal at Venice. As if in a deep
dream the legend-haunted city of the lagoons lay spread out before me
under the darkness. Out of the soundless silence there came the loud
call of a gondolier waking up just then on his boat ... then from the
farthest distance the same call answered back along the dark canal;
I recognised the old, melancholy, melodious sounds, doubtless as old
as the canals of Venice and their people. After a solemn pause the
far-sounding dialogue at last began, and it seemed to me to melt into
harmony, till the notes heard close at hand and coming more softly from
afar died away as sleep came back to me again.”

Who could describe in such noble words the impression made upon our
minds by the spell of the sounds and songs of the nocturnal wildness,
and all its strange and beautiful music? All that at first is strange
there, and even alarming, comes gradually to be something one loves
intimately. Shall I ever be able to listen to it all again? Who knows?
Let me try then to make some record of what I have so often heard, and
in these few sentences attempt to give some faint echo of these once
familiar voices.

We are in the midst of the great forest. Giant podocarpus and juniper
trunks rise up towards the sky. It is cool and shady all around us
here; we breathe a moist, and not unfrequently a musty air. The
sunlight plays only upon the tops of these giants of the primeval
woods, and can but scantily illumine the almost bare ground below them,
sending here and there shimmering, dancing rays of light amongst the
tree-trunks. High overhead the giants arch their branches, interlacing
them in a vast living roof of green. Only where clearings make a
break in the mass of trees, a sea of light floods all the ground--a
flood of light so strong that our eyes, accustomed to the obscurity,
the mysterious semi-darkness of the forest, are dazzled, and there
comes to our minds involuntarily recollections of old Bible pictures,
in which such floods of light are shown streaming down from heaven to
earth. A confusion of trees, creepers and undergrowth, with amidst it
uprooted tree-trunks lying mouldering away; the earth black, and often
marshy; no road or way far and wide, but only here and there the tracks
and beaten paths made by the elephants and rhinoceroses that have
roamed the old forest since primeval times.


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


Deep silence all around. If the traveller stands still and holds his
breath, this silence seems to weigh down upon the soul with a weird
force. At such moments it is as though some vague disaster threatened,
or something wicked and dangerous were creeping around unseen.

Suddenly, a squealing and chattering. There is a scurry up and down
the tree-trunks, and again there is a strange sound of spitting
and growling. Just now there had come over us a feeling such as is
expressed in Böcklin’s[43] masterly picture, directly inspired by
nature, _Schweigen des Waldes_ (the “Silence of the Forest”). We had
almost expected each moment that legends set before us by the power of
his genius would here become realities; we felt that here one might
surprise nymphs and dryads. The spell is soon broken. The gnomes of
the primeval forest, the tree-climbing hyraxes, have scared away the
silence. Wonderful to say, these dwarfish _hoofed animals_, the nearest
still surviving relatives of the rhinoceros, are here scrambling up and
down on the trunks of the venerable trees.

From all sides, from every spot, every direction, there resound the
same cries, and again there is silence all around us. Here, far in the
depths of the primeval forest, the bird world seems to have no home.
But hark! I hear a curious chirping, and I notice on a bare bough
above me one of the most gloriously coloured of African birds, the
banded trogon (_Heterotrogon vittatum_, Shell.), which, uttering a most
peculiar sound, is carrying on its characteristic sport--flapping its
beautiful wings.

Then loud-sounding trumpet-like notes break on the ear. We hear a
rushing in the air, and big hornbills with their huge beaks come
sailing, as I judge by their cries, through the air, and alight on the
top of a giant juniper (_Juniperus procera_). They, too, fly away after
awhile; their trumpeting, dies away in the distance, and again there
is silence all around. Their voices and that of the brightly coloured
helmet-bird give to the primeval forest of Africa a strange charm that
is all its own.

But now there suddenly breaks forth a remarkable sound, rising and
again falling as I listen, a strange music of a most peculiar kind.
It is the chatter of the colobus monkeys, a sound that cannot be
described in words. A party of these wonderful creatures seems to
be in good humour, for their song comes to me in chorus unceasingly,
and in rising strength. “Murúh-murúh-murúh-rrrrrrmúh rrrrrrmúh-murúh
quoi-quo-quo-quo-rrrr,” it sounds, now swelling strongly out, now
gently dying away. These, too, are doomed to death, who now are letting
us hear their primitive song, that in our days may so easily be their
death-song; for these monkeys are keenly hunted for the sake of their
beautiful fur, and their song often betrays them to the hunter, eager
for their spoils. Some poisoned darts, which I find here with points as
sharp as needles, and which were once shot with a bad aim at the little
monkeys, are evidence enough of this.


And again I hear the great wood ringing and echoing with the countless
cries of birds. There was a time, too, when the call of millions of the
now all but extinct passenger pigeon resounded in North America; so,
too--and of this I have no doubt--the cooing of the ringdoves was heard
repeated by thousands of birds in our beech and oak woods at home when
the acorns and beech-nuts were in season.

On the lonely uninhabited western slopes of the highest giant
mountain of the German possessions, Mount Kilimanjaro, certain forest
fruits flourish in profusion. There is heard on every side a strong,
sweet-sounding dove-note, like that of our ringdove. A handsome large
species of wood-pigeon (_Columba aquatrix_, Tem.) has gathered in
hundreds of thousands. The rustle of their wings, as they rise or come
down in great flocks,mingles with their beautiful calls and cries;
the ear can hear nothing else. Voice, form, and movement so strongly
remind one of our own ringdoves that one feels carried away to far-off,
familiar scenes, and the illusion is helped by the character of the
Kilimanjaro landscape, which in certain of the higher regions has less
of a tropical than of a northern aspect. How strange it is; the cry
of this bird all at once transports the traveller to his own land!
Truly _there is a magic in sound_. With the poorest appliances, the
slightest equipment, the creative fancy can in a moment build a bridge
to the Fatherland. The call of this beautiful dove sounding here on
every side, its love-inspired circling high in air above the tops of
the giants of the primeval forest, surrounds it with a dream-picture,
and makes me suddenly breathe the air of the beech woods. I am in the
northern woods in springtime; cool and fragrant the northern air blows
round me. But ah! thousands of miles of land and sea divide me from all
that, and cool reflective reason counts only on the possibility, not
the certainty, of my ever seeing my native land again.

And yet this beautiful picture has a strengthening and consoling
influence. It drives away the trouble of home-sickness--a dismal thing!

I can hear many other voices besides these in the primeval forest. But
those that impress themselves in the most completely enduring way on
the memory are the strange cry of the tree-hyrax, the peculiar note
of the hornbills, that calling of the doves, the remarkable chorus of
song of the ‘Mbega monkeys, strange beyond all description, and the
trumpeting of the lord of the primeval forest, the elephant.

Another tone-picture--an early morning at a drinking-place in the
desert. One could feel the cold in the night, but the quick coming
warmth of the equatorial sun’s rays has soon roused the animal
world to active life. There is the cry and call of the francolins
on all sides. But the chief part in this early concert is taken
by the thousands of turtle-doves, flying from all directions to
the water. Everywhere a murmuring and cooing, that the Masai are
able to re-echo so incomparably in the name of the turtle-dove in
their language--“‘Ndurgulyu.” As an accompaniment to this, there
is the rustling and wing-clapping of all the feathered visitors
at the water. Towards evening, the air in the neighbourhood of a
much-visited drinking-place is literally filled with these beautiful
and swift-winged birds. The rustling and beating of their wings in
rapid flight makes in itself a concert. I not unfrequently came upon
places that bore the name of the “Doves’ water,” or the “Doves’
resting-place.” All the various voices of the many species of doves
that find a home in the Nyíka resound again in the traveller’s ears
for years after. Whether it be the strange voice of the parrot-pigeon,
that ushers in the concert with a hollow “Krūh-krūh” and follows it
up with some remarkable notes, or the melancholy cry of the little
steel-spotted pigeon that comes to us from the thickets, or the
strong, loud-sounding love-notes of the already-mentioned _Columba
aquatrix_, Tem., so like our ringdove, or, above all, the familiar
sweet voices of the many small kinds of turtle-doves--all these sounds,
the rustling and fluttering and beating of wings, the living, moving
picture presented by all these beautiful birds, belong inseparably
to the essence and being of the Nyíka. When the turtle-doves greet
the morning with their soft cooing, their call is answered from afar
by strange guttural tones borne swiftly through the air, sounding,
like “Gle-glé-lágak-glé-ága-ága,” from the velt-fowl hurrying like
themselves to the water. Brehm, in his _Leben der Vögel_, has already
raised a poetical monument to them made up of beautiful lines. But I
could not picture to myself the morning concert of the bird world in
the Nyíka without the strange cry of the sand-fowl and the cooing of
the doves, and the peculiar sound of the beating wings of the velt-fowl
as they rise in scattered flight from their resting-places,--a sound
that impresses itself strongly and distinctly on the ear, more than
that of any other bird I know, as the “Kláck-kláck-kláck” of the rising
woodcock strikes the ear of the sportsman in Germany.

The wonderful flight of the velt-fowl, their calls and cries, their
hurry and bustle, afforded me ever new interest. It always seemed to
me as though the wide wilderness here sent out its lovingly guarded
favourite children as envoys, with the mission of making it known that
even now, in this dull, barren time, life has not died out even in
the most remote deserts. So I see and hear them once more in fancy,
beautiful, timid, and full of the joy of life. It is thus their
countless millions enliven the wastes of Africa, as well as the endless
tundra marshes of Asia.

Deep, long-drawn-out notes, like those of musical glasses, ring in my
ears. The brooding noonday heat is round me. The sun is in the zenith,
and hardly another sound is to be heard all around. The wilderness lies
before me in the hot glowing sunlight as if dead. My weary bearers have
given themselves up to a dozing sleep, at the place where I have at
last halted, after a march of many hours with a few companions.

Before me is a miniature mountain-world lighted up by the dazzling
sunbeams. There is a mass of precipitous rocks, so characteristic of
the Masai-Nyíka district, that stretches away into the distance. The
Candelabra Euphorbias spread out their strange forms against the light,
in grotesque clumps, and seem to me to make themselves one with the
rocks, whose inorganic character and nature appear to be repeated in
their characteristic forms.

From out of the midst of this stony wilderness these remarkable notes
come sounding in my ears. They seem to be mysterious voices of rock and
stone. The eye searching expectantly for the singer that is uttering
this bell-like melodious music can discover nothing. And yet the notes
come from the throat of a bird. It is once more some hornbills that are
making their song of love and wooing resound in this wilderness. I have
been able to listen to them for hours, losing myself in dreams, and I
cannot say why I seemed to identify precisely _these_ bird-voices with
the voice of the African Sphinx, that legendary Sphinx which has sung
already to so many, and lured many back again for ever. Thus may the
songs and voices of the old sanctuaries of Northern Africa once have
been. Again and again, when I heard it, I had to think of those men
who, with burning longing in their hearts, went forth into the Dark
Continent to wrest from it the secrets of its fauna, but had to pay for
the undertaking with their lives.

A burning glow of sunshine, a dazzling light in overwhelming abundance
over all the desert waste of rock--and amidst it, again and again, that
deep, ghostly, metallic note, that directly impresses the traveller as
though it were the language of the wilderness, peculiarly its own. But
how can I describe all this in words?

And at a moment like this, as if to heighten the effect, over there the
voice of the mightiest bird that the earth bears in this our day
sounds forth. I hear in the distance the ringing cry of a hen-ostrich,
and I listen to it with attention strained to the highest point.


  _C. G. Schillings, phot._


The strange duet has now long died away. But it often comes up to me
again in the midst of the movement of civilised life and takes me back
on the wings of fancy to the glorious beauty of the wilderness.

But that uncouth tropical singer is not really needed to conjure up
this frame of mind. A little unseen _lark_, all by itself, can evoke
for me the charm of the solitudes of Nyíka as with a magic wand.

How this comes to pass, I will tell the reader. We must make a long
tour. Now we are in the north, in our native country, in the midst
of the spring, amongst spreading fields of our German homeland. The
song of the lark fills the air, and our heart expands to its music.
We go out upon the open moor. We hear a trilling and quavering
of another kind, with a strangely sweet touch of sadness in it,
especially at night--the song of the woodlark. But now let the reader
follow me to the little island of Heligoland. In the glare from the
lighthouse, that sends afar its rays,--in this case rays that bring
destruction,--countless numbers of larks flutter and wheel about,
bewildered in the darkness of the autumn night, and full of anxiety and
fear. On a dark, rainy October night thousands of them fall victims to
the death that lies waiting in ambush for them below this tower raised
by the hand of man. Their little wings have brought them safe over the
ocean to the small island. But there one hears no rejoicing song, No!
there resounds only something like an agonised cry for help from weak
creatures in the direst peril of death.

Millions of larks fly thus each year southwards and northwards,
obedient to that mysterious migratory impulse that guides them on their

The song of the lark and the cry of the lark are very different things.
To those who know them they mean a song of happy springtime, and a cry
for help in the night of death.

How comes it that I thus speak of, and have to think of, sounds uttered
by the birds here at home? Simply because over there, in other lands,
my fancy so often and so readily imagined the flying bird to be a
messenger,--a courier for thoughts of home,--and connected such wishes
and longings with its appearance and disappearance.

In autumn, the noblest of our northern songsters makes its way in
a few days and nights into the inmost heart of the Dark Continent.
It disappears again in spring, to return to the north over velt and
desert, morass, mountain and sea. The cuckoo, that only a few days ago
could be seen in our northern lands by the eyes of men who knew how to
recognise it, I see on the African velt, a wandering, fleeting visitor.
Thus it seems to bring me a greeting, like that brought by our oriole,
our nightingale, and many other children of the homeland.

No one can be surprised that in these solitudes these birds, and their
coming and going, are closely associated with our thoughts. It is the
less to be wondered at seeing that they are all such eloquent witnesses
to the miracle that these weak creatures with their feeble wings twice
each year traverse continents and fly safely over seas.

We cannot help thinking of the lark and its spring song at home,
when in the wilds of Africa we hear its voice; and it appeals so
impressively to the wanderer in the wilderness, that afterwards it has
the power of bringing back by its music a picture of the Nyíka in all
its characteristic wildness. It is a song that has a character of its
own. When I hear it, if it is in the Nyíka, I cannot help thinking
of the songster’s frail, weak brethren of Europe, that, following an
irresistible impulse, are perhaps at this moment meeting their death
on the little island of Heligoland--obedient to the same instinct that
sends myriads of their kind each year towards pole or equator. For even
as the northern song of the lark awakens the soft, poetic spell of
smiling fields, so, too, the mysterious and still deeply veiled spell
of the Nyíka can find expression in its wonderful music.

Small, invisible almost, it rises in the air. Soon it is lost to sight
in the sky. Then suddenly a song that, though so often heard before,
is still a marvel, comes distinctly on the ear, its notes sharply
accented and emphasised as if it were _close to us_. There is a sharp,
rhythmical, clapping sound, as if small laths or pieces of whalebone
were being rattled together. It comes from that tree right in front of
us. No mistake about it seems possible. But the eye searches in vain
for the producer of the sound.

Again and again one is deceived in this way. Who could imagine that
that little bird far away over there, a hardly perceptible speck on
the horizon, is producing this strange music? “Knáck! knáck! knáck!”
again, and yet again, it comes to us ringing out loud and clear. Our
little invisible songster does not tire of pouring out its strange
misleading song. It is a kind of love-song of a species of lark, which
was discovered by Fischer some fifteen years ago and bears the name of
the naturalist, now long deceased; _Mirafra fischeri_, Rchw.,[44] is
its scientific name. Its clapping and rattling are undoubtedly part of
the charm of a journey in certain districts of the Masai-Nyíka.

Even in my tent, in the midst of the comparatively loud noise of the
busy camp of my numerous caravan, I can hear the clapping, rattling
voice of this lark. Some hundreds of yards away it flies up into the
sky, like our own skylark, and hovers about clattering in the air, so
loudly and distinctly that if I did not know its character and habits,
I would have been continually looking for it close to my tent. It is
very hard to quite free oneself from this illusion. One continually
thinks that one hears the cry of the bird in one’s immediate
neighbourhood, the sound being produced much in the same way as that of
the snipe.

And yet another strange voice of a lark resounds in my ears: a
melancholy, plaintive, soft sound, till now unknown to me and to most
others. All night long its calls and cries resound about my camp. I
should never have thought that it was a lark (_Mirafra intercedens_
Rchw.) that thus made itself heard in the night, as our woodlarks do in
moonlight nights at home. It was at the cost of much careful research
that the discovery was made of what bird produced this song.

And the strange voice of yet another bird is inseparable from my
recollections of the wilderness of East Africa. The xerophytic flora of
the far-spreading thorny mimosa thickets gives shelter to a privileged
member of the bird world, which is thus guarded in safety from all
danger amid their thorny boughs and branches. I refer to a peculiar
bird, belonging to the group of the Musophagidæ, grey-feathered,
green-beaked, long-tailed, and adorned with a crest. This strange
fellow roves about restlessly--a bird about as big as a jay, misleading
the traveller with his cry in the most curious way. Science calls him
_Chizaerhis leucogastra_, Rüpp.; the German language has given him the
name “_Lärmvogel_” (“noisy bird”).

And he has a perfect right to bear his name. There resounds somewhere
near us, and in a way that completely deceives us, now the barking and
snarling of a dog, now the bleating of sheep. Following the direction
of the sound we look to see what produces it, and we find our bird
hopping about nimbly upon the tops of the thorn-trees and acacias,
appearing to have no anxiety about the thorny spikes of the branches,
in which he makes his home. With a cleverness that borders on the
miraculous he makes his way amongst them, protected by them against the
attacks of birds or beasts of prey, and in his conscious reliance on
the security of his dwelling-place, so to say, mocking at all enemies.
So deceptive are his cries that at first, and especially when I was
in the neighbourhood of native settlements, I was continually looking
everywhere for sheep and their shepherds.

Many other typical bird-voices live in my memory. I hear the peculiar
plaintive cry of the large cormorants that are busy with their fishing
by the salt lakes of the wilderness, a cry that seems most fitted for
these solitudes. The mysterious chattering and chirping of the little
swamp-fowl come to my ear from the shallows and the bushes along the
banks of silent rivers of the primeval forest, a bird-language so
strange that the natives believe the birds are conversing with the fish
in the stream. I hear the cackling of the knowing Nile-geese, that seem
to be always engaged in conversation; when on the wing, too, a pair of
them, in their affectionate fidelity, have always some warning, some
reminder of something or other to call out to each other. Where their
cry resounds one hears also frequently that of the wonderful, wailing
peewit; it has a plaintive and melancholy effect on the mind of the
listener. Far different is the noisy outcry of its brightly coloured
cousin, a denizen of the thirsty wilderness (_Stephanibyx coronatus_,
Bodd.). Shrill and harsh the voice of the bird rings out, a watch-cry
by day and night, and when in bright moonlight nights they fly in
flocks over the camp. Swarms of these remarkable birds, the police of
the wilderness in feathered uniforms, flutter around the traveller as
he approaches. They ruin his attempts to stalk wild animals, and their
strident screeches, to which all other animals hearken, haunt him long
after, as also the call and cry of the large, yellow-eyed thick-knee,
an inhabitant of the loneliest solitudes. But I cannot imagine the
low shores of African lakes and the sea-coast without the cry of the
widely distributed sandpiper, which has its home in the far north. In
winter its low plaintive cry is heard at every step: but even in summer
the trained ear can distinguish it here and there. These individual
stragglers from the north are thus to be found during all times of the
year in this distant country, while the most of their kindred tribe
have successfully made their way to the Polar lands, their usual
summer breeding-place.



High over my head the voice of the pretty avocet (_Recurvirostra
avocetta_, L.), one of the most charming forms of the bird world known
to us, transports me by magic to the distant and mournful lakes of
the Masailand wilderness. What the dwarf bustards (_Otis gindiana_,
Oust.) keep calling out to each other with their continually repeated
“Rágga-ga-rágga” is not to be discovered. But their cry, which has
kept the fancy of the natives busy since olden days, is as inseparably
associated with regions on which the grass grows high, as the voices
and cries of the sandfowl, the francolins, and, above all, the jarring
outcries of the guinea-fowl, on the velt. All the manifold voices of
doves, cuckoos, parrots, hornbills, bee-eaters, shrikes, orioles,
starlings, finches, weaver-birds, sylvians, and the rest, calling,
exulting, rejoicing, uttering cries of alarm or complaint, have woven
themselves into my recollections of happy days and days of toil.

Thus there still rings in my ear the triple note of the yellowish
green bulbul (_Pycnonotus layardi_, Gurn.), which, like our sparrow,
is present everywhere, till one almost tires of it. Most curious
is the friendly play which the handsomely coloured glossy starling
(_Spreo superbus_, Rüpp.) carries on with a weaver-bird (_Dinemellia
dinemelli_, [Hartl.] Rüpp) in flights like those of our sparrows. It
comes back to me all the more vividly when I recall the notes uttered
by these two birds, which, though such close friends and taking such
delight in each other’s company, are so distantly related. The curious
warbling of the honey-finder (_Indicator indicator_, Gm.), which often
guides the man who follows it to a wild bees’ nest, also easily makes
a permanent impression on the ear of the traveller.

And there are many other bird-voices that delight any one who takes
pleasure in sound. When silvery moonbeams streamed over the camp, the
night-jars (especially _Caprimulgus fossei_ [Verr.] Hartl.) buzzed
and hummed forth their strange song everywhere around. No matter how
remote and desolate the wilderness in which the traveller laid down
his head to rest, these goat-suckers were to be heard. Their voice
makes a strong impression on us even in our own country in the lonely
woods, but its effect is much more striking, on the far-off equatorial
velt. With noiseless soft beating of its wings the bird comes gliding
past us; its wings almost touch us. When it pours forth its song, its
monotonous sleepy song, I could listen to it for hours. In the daytime
it starts up suddenly from the ground here and there in front of you,
uttering the feeblest of cries, that it is impossible to represent. In
the next instant it vanishes like some huge moth, and even the sharpest
eye cannot distinguish it amongst the dry branches and leaves, or
clinging close to the rocky ground. The song of the night-jar is among
my most vivid recollections of the bird-voices of Africa.

In the neighbourhood of water, wherever it may be, and in the thick
undergrowth, wherever the African wilderness extends, you hear the call
and cry of a peculiar bird-voice. It rings out through the stillness
with a deep double piping note, that impresses itself in a lasting way
on the ear. It is the voice of the handsome organ-shrike (_Laniarius
æthiopicus_, Gm.). These shrikes, which mate permanently, always utter
this note in such quick succession, one of the pair after the other,
that at first you think you are listening to only a single bird. This
beautiful bird-note indicates the proximity of water, and thus it has
acquired quite a special significance in these countries.

Finally there is no sound from the throat of a bird that I call to mind
so plainly, or so continually, as the song of the African nightingale
(_Erithacus africanus_, [Fschr.] Rchw.). I have very frequently heard
this beautiful song during the months of our winter, in many districts
round Kilimanjaro. When I heard it unexpectedly for the first time, I
was most deeply moved by it. Ten years ago I heard it during a day’s
march in the wooded gullies of the great volcanic mountain, and it
was most clear and full and beautiful. I never expected thus to hear
this northern bird-voice in the tropics. Later on, when I was camped
at a considerable altitude in the primeval forests of Kilimanjaro,
I was saluted with the cries of northern migratory birds, that,
wheeling round the mountain, seemed to be flying over its everlasting
snowfields. It was a strange coincidence in those Christmas days, the
song of the northern nightingale, and those northern birds of passage
on the wing under the equatorial sun! It is worth noting that this
voice of the nightingale was the only genuine northern bird-song
that I ever heard in Africa. That our nightingale also sometimes
breeds there is indicated by the discovery of its nest by the late Dr.
Fischer. But the problem of the extraordinary identity in character of
this nightingale with its northern sister still awaits solution. Many
difficult observations will have to be made in order to investigate it

What a contrast to this song of our northern nightingale is presented
by the voices of the hyenas and jackals, the strange cry uttered by
the leopard, all the sounds emitted by the antelopes, and finally the
indescribably startling, harsh-sounding bellow of the crocodile!

But neither individually nor collectively can the effect of all these
voices be expressed in words. They associate themselves with the forms
of a flora untouched by the hand of man, and the unceasing throb of
animal life. I think of them all together as a theatre of nature now
flooded with sunlight, now in the mysterious darkness of night, or with
glistening moonbeams playing over it. What impresses one so much is not
merely these individual voices, but the way in which all the myriad
voices mingle in one mighty chorus.

If this symphony of nature is to be written down, it must be by
some master who will combine in one marvellous melody these musical
utterances that are so mighty and impressive, so full of mystery
and charm, and so often dying away in the deepest and most delicate
cadences. None of these tones should be missing, no note of them all
should be struck out.

I should like to set in contrast with this mighty primeval harmony of
the wilderness the sounds and voices of the modern industrial world,
which gradually and unwittingly we take to be something natural. He
who would feel all its greatness and perfection must keep himself far
away for weeks and months from the screaming whistle he hears on the
railway, and the howling siren of a steamship.

Then there is the insect world! Those flower-covered bushes have
attracted a multitude of great droning beetles. They hasten to them
in heavy flight. On the ground a host of scarabæus beetles are busy
with their special work. The ceaseless sharp chirps of the cicadas
sing their continual song. Through all its variations there goes on
this hum and buzz of the millions and millions of the lower creation.
And joined with it there ring out the thousands and thousands of songs
of the birds; the powerful voices of the great mammals bellow over
plain and bushland, through swamps and primeval forests, over dale and
hill. The concert of the feathered songsters is suddenly silent, as,
it may be, the harsh cry of the leopard resounds, or the mighty, dull,
rumbling roar of the king of the desert thunders over the earth; or
the trumpet-like cry of the elephant vibrates through the woods; or
harsh war-cries from human lips, battle-songs of primitive men, are
heard--but heedless of it all, even at these moments, day and night
resound the weak voices of all the myriads of lesser creatures of the
animal world. But he who penetrates into this wilderness must have
receptive senses to understand the full beauty of it all. For him this
harmony exists wherever the primitive animal world lives its life.



Glorious and grand, too, is the language of Nature when she herself
raises her primeval voice, associated with no sound of life that we
can perceive. Thus it is in the hours of storm by night, when on the
plain, or in the primeval forest, or on the hill slopes, the thunder
roars round the little camp, and the crackling lightning comes down
in zig-zags. Then the rumbling thunder, the rushing downpour of the
water-floods, the roar of the storm-wind, speak with an impressiveness
that is beyond all description. Then in their hour of death the
giants of the primeval forest, the mighty, venerable trees, suddenly
themselves find a voice that strikes loudly on the ear: they groan
in the embrace of the wind, and under its fury crash thundering to
the ground. Then, when the earth and the rocks under our feet seem to
shake, when the powers of Nature are let loose in all their might,
when weak little man in his small tent, alone in the midst of all this
violence, listens to the sounds, alone and abandoned like the sailor
on a frail plank in the midst of a raging ocean, then it is that the
wilderness sings its greatest, noblest, most wonderful song.

The traveller may yet return to the African wilderness and hear once
more the voices of the smaller denizens of the wild. The chirping of
cicadas will lull him to rest, or the buzzing of the mosquitoes forbid
it. Their chirping and buzzing will bear witness that these waves of
life roll on untroubled and uninjured by the incoming of civilisation.
But the greater voices will become rarer and rarer. Soon the trumpeting
of the elephant, the roar of the lion, the bellow of the hippopotamus
will be heard no longer.

But to-day one can still hear all these sounds which I have described,
and which our most remote ancestors listened to all day and all night
in the ages when there still lived in Europe a fauna very similar to
that which we find dying out in East Africa. By day and night they go
forth in trees and thickets, by swamp and reed-bed. The song of birds
is accompanied by the monotonous deafening chorus of the bullfrogs.
Even in the traveller’s tent the crickets chirp, and the night-jar
buzzes and buzzes past it, and tells and whispers of the nightly life
and movement of the animal world, in its monotonous mysterious song.

A jackal holds a conversation with the evening star. In the dark night
the deep bass of the hyena is heard; and then it laughs aloud, in a
weird, shrill, shrieking treble. This laugh, seldom uttered, but when
heard making one’s heart shudder, is not a thing to forget; on feverish
nights it plagues one still in memory. No one need jest about it who
has not himself heard it. He who has heard it understands how the Arabs
take the hyenas to be wicked men living under a spell.

Now at last the lion raises his commanding voice, and one thing only
is wanting to the whole nocturnal spell--the noisy trampling of timid
and harassed droves of zebras and other herds of wild things. But if
the ground of the velt, hardened by the burning sun, rings once more to
the thundering hoof-beats of the zebras, the eye fails in the darkness,
and only our ears perceive by their numberless sounds the waves of
life that are surging around us; and then indeed the listener comes
to full consciousness of how rich the animal-language of the Nyíka
still is.... Nowhere else in the world of to-day do all the voices of
the wild resound more impressively, and for him who listens to this
language there is no escape from that mysterious spell--the Spell of
the Elelescho!


[1] Cf. Reichenow, _Die Vögel Afrikas_.

[2] _El moran_ = the “young men,” _i.e._ Masai warriors.

[3] Dr. Richard Kandt, _Caput Nili_. (Berlin: Dietrich Reimer.)

[4] I gave the skull of this specimen to the Berlin Natural History

[5] As late as the year 1859 the Masai warriors menaced the places
on the coast between Tanga and Mombassa! Even in the eighties the
explorers Thomson and Fischer had to submit to their demands. To that
flourishing period of the Masai belongs the origin of their view that
even if the Bantu Negro races have cattle, they must have been stolen
from the Masai, for, as say, “God gave us in earlier days all the
cattle on the face of the earth.”

[6] According to Hollis, the singular of the word is “O-‘l-leleshwa.”

[7] As Hollis tells us.

[8] The pachyderms seem to feel no ill effects from the natron-bearing
water; but for men the water of the lake--at least, near my
camp--proved very unpleasant. Our drinking water was obtained from a
small marsh near the shore of the lake.

[9] John Hanning Speke, one of the discoverers of the Victoria Nyanza,
has already remarked that the Arabs know well how to manage their
slaves, and to tame them like domestic animals; that they are able to
entrust them with business matters, and send them out of their own
dominions into foreign countries, without the slaves ever attempting to
escape from their masters.

[10] The native elephant-hunter--the “Wakua”--use as a rule several
small iron bullets with a heavy charge of gunpowder.

[11] Singular: en-dito = the young maiden.

[12] Cf. also _Ostasienfahrt, Erlebnisse und Beobachtungen eines
Naturforschers_, etc., von Dr. Franz Doflein, Leipzig, 1906.

[13] Cf. Friedlander, _Darstellungen aus der Sittengeschichte Roms_.

[14] In the market of Nice alone, according to official statistics,
from November 1, 1881, to the beginning of February 1882, 1,318,356
little song-birds were put up for sale.

[15] Strict regulations have lately been put into force for the
preservation of the last-named species. But, as the result of the
merciless persecution to which it has been subjected, the sea-otter is
all but extinct.

[16] While this book is passing through the press several
correspondents have sent me an article published by Freiherr von
Schrötter-Wohnsdorf in the _Monatsheften des Allgemeinen Deutschen
Jagdschutsvereins_ of August 24th, 1906. According to this article,
during the year 1906, by ministerial orders, in four of the chief
forest districts of East Prussia, _sixty-seven head of wild elk_ were
killed off, though hitherto the few remaining living specimens of
the elk have been so carefully preserved both on public and private
estates. This thorough-going course was adopted for the sake of the
preservation of the woods from damage by the animals. That this should
have been done in the case of a disappearing species of wild animal,
hitherto so carefully preserved, and of which private individuals were
allowed to shoot only male specimens, is in open contradiction with
those views as to the necessity of protecting the rarer beauties of
nature, which are making such progress every day. It seems therefore
fitting that I should note the fact here as showing how well grounded
is my opinion that the progress of civilised culture is destructive to
those treasures of nature that have come down to us from primeval times.

[17] The author believes that he cannot better give expression to
his views as to the preservation of the beauties of nature, than by
reproducing an article on the appearance of the stork in the Soldin
district, by Herr M. Kurth. He writes in _Die Jagd, Illustrierte
Wochenschrift für deutsche Jäger_, May 13, 1906:

“As for the stork-shooting appointed by the District Committee of the
districts of Soldin, Landsberg and Ost-Sternberg for the period from
March 1 to June 15, it is to be remarked that the opinions held by
sportsmen as to the damage done by storks, especially in reference to
small game, are very much divided, and that not much can be put to the
reckoning of ‘Brother Longlegs’ of those misdeeds that figure heavily
in the accounts of other robbers, such as the crane, the magpie, and
all kinds of native birds of prey, and the hedgehog, marten, and
polecat. These one and all carry off nestlings, and most of them
attack young leverets also. Now if we are to go for the stork, it
should of course be done when he is to be found together in too great
numbers; and this is entirely the idea of the District Committee. The
neighbourhood of Balz bei Vietz on the Eastern Railway has always
been remarkable for the number of its storks’ nests. One finds two of
them on nearly every one of the old barns, a nest at each end of the
roof. It was so even thirty years ago, and so it is to this day. But
the proprietors of the barns never agree to the nests of the storks
being destroyed, or any opposition made to the settling there of
these trustful and friendly birds. And for what reasons precisely has
‘Friend Adebar’ settled in such numbers in this district? Well, here
the far-spreading meadows of the Warthe, with their full scope for
extended flight, offer him all the food he wants and to spare, and
here the frogs’ legs must be particularly good. It may be that now
and again a young partridge or a leveret strays into Mother Stork’s
kitchen, but that is the exception. Now if people keep strictly to
the object indicated by the District Committee, namely to bring down
the numbers of the storks where there are too many of them, one may
let it pass. But how many will out of a mere shooting-mania take aim
continually at the harmless birds!--though such are never genuine
sportsmen. How can this be checked? And it should not be forgotten
that in the first week of April our African guests are to be found in
hundreds along the Warthe brook, whence they then disperse to various
parts of the neighbouring districts. Now it is to be hoped that no one
will assume that the stork is to be found here ‘in too great numbers,’
and that therefore ‘one may blaze away at him.’ In some years this
may possibly be the case, but if he were scared out of the district
our landscape would be the poorer by the loss of the bird’s welcome
cry, as has happened in the case of the heron and the cormorant in our
district. This last-named bird comes now only seldom, and then only one
at a time, to the Netze, near Driesen. There was a heronry formerly
near Waldowstrenk in the Neumark district, but it disappeared ten
years ago. We must hope that this will not be the fate of the stork,
whose appearance has so many links with the poetry of our childhood,
and that we shall not be deprived of his presence. What a pleasing
sight it is when ‘Brother Longlegs’ with dignified walk stalks beside
the mower at haymaking time, looking so confiding and fearless! And
what a joy it is to old and young when the first stork of the season
wheels in circles over the homestead, when for the first time he comes
down to his old nest, and announces his arrival with a joyful outcry!
Must not every sympathetic and thoughtful lover of nature be filled
with sorrow and indignation when, on the pretext of petty thefts, but
probably out of mere wanton love of destruction, attempts are made
to drive out of our country this friendly bird, which is so pleasing
an ornament of the landscape? It would really be a crime against the
out-door beauty of our native land, and against nature all around us,
if out of narrow-minded selfishness we were to extirpate the stork, as
happened in recent times to that most splendidly coloured of our birds,
the kingfisher, on mere suspicion of its being a ‘great destroyer’ of
fish. Love of nature, joy in nature, is a valuable element in German
feeling, and therefore, dear fellow sportsman, let us maintain our good

[18] We are indebted to the English hunters of those days for all the
information we possess as to the wild life of South Africa at that
time. If there had not been amongst them men who knew also how to
handle the pen, we should have been almost entirely without trustworthy
information as to that period. I may take this opportunity of saying a
word for the English “record-making sportsman,” who is not unfrequently
the subject of false and unfounded invectives, which I can only
describe as mostly full of fanciful fables. Other lands, other ways,
and there are black sheep in every nation. In any case we may take
English ideals of sport as our example, and also the regulations drawn
up by English authorities for the protection of the animal world.

[19] In a review of my book _With Flashlight and Rifle_ (German

[20] Sir William Cornwallis Harris must be considered as a quite
trustworthy authority. His works are indeed the most complete
first-hand evidence we have as to the state of the fauna of South
Africa at the time.

[21] On the part of the Government and the local authorities everything
that is possible is being done to settle this difficulty. But
unfortunately their efforts seem to have little success.

[22] Cf. my book _With Flashlight and Rifle_, p. 736, where a statement
by Professor P. Matschie, the Custodian of the Royal Zoological Museum
at Berlin, will be found, bearing out the truth of what is here

[23] During the last few years handsome groups have also been set up in
the museums of other places, such as Munich, Stuttgart, and Carlsruhe.

[24] The ibex, which was once also common in Germany, has been found by
Dr. G. Merzbacher in the central Tian-Shan region in the form of _Ibex
sibirica merzbacheri_: and two years ago by G. Leisewitz in such great
numbers that the appearance of flocks of hundreds of them was a daily

[25] The Hudson Bay Company put on the market in the year 1891 1,358
skins of the musk ox (_Ovibos moschatus_), but only 271 in the year
1901. In the year 1878 the same company sold 102,715 skins of the
Canadian beaver, but only 44,200 in the year 1892. A striking example
of the results of excessive exploitation of hunting grounds!

[26] Besides other sources, I take these data from an interesting
article by C. Brock, in the periodical _Die Jagd_. This writer
estimates the area devoted to the chase in the German Empire at
54,000,000 hectares; the number of shots fired in a year at game at
16,000,000, besides some 6,000,000 shots fired at animals that are not
game. He rightly notes that for the individual the whole business of
sport is a losing or non-productive occupation, but one of productive
value for the households of the country folk, as about 130,000,000
marks are annually spent upon it.

[27] Professor Haberer lately found strychnine in use in various ways
in many places in Eastern Asia.

[28] See, amongst other writings of his, _Outdoor Pastimes_, by
Theodore Roosevelt.

[29] On the destruction of the turtle-dove (_Turtur turtur_, L.)
during its migration to Greece, see Otmar Reiser, Curator of the
National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, _Materialen zu einer Ornis
Balcanica_. At Syra one sportsman shoots as many as a hundred in a day;
at Paxos, according to the Grand Duke Ludwig Salvator, they are killed
in heaps. The lands of the Strophades Islands are completely equipped
with huge falling snares and shooting-stands for the systematic
massacre of the “Trigones.” Everywhere in Greece when the cry of
“Trigones!” is heard, fire is opened upon the newcomers.

[30] Expeditions in uninhabited districts have sometimes been entirely
supplied by shooting wild animals.

[31] Cf. Schlobach, _Deutsch-Ostafrikan_. Zeitg. 1 Beiblatt, 10
Februar, 1906.

[32] Houston Stuart Chamberlain, _Immanuel Kant_.

[33] According to the latest observations of Professor Yngwe Sjöstedt
these nut-galls are inhabited by three different species of ants.

[34] Cf. also Prof. Yngwe Sjöstedt on the destruction of wild animals
by the Boers in the Kilimanjaro district, in the _Täglichen Rundschau_,
Berlin, 1906. Professor Sjöstedt travelled through these districts for
the purpose of making a collection of their fauna for the Copenhagen
Museum, and visited the Merker Lakes with a view to securing a

[35] The destruction of wild animals by the Boers in the Kilimanjaro
district was in every way opposed by the central and local authorities,
but failing the possibility of strict control it does not seem to have
been possible to make the regulations effective. Prof. Sjöstedt found
the Boers in no way settled down, but roving about the country in
pursuit of the wild animals.

[36] It appears that the explorer completed some of these sketches
after his return with the help of stuffed specimens, but he drew others
entirely from nature on the African velt.

[37] So too, for example, Wissmann never killed a lion. This is
sufficient proof of the difficulty of observing animal life. The author
may take this opportunity of calling attention to the remarkable work
of this departed explorer, _In den Wildnissen Afrikas_, and thinks
himself fortunate in the possession of a letter from his hand approving
of his method of observing animals. This letter expresses in words
that go to the heart the love for and understanding of the beauty of
the African fauna that characterised this successful and distinguished

[38] Take, for instance, his description of the Ugalla River in a
letter to his grandfather, General von Meyerinck, in his work _Von
Sansibar zum Tanjanjika_ (published by Hermann Schalow, Leipzig, 1888).

[39] Unfortunately such ridiculous and ugly names as gemsbock,
hartebeest, wildebeest, etc., have gradually come into general use.

[40] _Pauw_ is Dutch for _peacock_.

[41] Cf. Prof. P. Matschie, _Die Säugetiere Deutsch-Ostafrikas_ (“The
Mammalia of German East Africa”), p. 96, and my work _With Flashlight
and Rifle_.

[42] From the Cameroon district in West Africa Professor Yngwe Sjöstedt
writes to me also of a nearly related species of cuckoo that has much
the same cry.

[43] Franz Hermann Meissner in his work, _Arnold Böcklin_, says “I have
often found that I had to consider these pictures with the blue eyes of
an old Ostrogoth seer of primitive days.” And I am of opinion that in
order to take full delight in the charm of the tropics one must look on
them with _northern_ eyes.

[44] Cf. Professor Dr. A. Reichenow, _Die Vögel Afrikas_.

[Transcriber’s Note:

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.]

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