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Title: In Wildest Africa Vol 2 (of 2)
Author: Schilling, Carl Georg
Language: English
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IN WILDEST AFRICA



  IN WILDEST AFRICA

  BY
  C. G. SCHILLINGS
  AUTHOR OF “WITH FLASHLIGHT AND RIFLE IN EQUATORIAL EAST AFRICA”

  TRANSLATED BY
  FREDERIC WHYTE

  =WITH OVER 300 PHOTOGRAPHIC STUDIES DIRECT FROM THE AUTHOR’S
  NEGATIVES, TAKEN BY DAY AND NIGHT; AND OTHER ILLUSTRATIONS=

  VOL. II

  LONDON
  HUTCHINSON & CO.
  PATERNOSTER ROW
  1907



[Illustration: YOUNG DWARF ANTELOPE]

Contents of Vol. II


  CHAP                                                              PAGE

  VIII. IN A PRIMEVAL FOREST                                         319

  IX. AFTER ELEPHANTS WITH WANDOROBO                                 370

  X. RHINOCEROS-HUNTING                                              431

  XI. THE CAPTURING OF A LION                                        470

  XII. A DYING RACE OF GIANTS                                        511

  XIII. A VANISHING FEATURE OF THE VELT                              550

  XIV. CAMPING OUT ON THE VELT                                       578

  XV. NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY UNDER DIFFICULTIES                           637

  XVI. PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAY AND BY NIGHT                               657



[Illustration: CORMORANTS.]

List of Illustrations in Vol. II


  PAGE

  Young Dwarf Antelope                                                 v

  Cormorants                                                         vii

  Spurred Geese                                                      319

  Views of Kilimanjaro                                     322, 323, 327

  River-bed Vegetation on the Velt                                   331

  A Fisherman’s Bag                                                  335

  Clatter-bills                                                 340, 341

  A Marsh-land View                                                  346

  Snow-white Herons                                                  347

  A Pair of Crested Cranes                                           349

  A Snake-vulture                                                    349

  Preparing to Skin a Hippopotamus                                   352

  Hippopotami Swimming                                               353

  Head of a Hippopotamus                                             357

  A Wandorobo Chief                                                  359

  Egyptian Geese                                                     364

  A Wounded Buffalo                                                  365

  Hunting Record-card                                                367

  A Sea-gull                                                         369

  A Masai throwing his Spear                                         370

  A Hippopotamus on his way to the Swamp                    _facing_ 370

  Oryx Antelopes                                                     374

  Waterbuck                                                          375

  Wandorobo Guides on the March                                      380

  A Party of Wandorobo Hunters                                       381

  A Feast of Honey                                                   386

  Acacia-tree denuded by Elephants                                   387

  An Oryx Antelope’s Methods of Defence                              389

  A Dwarf Kudu                                                       390

  Zebras                                                             392

  Giraffe Studies                                                    392

  Zebras on the open Velt                                            393

  Laden Masai Donkeys                                                397

  Pearl-hens on an Acacia-tree                                       393

  A pair of Grant’s Gazelles taking to Flight               _facing_ 398

  Grant’s Gazelles                                                   402

  A Good Instance of Protective Colouring                            402

  Grant’s Gazelles                                         403, 408, 409

  Young Masai Hartebeest                                             411

  A Herd of Hartebeests                                              414

  Hartebeests with Young                                             415

  Waterbuck                                                          415

  The Skinning of an Elephant                                   420, 421

  A Missionary’s Dwelling                                            424

  Elephants killed by the Author                                426, 427

  Some African Trophies                                              429

  Black-headed Herons                                                431

  Rhinoceros Heads                                              434, 435

  An Eland Bull                                             _facing_ 438

  An Eland, just before the Finishing Shot                           441

  An Eland Bull                                                      445

  Rhinoceroses, with and without Horns                          450, 451

  Snapshot of a Rhinoceros at twenty paces                           455

  Shelter from a Rhinoceros                                          459

  An Emaciated Rhinoceros                                            461

  Specimen of Stone against which Rhinoceroses whet their Horns      463

  A “Rhino” in sitting posture                              _facing_ 464

  A Rock-pool on Kilimanjaro                                         467

  Masai Killing a Hyena with Clubs                                   470

  The Moods of a Lion Cub                                       472, 473

  Record of a Lion-hunt                                              479

  A Lion at Bay                                                      483

  Studies of a Trapped Lion                                          485

  The Lion ... had dragged the Trap some distance           _facing_ 488

  Carrying a Live Lion to Camp                                       489

  A Captured Lioness                                                 492

  A Trapped Lion roaring                                             493

  Flashlight Photograph of a Lion                                    495

  Photograph of a Lion at five paces                                 499

  Hauling a Live Hyena into Camp                                     501

  Hyena Chained up in Camp                                           505

  Masai making game of a Trapped Hyena                               507

  Specimens of Elephant-tusks                                        511

  Record Elephant-tusks                                              513

  A Store of Elephant-tusks                                          517

  Auk and Auk’s Egg                                                  521

  Thicket frequented by Elephants                                    525

  Velt Fires                                                    532, 533

  An old Acacia-tree                                                 537

  Studies of Elephants in Dense Forest Growth               _facing_ 540

  Elephants and Giraffe--a Quaint Companionship                 544, 545

  A Young Lion                                                       549

  Study in Protective “Mimicry”                                      550

  Giraffe Studies                           552, 553; 558, 559; 564, 565

  Giraffes in Characteristic Surroundings                   _facing_ 568

  Head of a Giraffe                                                  569

  Giraffe Studies                                               574, 575

  _Giraffa schillingsi_, Mtsch.                             _facing_ 576

  Crested Cranes on the Wing                                         577

  Hungry Vultures                                                    578

  Pitching Camp                                                      579

  My Taxidermist at Work                                             581

  Termite Ant-hills                                                  583

  An unusually large Ant-hill                                        587

  Prince Löwenstein                                                  589

  Destroying an Ant-hill with Pick and Shovel                        590

  Serving out Provisions                                             592

  Bearer’s Wife preparing a Meal                                     592

  Young Baboons in front of my Tent                                  593

  Young Ostriches                                                    593

  Marabou Nests                                                 595, 598

  Feathered members of my Camp                                       599

  A rather Mixed-up Photograph                                       601

  My Rhinoceros: in the Berlin “Zoo” and on the Velt            606, 607

  How my captive “Rhino” was Carried to Camp                         612

  Carrying a Dead Leopard                                            612

  My “Rhino” and her Two Companions                                  613

  A Young Hyena extracted from its Lair                              613

  Vultures:
    On the Wing                                                      618
    Hovering over a Carcase                                          619
    Moving away from a Carcase                                       621

  My Pelicans                                                        623

  A Siesta in Camp                                                   625

  A Strange Friendship                                               628

  “Fatima” Prowling Round                                            629

  Carrying a fine Leopard                                            631

  Killing Game in accordance with Mohammedan rites                   633

  Cutting up the Carcase                                             633

  A Trapped Leopard                                                  635

  The Baboon and the Little Black Lady                               636

  Moonlight on the Velt                                     _facing_ 636

  A Fowl of the Velt                                                 637

  A River-horse Resort                                               639

  One of the Peaks of Donje-Erok                                     641

  Drawing Water for the March                                        643

  Vultures                                                           645

  Flashlight Photographs                                        648, 649

  My Night-apparatus in position                                     653

  A Pet of the Caravan                                               654

  A Baobab-tree                                                      655

  Flashlight Photograph of a Mongoose                                657

  Apparatus for Night Photography                               660, 661

  Vultures contesting the Possession of Carrion                      665

  First Dry-plate Photograph, probably,
    ever taken in the African Desert                                 667

  Photographic Mishaps:
    Cracked Glass Plate                                              669
    Plate Exposed Twice                                              673

  Telephotograph of Ostriches                                        677

  Photographs of Birds taken at distances
    varying from 20 to 200 paces                                     681

  Telephotographs of Birds on the Wing                               683

  Dwarf Gazelle, photographed at sixty paces                         684

  Jackal taking to Flight, startled by the Flashlight                685

  Lioness frightened away from Carcase
    by the Flashlight                                       _facing_ 688

  Aiming at a Pigeon and Hitting a Crow!                    _facing_ 688

  Hand-camera Photograph of a Jackal                                 689

  Photograph of a Jackal taken with my
    first Night-apparatus                                            689

  Flashlight Photography: my Native Models                           691

  Flashlight Failures                                 694, 695; 697, 698

  Photographic Studies of Antelopes shot by the Author               699

  Jackals                                                   _facing_ 702

  East-African Antelopes shot by the Author                          703

  More Antelopes                                                     707

  Spotted and Striped Hyenas and Jackal                              711

  A Jackal in full Flight                                            713

  Guinea-fowl                                                        715

  Farewell to Africa                                                 716



[Illustration: SPURRED GEESE (_PLECTROPTERUS GAMBENSIS_).]

VIII

In a Primeval Forest


Scenes of marvellous beauty open out before the wanderer who follows
the windings of some great river through the unknown regions of
Equatorial East Africa.

The dark, turbid stream is to find its way, after a thousand twists
and turns, into the Indian Ocean. Filterings from the distant glaciers
of Kilimanjaro come down into the arid velt, there to form pools and
rivulets that traverse in part the basin of the Djipe Lake and at last
are merged in the Rufu River. As is so often the case with African
rivers, the banks of the Rufu are densely wooded throughout its long
course, the monotony of which is broken by a number of rapids and one
big waterfall. Save in those rare spots where the formation of the
soil is favourable to their growth, the woods do not extend into the
velt. Trees and shrubs alike become parched a few steps away from the
sustaining river. The abundance of fish in the river is tremendous in
its wilder reaches--inexhaustible, it would seem, despite the thousands
of animal enemies. The river continually overflows its banks, and the
resulting swamps give such endless opportunities for spawning that at
times every channel is alive with fry and inconceivable multitudes of
small fishes.

It is only here and there and for short stretches that the river is
lost in impenetrable thickets. Marvellous are those serried ranks of
trees! marvellous, too, the sylvan galleries through which more usually
it shapes its way! They take the eye captive and seem to withhold
some unsuspected secret, some strange riddle, behind their solid mass
of succulent foliage. It is strange that these primeval trees should
still survive in all their strength with all the parasitic plants and
creepers that cling to them, strangling them in their embrace. You
would almost say that they lived on but as a prop to support the plants
and creepers in their fight for life. Convolvuli, white and violet,
stoop forward over the water, and the golden yellow acacia blossoms
brighten the picture.

In the more open reaches dragonflies and butterflies glisten all
around us in the moist atmosphere. A grass-green tree-snake glides
swiftly through the branches of a shrub close by. A Waran (_Waranus
niloticus_) runs to the water with a strange sudden rustle through
the parched foliage. Everywhere are myriads of insects. Wherever you
look, the woods teem with life. These woods screen the river from the
neighbouring velt, the uniformity of which is but seldom broken in upon
by patches of vegetation. The character of the flora has something
northern about it to the unlearned eye, as is the case so often in
East Africa. It is only when you come suddenly upon the Dutch palms
(_Borassus æthiopicus_, Mart., or the beautiful _Hyphæne thebaica_,
Mart.) that you feel once again that you are in the tropics.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

VIEW OF MAWENZI, THE HIGHEST PEAK BUT ONE OF KILIMANJARO, TAKEN WITH A
TELEPHOTO-LENS.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

VIEW OF KILIMANJARO, TAKEN AT SUNSET.]

The river now makes a great curve round to the right. A different kind
of scene opens out to the gaze--a great stretch of open country. In the
foreground the mud-banks of the stream are astir with huge crocodiles
gliding into the water and moving about this way and that, like
tree-trunks come suddenly to life. Now they vanish from sight, but only
to take up their position in ambush, ready to snap at any breathing
thing that comes unexpectedly within their reach. Doubtless they find
it the more easy to sink beneath the surface of the river by reason of
the great number of sometimes quite heavy stones they have swallowed,
and have inside them. I have sometimes found as much as seven pounds of
stones and pebbles in the stomach of a crocodile.

The deep reaches of the river are their special domain. Multitudes of
birds frequent the shallows, knowing from experience that they are safe
from their enemy. One of the most interesting things that have come
under my observation is the way these birds keep aloof from the deep
waters which the crocodiles infest. I have mentioned it elsewhere, but
am tempted to allude to it once again.

Our attention is caught by the wonderful wealth of bird-life now spread
out before us in every direction. Here comes a flock of the curious
clatter-bills (_Anastomus lamelligerus_, Tem.) in their simple but
attractive plumage. They have come in quest of food. Hundreds of other
marsh-birds of all kinds have settled on the outspread branches of the
trees, and enable us to distinguish between their widely differing
notes.

Among these old trees that overhang the river, covered with creepers
and laden with fruit of quaint shape, are Kigelia, tamarinds, and
acacias. In amongst the dense branches a family of Angolan guereza apes
(_Colobus palliatus_, Ptrs.) and a number of long-tailed monkeys are
moving to and fro. Now a flock of snowy-feathered herons (_Herodias
garzetta_, L., and _Bubulcus ibis_, L.) flash past, dazzlingly
white--two hundred of them, at least--alighting for a moment on the
brittle branches and pausing in their search for food. Gravely moving
their heads about from side to side, they impart a peculiar charm to
the trees. Now another flock of herons (_Herodias alba_, L.), also
dazzlingly white, but birds of a larger growth, speed past, flying for
their lives. Why is it that even here, in this remote sanctuary of
animal life, within which I am the first European trespasser, these
beautiful birds are so timorous? Who can answer that question with any
certainty? All we know is, that it has come to be their nature to scour
about from place to place in perpetual flight. Perhaps in other lands
they have made acquaintance with man’s destructiveness. Perhaps they
are endowed with keener senses than their smaller snow-white kinsfolk,
which suffer us to approach so near, and which, like the curious
clatter-bill (which have never yet been seen in captivity), evince no
sign of shyness--nothing but a certain mild surprise--at the sight
of man.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

KIBO IN THE FOREGROUND, WITH THE SADDLE-SHAPED RANGE CONNECTING IT WITH
MAWENZI IN THE DISTANCE. THE AVERAGE HEIGHT OF THIS “SADDLE” IS MORE
THAN 16,OOO FEET.]

Now, with a noisy clattering of wings, those less comely creatures,
the Hagedasch ibises, rise in front of us, filling the air with their
extraordinary cry: “Heiha! Ha heiha!”

Now we have a strange spectacle before our eyes--a number of wild
geese, perched upon the trees. The great, heavy birds make several
false starts before they make up their minds to escape to safety. They
present a beautiful sight as they make off on their powerful wings.
They are rightly styled “spurred geese,” by reason of the sharp spurs
they have on their wings. Hammerheads (_Scopus umbretta_, Gm.) move
about in all directions. A colony of darters now comes into sight, and
monopolises my attention. A few of their flat-shaped nests are visible
among the pendent branches of some huge acacias, rising from an island
in mid-stream. While several of the long-necked fishing-birds seek
safety in flight, others--clearly the females--remain seated awhile on
the eggs in their nests, but at last, with a sudden dart, take also to
their wings and disappear. Beneath the nesting-places of these birds
I found great hidden shaded cavities, the resorts for ages past of
hippopotami, which find a safe and comfortable haven in these small
islands.

The dark forms of these fishing-birds present a strange appearance in
full flight. They speed past you swiftly, looking more like survivals
from some earlier age than like birds of our own day. There is a
suggestion of flying lizards about them. Here they come, describing
a great curve along the river’s course, at a fair height. They are
returning to their nests, and as they draw near I get a better chance
of observing the varying phases of their flight.

But look where I may, I see all around me a wealth of tropical
bird-life. Snow-white herons balance themselves on the topmost
branches of the acacias. Barely visible against the deep-blue sky, a
brood-colony of wood ibis pelicans (_Tantalus ibis_, L.) fly hither
and thither, seeking food for their young. Other species of herons,
notably the black-headed heron, so like our own common heron (_Ardea
melanocephala_, Vig., Childr.), and further away a great flock of
cow-herons (_Bubulcus ibis_, L.), brooding on the acacias upon the
island, attract my attention. Egyptian Kingfishers (_Ceryle rudis_, L.)
dart down to the water’s edge, and return holding tiny fishes in their
beaks to their perch above.

The numbers and varieties of birds are in truth almost bewildering to
the spectator. Here is a marabou which has had its midday drink and
is keeping company for the moment with a pair of fine-looking saddled
storks (_Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis_, Shaw); there great regiments
of crested cranes; single specimens of giant heron (_Ardea goliath_,
Cretzschm.) keep on the look-out for fish in a quiet creek; on the
sandbanks, and in among the thickets alongside, a tern (_Œdicnemus
vermiculatus_, Cab.) is enjoying a sense of security. Near it are
gobbling Egyptian geese and small plovers. A great number of cormorants
now fly past, some of them settling on the branches of a tree which has
fallen into the water. They are followed by Tree-geese (_Dendrocygna
viduata_, L.), some plovers and night-herons, numerous sea-swallows
as well as seagulls; snipe (_Gallinago media_, Frisch.), and the
strange painted snipe (_Rostratula bengalensis_, L.), the _Actophylus
africanus_, and marsh-fowl (_Ortygometra pusilla obscura_, Neum.),
spurred lapwing (_Hoplopterus speciosus_, Lcht.), and many other
species. Now there rings out, distinguishable from all the others, the
clear cry--to me already so familiar and so dear--of the screeching
sea-eagle, that most typical frequenter of these riverside regions of
Africa and so well meriting its name. A chorus of voices, a very Babel
of sound, breaks continually upon the ear, for the varieties of small
birds are also well represented in this region. The most beautiful
of all are the cries of the organ-shrike and of the sea-eagle. The
veritable concerts of song, however, that you hear from time to time
are beyond the powers of description, and can only be cherished in the
memory.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

RIVER-BED VEGETATION ON THE VELT.]

There is a glamour about the whole life of the African wonderland that
recalls the forgotten fairy tales of childhood’s days, a sense of
stillness and loveliness. Every curve of the stream tells of secrets
to be unearthed and reveals unsuspected beauties, in the forms and
shapes of the Phœnix palms and all the varieties of vegetation; in the
indescribable tangle of the creepers; in the ever-changing effects
of light and shade; finally in the sudden glimpses into the life of
the animals that here make their home. You see the deep, hollowed-out
passages down to the river that tell of the coming and going of the
hippopotamus and rhinoceros, made use of also by the crocodiles. It is
with a shock of surprise that you see a specimen of our own great red
deer come hither at midday to quench his thirst--a splendid figure,
considerably bigger and stronger than he is to be seen elsewhere. A
herd of wallowing wart-hogs or river-swine will sometimes startle you
into hasty retreat before you realise what they are. The tree-tops
rock under the weight and motion of apes unceasingly scurrying from
branch to branch. Every now and again the eye is caught by the sight of
groups of crocodiles, now basking contentedly in the sun, now betaking
themselves again to the water in that stealthy, sinister, gliding way
of theirs.

Not so long ago the African traveller found such scenes as these along
the banks of every river. Nowadays, too many have been shorn of all
these marvels. Take, for instance, the old descriptions of the Orange
River and of the animal life met with along its course. No trace of it
now remains.

I should like to give a picture of the animal life still extant along
the banks of the Pangani. The time is inevitably approaching when that,
too, will be a thing of the past, for it is not to be supposed that
advancing civilisation will prove less destructive here.

So recently as the year 1896 the course of the river was for the most
part unknown. When I followed it for the second time in 1897, and when
in subsequent years I explored both its banks for great distances,
people were still so much in the dark about it that several expeditions
were sent out to discover whether it was navigable.

That it was not navigable I myself had long known. Its numerous rapids
are impracticable for boats even in the rainy season. In the dry
season they present insuperable obstacles to navigation of any kind.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

A FISHERMAN’S BAG! THREE CROCODILES SECURED BY THE AUTHOR IN THE WAY
DESCRIBED IN “WITH FLASHLIGHT AND RIFLE.”]

The basin of the Djipe Lake in the upper reaches of the Pangani, and
the Pangani swamps below its lower reaches, formed a kind of natural
preserve for every variety of the marvellous fauna of East Africa. It
was a veritable El Dorado for the European sportsman, but one attended
by all kinds of perils and difficulties. The explorer found manifold
compensation, however, for everything in the unexampled opportunities
afforded him for the study of wild life in the midst of these stifling
marshes and lagoons. The experience of listening night after night to
the myriad voices of the wilderness is beyond description.

Hippopotami were extraordinarily numerous at one time in the
comparatively small basin of the Djipe Lake. In all my long sojourn
by the banks of the Pangani I only killed two, and I never again went
after any. There were such numbers, however, round Djipe Lake ten years
ago that you often saw dozens of them together at one time. I fear that
by now they have been nearly exterminated.

Here, as everywhere else, the natives have levied but a small tribute
upon the numbers of the wild animals, a tribute in keeping with the
nature of their primitive weapons. Elephants used regularly to make
their way down to the water-side from the Kilimanjaro woods. My old
friend Nguruman, the Ndorobo chieftain, used to lie in wait for them,
with his followers, concealed in the dense woods along the river. But
the time came when the elephants ceased to make their appearance. The
old hunter, whose body bore signs of many an encounter with lions as
well as elephants, and who used often to hold forth to me beside camp
fires on the subject of these adventures, could not make out why his
eagerly coveted quarry had become so scarce. Every other species of
“big game” was well represented, however, and according to the time of
the year I enjoyed ever fresh opportunities for observation. Generally
speaking, it would be a case of watching one aspect of wild life one
day and another all the next, but now and again my eyes and ears would
be surfeited and bewildered by its manifestations. The sketch-plans on
which I used to record my day’s doings and seeings serve now to recall
to me all the multiform experiences that fell to my lot. What a pity it
is that the old explorers of South Africa have left no such memoranda
behind them for our benefit! They would enable us to form a better idea
of things than we can derive from any kind of pictures or descriptions.

       *       *       *       *       *

I shall try now to give some notion of all the different sights I would
sometimes come upon in a single day. It would often happen that, as I
was making my way down the Pangani in my light folding craft, or else
was setting out for the velt which generally lay beyond its girdle of
brushwood, showers of rain would have drawn herds of elephants down
from the mountains.[1] Even when I did not actually come within sight
of them, it was always an intense enjoyment to me to trace the
immense footsteps of these nocturnal visitors. Perhaps the cunning
animals would have already put several miles between my camp and their
momentary stopping place. But their tracks afforded me always most
interesting clues to their habits, all the more valuable by reason
of the rare chances one has of observing them in daylight, when they
almost always hide away in impenetrable thickets. What excitement there
is in the stifled cry “Tembo!” In a moment your own eye perceives the
unmistakable traces of the giant’s progress. The next thing to do is to
examine into the tracks and ascertain as far as possible the number,
age and sex of the animals. Then you follow them up, though generally,
as I have said, in vain.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

CLATTER-BILLS SETTLING UPON THE BARE BRANCHES OF RIVERSIDE TREES.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

CLATTER-BILLS (_ANASTOMUS LAMELLIGERUS_, Tem.).]

The hunter, however, who without real hope of overtaking the elephants
themselves yet persists in following up their tracks just because
they have so much to tell him, will be all the readier to turn aside
presently, enticed in another direction by the scarcely less notable
traces of a herd of buffaloes. Follow these now and you will soon
discover that they too have found safety, having made their way into an
impenetrable morass. To make sure of this you must perhaps clamber up
a thorny old mimosa tree, all alive with ants--not a very comfortable
method of getting a bird’s-eye view. Numbers of snow-white ox-peckers
flying about over one particular point in the great wilderness of reeds
and rushes betray the spot in which the buffaloes have taken refuge.

The great green expanse stretches out before you monotonously, and
even in the bright sunlight you can see no other sign of the animal
life of various kinds concealed beneath the sea of rushes waving
gently in the breeze. Myriads of insects, especially mosquitoes and
ixodides, attack the invaders; the animals are few that do not fight
shy of these morasses. They are the province of the elephants, which
here enjoy complete security; of the hippopotami, whose mighty voice
often resounds over them by day as by night; of the buffaloes, which
wallow in the mud and pools of water to escape from their enemies the
gadflies; and finally of the waterbuck, which are also able to make
their way through even the deeper regions of the swamp. Wart-hogs
also--the African equivalent of our own wild boars--contrive to
penetrate into these regions, so inhospitable to mankind. We shall find
no other representatives, however, of the big game of Africa. It is
only in Central Africa and in the west that certain species of antelope
frequent the swamps. In the daytime the elephant and the buffalo are
seldom actually to be seen in them, nor does one often catch sight of
the hippopotami, though they are so numerous and their voices are to be
heard. As we grope through the borders of the swamp, curlew (_Glarcola
fusca_, L.) flying hither and thither all around us, we are startled
ever and anon by a sudden rush of bush and reed buck plunging out from
their resting-places and speeding away from us for their life. Even
when quite small antelopes are thus started up by the sound of our
advance, so violent is their flight that for the moment we imagine that
we have to deal with some huge and perhaps dangerous beast.

In those spots where large pools, adorned with wonderful
water-lilies, give a kind of symmetry to the wilderness, we come upon
such a wealth of bird-life as enables us to form some notion of what
this may have been in Europe long ago under similar conditions. The
splendid great white heron (_Herodias alba_, L., and _garzetta_, L.)
and great flocks of the active little cow-herons (_Bubulcus ibis_,
L.) make their appearance in company with sacred ibises and form a
splendid picture in the landscape. Some species of those birds with
their snow-white feathers stand out picturesquely against the rich
green vegetation of the swamp. When, startled by our approach, these
birds take to flight, and the whole air is filled by them and by the
curlews (_Glareola fusca_, L.) that have hovered over us, keeping
up continually their soft call, when in every direction we see all
the swarms of other birds--sea-swallows (_Gelochelidon nilotica_,
Hasselg.), lapwings, plovers (_Charadriidæ_), Egyptian geese, herons,
pelicans, crested cranes and storks--the effect upon our eyes and ears
is almost overpowering.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

A MARSHLAND VIEW. AN OSPREY IN AMONG THE REEDS--THE BIRD FOR WHOSE
PROTECTION QUEEN ALEXANDRA OF ENGLAND HAS LATELY PLEADED.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

SNOW-WHITE HERONS MADE THEIR NESTS IN THE ACACIAS NEAR MY CAMP AND
SHOWED NO MARKED TIMIDITY.]

[Illustration: A SINGLE PAIR OF CRESTED CRANES WERE OFTEN TO BE SEEN
NEAR MY CAMP.]

[Illustration: A SNAKE-VULTURE. I SUCCEEDED TWICE ONLY IN SECURING A
PHOTOGRAPH OF THIS BIRD.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

    PREPARING TO SKIN A HIPPOPOTAMUS. THE PRESERVATION OF THE HIDE
    OF THIS SPECIMEN PROVED UNSUCCESSFUL. IT IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO
    PRESERVE HIPPOPOTAMUS-HIDES WITHOUT HUGE QUANTITIES OF ALUM AND
    SALT, BOTH VERY HARD TO GET IN THE INTERIOR OF AFRICA. THE SKIN
    OF THE HEAD IS THINNER AND MORE MANAGEABLE THAN THAT OF THE REST
    OF THE BODY.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

HIPPOPOTAMI, POPPING THEIR HEADS OR EARS AND SNOUTS UP ABOVE THE
SURFACE OF THE WATER.]

How mortal lives are intertwined and interwoven! The ox-peckers swarm
round the buffaloes and protect them from their pests, the ticks and
other parasites. The small species of marsh-fowl rely upon the warning
cry of the Egyptian geese or on the sharpness of the herons, ever on
the alert and signalling always the lightning-like approach of their
enemy the falcons (_Falco biarmicus_, Tem., and _F. minor_, Bp.). All
alike have sense enough to steer clear of the crocodiles, which have
to look to fish chiefly for their nourishment, like almost all the
frequenters of these marshy regions.

The quantities of fish I have found in every pool in these swamps defy
description--I am anxious to insist upon this point--and this although
almost all the countless birds depend on them chiefly for their food.
Busy beaks and bills ravage every pool and the whole surface of the
lagoon-like swamp for young fish and fry. The herons and darters
(_Assingha rufa_, Lacèp. Daud.) manage even to do some successful
fishing in the deeper waters of the river. _And yet, in spite of all
these fish-eaters, the river harbours almost a superabundance of
fish._[2]

Wandering along by the river, we take in all these impressions. For
experiences of quite another kind, we have only to make for the
neighbouring velt, now arid again and barren, and thence to ascend the
steep ridges leading up to the tableland of Nyíka.

Behind us we leave the marshy region of the river and the morass of
reeds. Before us rises Nyíka, crudely yellow, and the laterite earth
of the velt glowing red under the blazing sun. The contrast is strong
between the watery wilderness from which we have emerged and these
higher ranges of the velt with their strange vegetation. Here we shall
find many species of animals that we should look for in vain down there
below, animals that live differently and on scanty food up here, even
in the dry season. The buffaloes also know where to go for fresh young
grass even when they are in the marshes, and they reject the ripened
green grass. The dwellers on the velt are only to be found amidst the
lush vegetation of the valley at night time, when they make their
way down to the river-side to drink.[3] It is hard to realise, but they
find all the food they need on the high velt. When you examine the
stomachs of wild animals that you have killed, you note with wonder the
amount of fresh grass and nourishing shrubs they have found to eat in
what seem the barrenest districts. The natives of these parts show the
same kind of resourcefulness. The Masai, for instance, succeeds most
wonderfully in providing for the needs of his herds in regions which
the European would call a desert. I doubt whether the European could
ever acquire this gift. Out here on the velt we shall catch sight of
small herds of waterbuck, never to be seen in the marshes. We shall
see at midday, under the bare-looking trees, herds of Grant’s gazelles
too, and the oryx antelope. Herds of gnus, going through with the
strangest antics as they make off in flight, are another feature in
the picture, while the fresh tracks of giraffes, eland, and ostriches
tell of the presence of all these. Wart-hogs, a herd of zebras in the
distance--like a splash of black--two ostrich hens, and a multitude
of small game and birds of all descriptions add to the variety. But
what delights the ornithologist’s eye more than anything is the
charming sight of a golden yellow bird, now mating. Up it flies into
the sky from the tree-top, soon to come down again with wings and tail
outstretched, recalling our own singing birds. You would almost fancy
it was a canary. Only in this one region of the velt have I come upon
this exquisite bird (_Tmetothylacus tenellus_, Cal.), nowhere else.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

HEAD OF A HIPPOPOTAMUS (_HIPPOPOTAMUS AFR. ARYSSINICUS_, Less.) WHICH
I ENCOUNTERED ON DRY LAND AND WHICH NEARLY “DID” FOR ME.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

MY OLD FRIEND “NGURUMAN,” A WANDOROBO CHIEF. HIS BODY IS SEARED BY MANY
SCARS THAT TELL OF ENCOUNTERS WITH ELEPHANTS AND LIONS.]


Thus would I spend day after day, getting to know almost all the wild
denizens of East Africa, either by seeing them in the flesh or by
studying their tracks and traces, cherishing more and more the wish
to be able to achieve some record of all these beautiful phases of
wild life. I repeat: as a rule you will carry away with you but one or
another memory from your too brief day’s wandering, but there come days
when a succession of marvellous pictures seem to be unrolled before
your gaze, as in an endless panorama. It is the experience of one such
day that I have tried here to place on record. Professor Moebius is
right in what he says: “Æsthetic views of animals are based not upon
knowledge of the physiological causes of their forms, colouring, and
methods of motion, but upon the impression made upon the observer
by their various features and outward characteristics as parts of a
harmonious whole. The more the parts combine to effect this unity and
harmony, the more beautiful the animal seems to us.” Similarly, a
landscape seems to me most impressive and harmonious when it retains
all its original elements. No section of its flora or fauna can be
removed without disturbing the harmony of the whole.

Within a few years, if this be not actually the case already, all that
I have here described so fully will no longer be in existence along the
banks of the Pangani. When I myself first saw these things, often my
thoughts went back to those distant ages when in the lands now known
as Germany the same description of wild life was extant in
the river valleys, when hippopotami made their home in the Rhine and
Main, and elephants and rhinoceroses still flourished.... What I saw
there before me in the flesh I learnt to see with my mind’s eye in the
long-forgotten past. It is the duty of any one whose good fortune it
has been to witness such scenes of charm and loveliness to endeavour to
leave some record of them as best he may, and by whatever means he has
at his command.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

EGYPTIAN GEESE.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

A WOUNDED BUFFALO.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

    FACSIMILE REPRODUCTION OF ONE OF MY HUNTING RECORD-CARDS,
    ENUMERATING ALL THE DIFFERENT ANIMALS I SIGHTED ONE DAY (AUGUST
    21, 1898) IN THE COURSE OF AN EXPEDITION IN THE VICINITY OF THE
    MASIMANI HILLS, HALF-WAY UP THE PANGANI RIVER. THE DOTTED LINE
    SHOWS MY ROUTE AND THE NUMBERS INDICATE THE SPOTS AT WHICH I CAME
    UPON THE VARIOUS SPECIES OF GAME. AT ANOTHER TIME OF THE YEAR
    THIS DISTRICT WOULD BE ENTIRELY DESTITUTE OF WILD LIFE.]

[Illustration: A SEA-GULL.]



[Illustration: A MASAI THROWING HIS SPEAR.]

IX

After Elephants with Wandorobo


“Big game hunting is a fine education!” With this opinion of Mr. H. A.
Bryden I am in entire agreement, but I cannot assent to the dictum so
often cited of some of the most experienced African hunters, to the
effect that Equatorial East Africa offers the sportsman no adequate
compensation for all the difficulties and dangers there to be faced.

I cannot subscribe to this view, because to my mind these very
difficulties and dangers impart to the sport of this region a
fascination scarcely to be equalled in any other part of the world.
It is only in tropical Africa that you will find the last splendid
specimens of an order of wild creation surviving from other eras of
the earth’s history. It is not to be denied that you must pay a high
price for the joy of hunting them. That goes without saying in a
country where your every requisite, great and small, has to be carried
on men’s shoulders--no other form of transport being available--from
the moment you set foot within the wilderness. I am not now talking of
quite short expeditions, but of the bigger enterprises which take the
traveller into the interior for a period of months. I hold that this
breaking away from all the resources of civilised life should be one
of the sportsman’s chief incentives, and one of his chief enjoyments.
I can, of course, quite understand experienced hunters taking another
view. Many have had such serious encounters with the big game they have
shot, and above all such unfortunate experiences of African climates,
that they may well have had enough of such drawbacks.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

A POWERFUL OLD HIPPOPOTAMUS ON HIS WAY TO HIS HAUNT IN THE SWAMP AT
DAYBREAK. ONE OF MY BEST PHOTOGRAPHS. ]

Their assertions, in any case, tend to make it clear that sport in this
East African wilderness is no child’s play. In reality, all depends
upon the character and equipment of the man who goes in for it. The
apparently difficult game of tennis presents no difficulties to the
expert tennis-player. With an inferior player it is otherwise. So it is
in regard to hunting in the tropics. It is obvious that experience in
sport here at home is of the greatest possible use out there--is, in
fact, absolutely essential to one’s success. Only those should attempt
it who are prepared to do everything and cope with all obstacles for
themselves, who do not need to rely on others, and whose nerves are
proof against the extraordinary excitements and strains which out there
are your daily experience.

I myself am conscious of a steadily increasing distaste for
face-to-face encounters with rhinoceroses, and with elephants still
more. There are indeed other denizens of the East African jungle
whose defensive and offensive capabilities it would be no less a
mistake to under estimate. The most experienced and most authoritative
Anglo-Saxon sportsmen are, in fact, agreed that, whether it be a
question of going-after lions or leopards or African buffaloes, sooner
or later the luck goes against the hunter. Of recent years a large
number of good shots have lost their lives in Africa. If one of these
animals once gets at you, you are as good as dead. To be chased by an
African elephant is as exciting a sensation as a man could wish for.
The fierceness of his on-rush passes description. He makes for you
suddenly, unexpectedly. The overpowering proportions of the enraged
beast--the grotesque aspect of his immense flapping ears, which make
his huge head look more formidable than ever--the incredible pace at
which he thunders along--all combine with his shrill trumpeting to
produce an effect upon the mind of the hunter, now turned quarry, which
he will never shake himself rid of as long as life lasts. When--as
happened once to me--it is a case not of one single elephant, but
of an entire herd giving chase in the open plain (as described in
_With Flashlight and Rifle_), the reader will have no difficulty in
understanding that even now I sometimes live the whole situation over
again in my dreams and that I have more than once awoke from them in a
frenzy of terror.

Of course, a man becomes hardened in regard to hunting accidents in
course of time, especially if all his adventures have had fortunate
issues. When, however, a man has repeatedly escaped destruction by a
hairs-breadth only, and when incidents of this kind have been
heaped up one on another within a brief space of time, the effects
upon the nervous system become so great that even with the utmost
self-mastery a man ceases to be able to bear them. As I have already
said, the total number of casualties in the ranks of African sportsmen
is not inconsiderable.

[Illustration: ORYX ANTELOPE BULL, NOT YET AWARE OF MY APPROACH.]

[Illustration: A HERD OF ORYX ANTELOPES (_ORIX CALLOTIS_, Thos.),
CALLED BY THE COAST-FOLK “CHIROA.”]

[Illustration: WATERBUCK. THEY SOMETIMES LOOK QUITE BLACK, AS THIS
PHOTOGRAPH SUGGESTS. IT DEPENDS UPON THE LIGHT.]

[Illustration: HEAD OF A BULL WATERBUCK (_COBUS ELLIPSIPRYMNUS_,
Ogilb.).]

In Germany, of course, we have time-honoured sports of a dangerous
nature too, but these are exceptions--for instance, killing the wild
boar with a spear, and mountain-climbing and stalking.

In order to understand fully the mental condition of the sportsman in
dangerous circumstances such as I have described, it is necessary to
realise the way in which he is affected by his loneliness, his complete
severance from the rest of mankind. There is all the difference in
the world between the situation of a number of men taking up a post
of danger side by side, and that of the man who stands by himself,
either at the call of duty or impelled by a sense of daring. He has to
struggle with thoughts and fears against which the others are sustained
by mutual example and encouragement.

But, as I have said, the great fascination of sport in the tropics lies
precisely in the dangers attached. Therein, too, lies the source of
that pluck and vigour which the sport-hardened Boers displayed in their
struggles with the English. The perils they had faced in their pursuit
of big game had made brave men of them.

       *       *       *       *       *

Now let us set out in company with the most expert hunters of the velt
on an expedition of a rather special kind--the most dangerous you can
go in for in this part of the world--an elephant-hunt. In prehistoric
days the mammoth was hunted with bow and arrow in almost the same
fashion as the elephant is to-day by certain tribes of natives.
Taking part in one of their expeditions, one feels it easy to go back
in imagination to the early eras of mankind. This feeling imparts a
peculiar fascination to the experience.

After a good deal of trouble I had got into friendly relations with
some of these nomadic hunters. It was a difficult matter, because they
fight shy of Europeans and of the natives from the coast, such as my
bearers and followers generally. I knew, moreover, that our friendship
might be of short duration, for these distrustful children of the
velt might disappear at any moment, leaving not a trace behind them.
However, I had at least succeeded, by promises of rich rewards in the
shape of iron and brass wire, in winning their goodwill. After many
days of negotiation they told me that elephants might very likely be
met with shortly in a certain distant part of the velt. The region in
question was impracticable for a large caravan. Water is very scarce
there, rock pools affording only enough for a few men, and only for a
short time. At this period of the year the animals had either to make
incredibly long journeys to their drinking-places, or else content
themselves with the fresh succulent grass sprouting up after the rains,
and with the moisture in the young leaves of the trees and bushes.

I set out one day in the early morning for this locality with a few of
my men in company with the Wandorobo. After a long and fatiguing
march in the heat of the sun, we encamp in the evening at one of the
watering-places. To-day, to my surprise, there is quite a large supply
of water, owing to rain last night. The elephants, with their unfailing
instinct, have discovered the precious liquid. They have not merely
drunk in the pool, but have also enjoyed a bath; their tracks and the
colour and condition of the water show that clearly. Therefore we do
not pitch our camp near the pool, but out in the velt at some distance
away, so as not to interfere with the elephants in case they should be
moved to return to the water.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

MY WANDOROBO GUIDES ON THE MARCH, WITH ALL THEIR “HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE”
ON THEIR BACKS!]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

A PARTY OF WANDOROBO HUNTERS COMING TO MY CAMP. I GOT SEVERAL OF THEM
TO ACT FOR ME AS GUIDES.]

But the wily beasts do not come a second time, and we are obliged to
await morning to follow their tracks in the hope of luck. The Wandorobo
on ahead, I and two of my men following, make up the small caravan,
while some of my other followers remain behind at the watering-place
in a rough camp. I have provided myself with all essentials for two
or three days, including a supply of water contained in double-lined
water-tight sacks. For hour after hour we follow the tracks clearly
defined upon the still damp surface of the velt. Presently they lead us
through endless stretches of shrubs and acacia bushes and bow-string
hemp, then through the dried-up beds of rain-pools now sprouting here
and there with luxuriant vegetation. Then again we come to stretches of
scorched grass, featureless save for the footsteps of the elephants. As
we advance I am enabled to note how the animals feed themselves in this
desert-like region, from which they never wander any great distance.
Here, stamping with their mighty feet, they have smashed some young
tree-trunks and shorn them of their twigs and branches; and there,
with their trunks and tusks, they have torn the bark off larger trees
in long strips or wider slices and consumed them. I observe, too, that
they have torn the long sword-shaped hemp-stalks out of the ground,
and after chewing them have dropped the fibres gleaming white where
they lie in the sun. The sap in this plant is clearly food as well as
drink to them. I see, too, that at certain points the elephants have
gathered together for a while under an acacia tree, and have broken and
devoured all its lower branches and twigs. At other places it is clear
that they have made a longer halt, from the way in which the vegetation
all around has been reduced to nothing. We go on and on, the mighty
footsteps keeping us absorbed and excited. We know that the chances
are all against our overtaking the elephants, but the pleasures of the
chase are enough to keep up our zest. At any moment, perhaps, we may
come up with our gigantic fugitives. Perhaps!

How different is the elephant’s case in Africa from what it is in India
and Ceylon! In India it is almost a sacred animal; in Ceylon it is
carefully guarded, and there is no uncertainty as to the way in which
it will be killed. Here in Africa, however, its lot is to be the most
sought-after big game on the face of the earth; but the hunter has to
remember that he may be “hoist with his own petard,” for the elephant
is ready for the fray and knows what awaits him. With these thoughts in
my mind and the way clearer at every step, the Wandorobo move on and on
unceasingly in front.

It is astonishing what a small supply of arms and utensils these
sons of the velt take with them when starting out for journeys over
Nyíka that may take weeks or months. Round their shoulders they carry
a soft dressed skin, and, hung obliquely, a strap to which a few
implements are attached, as well as a leathern pouch containing odds
and ends. Their bow they hold in one hand, while their quivers, filled
with poisoned arrows, are also fastened to their shoulders by a strap.
In addition they carry a sword in a primitive kind of scabbard. Thus
equipped they are ready to cope with all the dangers and discomforts of
the velt, and succeed somehow in coming out of them victorious.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

A FEAST OF HONEY. A HONEY-FINDER HAD LED US TO A HIVE, AND HERE MY MEN
MAY BE SEEN REJOICING IN THE RESULTS.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

ACACIA TREE DENUDED BY ELEPHANTS.]

[Illustration: AN ORYX ANTELOPE’S METHODS OF DEFENCE.]


[Illustration:

    A DWARF KUDU (_STREPSICEROS IMBERBIS_, Blyth). I HAVE NEVER YET
    SUCCEEDED IN PHOTOGRAPHING THIS ANIMAL ALIVE AND IN FREEDOM. SO
    FAR I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO PHOTOGRAPH ONLY SPECIMENS WHICH I HAVE
    SHOT.]

How thoroughly the velt is known to them--every corner of it! To
live on the velt for any time you must be adapted by nature to its
conditions. We Europeans should find it as hard to become acclimatised
to it as the Wandorobo would to the conditions of civilised life
in Europe. The one thing they are like us in being unable to forego
is water--and even that they can do without for longer than we can.
The most important factor in their life as hunters is their knowledge
where to get water at the different periods of the year. Their
intimate acquaintance with the book of the velt is something beyond
our faculty for reading print. Our experiences in our recent campaigns
in South-West Africa have served to bring home the wonderful way in
which the natives decipher and interpret the minutest indications to be
found in the ground of the velt and know how to shape their course in
accordance with them.

[Illustration: ZEBRAS.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

GIRAFFE STUDIES (_GIRAFFA SCHILLINGSI_, Mtsch.) SECURED BY
TELEPHOTO-LENS.]

[Illustration: ZEBRAS (_EQUUS BOHMI_) OUT ON THE OPEN VELT.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

MY MASAI DONKEYS ARRIVING IN CAMP, ESCORTED BY ARMED MEN. BEARERS
ADVANCING TO MEET THEM AND TO UNBURDEN THEM OF THEIR LOADS.]

This had already been brought home to me in the regions through which
I had travelled. You must have had the experience yourself to realise
the degree to which civilised man has unlearnt the use of his eyes and
ears. Whether it be a question of finding one’s bearings or deciding in
which direction to go, or of sizing up the elephant-herds from their
tracks, or of distinguishing the tracks of one kind of antelope from
those of another, or of detecting some faint trace of blood telling us
that some animal we are after has been wounded, or of knowing where
and when we shall come to some water, or of discovering a bee’s nest
with honey in it--in all such matters the native is as clever as we
are stupid. We may make some progress in this kind of knowledge and
capability, but we shall always be a bad second to the native-born
hunter of the velt.

With such men to act as your guides you get to feel that traversing
Nyíka is as safe as mountain-climbing under the guidance of skilled
mountaineers. You get to feel that you cannot lose your way or get
into difficulties about water. One reflection, however, should never
be quite absent from your mind--that at any moment these guides of
yours may abandon you. That misfortune has never happened to me, and
it is not likely to happen when the natives are properly handled.
Moreover, your friendship with them can sometimes be strengthened by
the establishment of bonds of brotherhood. A time-honoured practice of
this kind, held sacred by the natives, can be of the greatest benefit.
I am strongly in favour of the observance of these praiseworthy native
customs, and have always been most ready to go through with the
ceremonies involved.

I endeavour to win the goodwill of my guides by keeping to the pace
they set--an easy matter for me. In every other way also I take
pains to fall in with the ways and habits of the Wandorobo, so as to
attenuate that feeling of antagonism which my uncivilised friends
necessarily harbour towards the European. I owe it to this, perhaps,
that they did their utmost to find the elephant-tracks for me.

For hour after hour we continue our march, in and out, over velt and
brushwood, coming every few hours to a watering-place, and meeting in
the hollow of one valley an exceptionally large herd of oryx antelopes.
Under cover of the brushwood, and favoured by the wind, I succeed in
getting quite near this herd and thus in studying their movements close
at hand.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

PEARL-HENS ON AN ACACIA TREE.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

A PAIR OF GRANT’S GAZELLES TAKING TO FLIGHT. ]

In the bush, not far from these oryx antelopes, I come unexpectedly
on a small herd of beautiful dwarf kudus. They take to flight, but
reappear for a moment in a glade. This kind of sudden glimpse of these
timid, pretty creatures is a real delight to one. Their great anxious
eyes gaze inquiringly at the intruder, while their large ears stand
forward in a way that gives a most curious aspect to their shapely
heads. The colouring of their bodies accords in a most remarkable
degree with their environment, and this accentuates the individuality
of their heads, seen thus by the hunter. Off they scamper again now,
in a series of extraordinarily long and high jumps, gathering speed as
they go, and unexpectedly darting now in one direction, now in another.
It is very exciting work tracking the fugitive kudu, and when it is a
question of a single specimen you may very well mark it down in the
end; but according to my own experience it is next to impossible to
follow up a herd, for one animal after another breaks away from it,
seeking safety on its own account.

Now we come again to an open grassy stretch of velt. With a sudden
clatter of hoofs a herd of some thirty zebras some hundred paces off
take to flight and escape unhurt by us into the security of a distant
thicket. The older animals and the leaders of the herd keep looking
backwards anxiously with outstretched necks. Even in the thicket their
bright colouring makes them discernible at this hour of the day. But
our attention is distracted now elsewhere. Far away on the horizon
appear the unique outlines of a herd of giraffes. The timorous animals
have noted our approach and are already making away--stopping at
moments to glance at us--into a dense thorn-thicket. The wind favours
us, so I quickly decide to make a detour to the right and cut them
off. After a breathless run through the brushwood I succeed in getting
within a few paces of one of the old members of the herd. This way of
circumventing a herd of giraffes--my followers helping me by moving
about all over the place, so as to put them off the scent--has not
often proved successful with me, because it can only be managed when
both wind and the formation of the country are in one’s favour.

To-day I have no mind to kill the beautiful long-limbed beast, but it
is delightful to get into such close touch with him. Now he is off,
stepping out again, swinging his long tail, his immense neck dipping
and rising like the mast of a sea-tossed ship, and the rest of the herd
with him.

Now, just because I have no thought of hunting, every kind of wild
animal crosses my path! Their number and variety are beyond belief. We
come upon more zebras, oryx antelopes, hartebeests, Grant’s gazelles,
impalla antelopes; upon ostriches, guinea-fowl (_Numida reichenowi_ and
_Acryllium vulturinum_, Hardw.), and francolins. The recent rains seem
to have conjured them all into existence here as though by magic.

But everything else has to give precedence to the elephant-tracks,
which now are all mixed up, though leading clearly to the next
watering-place, towards which we are directing our steps down a way
trodden quite hard by animals, evidently during the last few
days. Large numbers of rhinoceroses have trampled down this way to
the water, but neither they nor the elephants are to be seen in the
neighbourhood while the sun is up. They are too well acquainted with
the habits of their enemy man, and they keep at a safe distance out
on the velt. To-day, therefore, I am to catch no glimpse of either
elephant or rhinoceros. Wherever I turn my eyes, however, I see other
animals of all sorts--among others, some more big giraffes. I am not
to be put off, however, and I decide to follow up the tracks of a
number of the elephants, evidently males, giving myself up anew to the
unfailing interest I find in the study of their ways, and confirming
the observations I had already made as to their finding their chief
nourishment on the velt in tree-bark and small branches.

[Illustration: GRANT’S GAZELLES.]

[Illustration: A GOOD INSTANCE OF PROTECTIVE COLOURING. A HERD OF
GRANT’S GAZELLES ALMOST INDISTINGUISHABLE FROM THEIR BACKGROUND OF
THORN-BUSH.]

[Illustration:

    A GRANT’S GAZELLE BUCK STANDING OUT CONSPICUOUSLY ON THE DRIED-UP
    BED OF A LAKE NOW SO INCRUSTATED WITH SALT AS TO LOOK AS THOUGH
    SNOW-COVERED.]

[Illustration: FOUR GRANT’S GAZELLES.]

Night set in more quickly than we expected while we were pitching camp
before sunset in a cutting in a thorn-thicket. Spots on which fires
had recently been lit showed us that native hunters had been there a
few days before, and my guides said they must have been the Wakamba
people, keen elephant-hunters, with whom they live at enmity, and of
whose very deadly poisoned arrows they stand in great dread. Therefore
we drew close round a very small camp-fire, carefully kept down. The
glow of a big fire might have brought the Wakamba people down on us
if they were anywhere in the neighbourhood. It seems that natives
who are at war often attack each other in the dark. It may easily be
imagined, then, that the first hours of our “night’s repose” were not
as blissful as they should have been! After a time, however, our need
of sleep prevailed, sheer physical fatigue overcame all our anxieties,
and my Wandorobo slumbered in peace. They had contrived a “charm,” and
had set up a row of chewed twigs all round to keep off misfortune.
Unfortunately it is not so easy for a European to believe in the
efficacy of these precautions! It was interesting to observe that the
Wandorobo evinced much greater fear of the poisoned arrows of the
Wakamba than of wild animals. In view of my subsequent experience, I
myself in such a situation would view the possibility of being attacked
by elephants with much greater alarm.

As it happened, however, this night passed like many another--if not
without danger, at least without mishap.

Day dawned. No bird-voices greeted it, for, strange to relate, we
found nothing but big game in this wooded wilderness, save for
guinea-fowl (_Numida reichenowi_ and _Acryllium vulturinum_, Hardw.)
and francolins. The small birds seem to have known that the water would
soon be exhausted, and that until the advent of the next rainy season
this was no place for them.

In the grey of early morning we made our way out again into the velt.
We had to visit the neighbouring watering-places and then to follow
up some fresh set of elephant-tracks. It turned out that some ten big
bull-elephants had visited one of the pools, and had left what remained
of the water a thick yellowish mud. They had rubbed and scoured
themselves afterwards against a clump of acacia trees. Judging
from the marks upon these trees some of the elephants in this herd
must have been more than eleven feet in height. With renewed zest we
followed up the fresh, distinct tracks through the bush, through all
their twistings and turnings. Again we came upon all kinds of other
animals--among others, a herd of giraffes right in our path. But these
were opportunities for the naturalist only, not for the sportsman who
was keeping himself for the elephants and would not fire a shot at
anything else unless in extreme danger. Later, at a moment when we
believed ourselves to have got quite close to the elephants, I started
an extraordinarily large land-tortoise--the biggest I have ever seen.
I could not get hold of it, however--I was too much taken up with
the hope of reaching the elephants; but after several more hours of
marching I had to call a halt in order to gather new strength. In
the end we did not overtake them. They had evidently been seriously
disquieted either by us or earlier by the Wakamba people. While we were
pitching our camp in the evening, nearly a day’s journey from our camp
of the night before, we sighted one after another three herds of elands
and four rhinoceroses on their way out into the velt to graze. During
these two days I had come within shot of about ten rhinoceroses while
on the march, and had caught glimpses of many more in the distance.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

    THE HERDS OF GRANT’S GAZELLES ARE SOMETIMES MADE UP ENTIRELY OF
    MALES, SOMETIMES ENTIRELY OF FEMALES. IN THIS PICTURE WE SEE A
    NUMBER OF YOUNG DOES IN SEARCH OF THE SCANTY FRESH GRASS ON A
    PORTION OF THE VELT WHICH NOT LONG BEFORE HAD BEEN BURNT UP.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

A SMALL HERD OF GRANT’S GAZELLES. THE KILIMANJARO RANGE IN THE
BACKGROUND.]

[Illustration: YOUNG MASAI HARTEBEEST. I DID NOT SUCCEED IN MY EFFORTS
TO BRING BACK A SPECIMEN OF THIS SPECIES.]

The third day’s pursuit of the elephants also proved entirely
fruitless. We did not even come within sight of a female specimen.

My guides were now of opinion that the animals must be so thoroughly
alarmed that any further pursuit would be almost certainly in vain, so
we made our way back as best we could in a zigzag course to my main
camp, and reached it on the morning of the fourth day.

Most elephant-hunts in Equatorial Africa run on just such lines as
these and with the same result, yet they are among the finest and most
interesting experiences that any sportsman or naturalist can hope
to have. The wealth of natural life that had been given to my eyes
during those three days was simply overpowering. But if you have once
succeeded in getting within range of an African elephant, all other
kinds of wild animals seem small fry to you. You have the same kind
of feeling that the German sportsman has when after a _Brunft_
stag--he cares for no other kind of game; he has no mind for anything
but the stag. But the elephant fever attacks you out in Africa even
more virulently than the stag fever here at home.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

A HERD OF HARTEBEESTS (_BUBALIS COKEI_, Gthr.).]

[Illustration: HARTEBEESTS WITH YOUNG.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

WATERBUCK.]

Yet it is fine to remember one’s ordinary shooting expeditions in the
tropics. You need some luck, of course--the velt is illimitable and
the game scattered all over it. But if the rains have just ceased, if
you have secured good guides, if you yourself are equal to facing all
the hardships, then indeed it is a wonderful experience. There is no
doubt about it--you have to be ready for a combination of every kind
of strain and exertion. You can stand it for a day perhaps, or two or
three, but you must then take a rest. The man who has gone through with
this may venture on the experiment of pursuing elephants for several
days together. He will, I think, bear me out in saying that until you
have done that also you do not know the limits of endurance and fatigue.

The most glorious hour in the African sportsman’s life is that in
which he bags a bull-elephant. When he succeeds in bringing the animal
down at close range in a thicket such as I have so often described,
his heart beats with delight--it is just a chance in such cases what
your fate may be. Wide as are the differences in the views taken by
experienced travellers and by other writers in regard to African sport
in general, they are all agreed that elephant-hunting is the most
dangerous task a man can set himself. The hunting of Indian or Ceylon
elephants--save in the case of a “rogue”--is not to be compared with
the African sport as I understand it. I do not mean the easy-going,
pleasure-excursion kind of hunt ordinarily gone in for in the African
bush, but a one-man expedition, in which the sportsman sets himself
deliberately to bag his game single-handed. That, indeed, is my idea
of how one should go after big game in such countries as Africa in all
circumstances whatever.

Barely as many as a dozen elephants have fallen to my rifle. Some of
these I killed in order to try and get hold of a young specimen which
I might bring to Europe in good condition--a desire which I have long
cherished, but which has not yet been fulfilled. Others I killed so
that I might present them to our museums.

There were immense numbers of other bull-elephants that I might have
shot, and that are probably now roaming the velt, but that I had to
spare because I was more intent upon photographing them. My photographs
are, however, ample compensation to me. While, too, it is pleasant
to me to reflect that I have left untouched so many elephants that
came within easy range, I hope, none the less, some day to bring down
a specimen adorned with a really splendid pair of tusks. This is an
aspiration not often realised by African sportsmen, even when they have
been hunting for half a lifetime. Elephants with tusks weighing nearly
five hundred pounds, like those in our illustration, are extremely
rare--even in earlier times they were met with perhaps once in a
hundred years.

The hunting of an African elephant, I repeat in conclusion, is a source
of the greatest delight to the sportsman, for even if he does not
bag his game he is well rewarded for his pains by all the interest and
excitement of the chase. But no one who has not himself gone through
with it can estimate what it involves. Even with the most perfected
equipment in regard to arms, it is often a matter of luck whether you
kill the animal outright and on the spot.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

THE SKINNING OF AN ELEPHANT. THIS SPECIMEN IS NOW IN THE NATURAL
HISTORY MUSEUM, BERLIN.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

PREPARING TO SKIN AN ELEPHANT.]

An experience I had in the Berlin Zoological Gardens illustrates this.
I was called in to dispatch a huge bull-elephant which had to be
killed, and which had rejected all the forms of poison that had been
administered to it. In order to give it a quick and painless end I
selected a newly invented elephant-rifle, calibre 10·75, loaded with 4
gr. of smokeless powder and a steel-capped bullet. On reflection the
steel cap seemed to me too dangerous in the circumstances, so I had
it filed off. I shall allow Professor Schmalz to describe what now
happened: “The first shot entered the skin between the second and third
ribs, and then simply went into splinters. It did no serious damage to
the interior organs, and a stag thus wounded would merely take madly
to flight. A piece of the cap reached the lung, but only a single
splinter had penetrated, causing a slight flow of blood. The second
shot was excellently placed, namely just below the root of the lung.
It lacerated both the lung arteries and both the bronchial, and thus
caused instant death.”

The fact that, with such a charge, a bullet fired at a distance of
less than four yards should have gone into splinters in this way says
more than one could in a long disquisition, and serves to explain the
secret of many a mishap in the African wilderness.[4]

[Illustration: A MISSIONARY’S DWELLING NEAR KILIMANJARO IN WHICH I
STAYED SEVERAL TIMES AS GUEST.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

HEAD OF A BULL-ELEPHANT KILLED BY THE AUTHOR. NOW IN THE NATURAL
HISTORY MUSEUM, BERLIN.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

A FINE SPECIMEN OF A BULL-ELEPHANT KILLED BY THE AUTHOR.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

    SOME AFRICAN TROPHIES. 1. SPLINTER FROM AN ELEPHANT-TUSK BROKEN
    OFF IN A ROCKY REGION. 2. PORTION OF A TREE BRANCH WHICH I FOUND
    STUCK IN THE JAW OF A CAPTURED LION. 3. PORTION OF A POISONED
    ARROW WHICH HAD BEEN STICKING IN AN ELEPHANT THAT I WAS TRACKING;
    ARROW OF THE KIND USED BY THE WAKAMBA HUNTERS. 4. NICKEL BULLET,
    PUT OUT OF SHAPE, WITH WHICH I BROUGHT DOWN AN ELEPHANT. 5. IRON
    BULLET USED BY A NATIVE. 6. POISONED DART FOUND STICKING IN THE
    WING OF A MARABOU.]



[Illustration: BLACK-HEADED HERONS (_ARDEA MELANOCEPHALA_. VIG.
Childr.).]

X

Rhinoceros-hunting


Many sportsmen of to-day have no idea what numbers of rhinoceroses
there used to be in Germany in those distant epochs when the
cave-dweller waged war with his primitive weapons against all the
mighty animals of old--a war that came in the course of the centuries
to take the shape of our modern sport.

The visitor to the zoological gardens, who knows nothing of “big
game,” finds it hard perhaps to think of the great unwieldy “rhino”
in this capacity. Yet I am continually being asked to tell about
other experiences of my rhinoceros-hunting. I have given some already
in _With Flashlight and Rifle_. Let me, then, devote this chapter
to an account of some expeditions after the two-horned African
rhinoceros--one of the most interesting, powerful, and dangerous beasts
still living.

Rhinoceroses used to be set to fight with elephants in the arena in
Rome in the time of the Emperors. It is interesting to note that,
according to what I have often heard from natives, the two species
have a marked antipathy to each other. It is recorded that both Indian
and African rhinoceroses used to be brought to Europe alive. In our
own days they are the greatest rarities in the animal market, and must
be almost worth their weight in gold. Specimens of the three Indian
varieties are now scarcely to be found, while the huge white rhinoceros
of South Africa is almost extinct. The two-horned rhinoceros of East
Africa is the only variety still to be met with in large numbers, and
this also is on its way swiftly to extermination.

The kind of hunt I am going to tell of belongs to quite a primeval
type, such as but few modern sportsmen have taken part in. But it will
be a hunt with modern arms. It must have been a still finer thing to go
after the great beast, as of old, spear in hand. That is a feeling I
have always had. There is too little romance, too much mechanism, about
our equipment. In this respect there is a great change from the kind of
hunting known to antiquity.

It was strength pitted against strength then. Strength and skill and
swiftness were what won men the day. Later came a time when mankind
learnt a lesson from the serpent and improved on it, discharging
poisoned darts from tightened bow-strings. The slightest wound from
them brought death. Then there was another step in advance, and the
hunter brought down his game at even greater ranges with bullets
of lead and steel. A glance through the telescopic sight affixed to the
perfected rifle of to-day, a gentle pressure with the finger, and the
rhinoceros, all unconscious of its enemy in the distance, meets its end.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

RHINOCEROS HEADS.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

RHINOCEROS HEADS.]

But there is at least more danger and more romance for the modern
hunter in this unequal strife when it takes place in a wilderness
where bush and brushwood enforce a fight at close quarters. Then, if
he doesn’t kill his beast outright on the spot, or if he has to deal
with several at a time, the bravest man’s heart will have good reason
to beat fast.

Now for our start.

We make our way up the side of a hill with the first rays of the
tropical sun striking hot already on the earth. The country is wild,
the ascent is difficult, and we have to dodge now this way, now that,
to extricate ourselves from the rocky valley into which we have got.
The vegetation all around us is rank and strange; strong grass up to
our knees, and dense creepers and thorn-bushes retard our progress.
Here are the mouldering trunks of giant trees uprooted by the wind,
there living trees standing strong and unshaken. But as we advance
we come gradually to a more arid stretch, and green vegetation gives
place to a rocky region, broken into crevices and chasms. Here we find
the rock-badger in hundreds. But the leaders have given their warning
sort of whistle, and they are all off like lightning. It may be quite
a long time before they reappear from the nooks and crannies to which
they have fled. Lizards share these localities with them, and seem to
exchange warnings of coming danger. A francolin flies up in front of us
with a clatter of wings, reminding one very much of our own beautiful
heath-cock. The “cliff-springer” that miniature African chamois, one
of the loveliest of all the denizens of the wilderness, sometimes puts
in an appearance too. It is a mystery how it manages to dart about
from ridge to ridge as lightly as an india-rubber ball. If you examine
through your field-glasses, you discover to your astonishment that they
do not rest on their dainty hoofs like others of their kind, nor can
they move about on them in the same fashion. They can only stand on the
extreme points of them. It looks almost as though nature were trying
to free a mammal from its bonds to mother earth, when you see the
“cliff-springer” fly through the air from rock to rock. It would not
astonish you to find that it had wings. Now here, now there, you hear
its note of alarm, and then catch sight of it. It would be difficult
to descry these animals at all, only that there are generally several
of them together.... Deep-trodden paths of elephants and rhinoceroses
cut through the wooded wilderness; paths used also by the heavy elands,
which are fitted for existence alike in the deep valleys and high up
on the highest mountain. I myself found their tracks at a height of
over 6,000 feet, and so have all African mountain-climbers worthy of
the name, from Hans Meyer, the first man to ascend Kilimanjaro, down to
Uhlig, who, on the occasion of his latest expedition up to the Kibo,
noted the presence of this giant among antelopes at a height of 15,000
feet.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

AN ELAND BULL (_OREAS LIVINGSTONI_, Sclat.). I MANAGED TO PREPARE
THIS ANIMAL’S SKIN SUCCESSFULLY, AND IT MAY NOW BE SEEN IN FLAWLESS
CONDITION IN THE BERLIN NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM. ]

It is strange to contrast the general disappearance of big game in all
other parts of the earth with their endless profusion in those regions
which the European has not yet opened out. I feel that it sounds almost
incredible when I talk of having sighted hundreds of rhinoceroses with
my own eyes: incredible to the average man, I mean, not to the student
of such matters. Not until the mighty animal has been exterminated will
the facts of its existence--in what numbers it throve, how it lived and
how it came to die--become known to the public through its biographer.
We have no time to trouble about the living nowadays.

For weeks I had not hunted a rhinoceros--I had had enough of them. I
had need of none but very powerful specimens for my collection, and
these were no more to be met with every day than a really fine roebuck
in Germany. It is no mean achievement for the German sportsman to bag
a really valuable roebuck. There are too many sportsmen competing for
the prize--there must be more than half a million of us in all!

It is the same with really fine specimens of the two-horned
bull-rhinoceros. It is curious, by the way, to note that, as with so
many other kinds of wild animals, the cow-rhinoceros is furnished
with longer and more striking-looking horns than the bull, though the
latter’s are thicker and stronger, and in this respect more imposing.
The length of the horns of a full-grown cow-rhinoceros in East
Africa is sometimes enormous--surpassed only by those of the white
rhinoceroses of the South, now almost extinct. The British Museum
contains specimens measuring as much as 53½ inches. I remember well
the doubts I entertained about a 54-inch horn which I saw on sale in
Zanzibar ten years ago, and was tempted to buy. Such a growth seemed
to me then incredible, and several old residents who ought to have
known something about it fortified me in my belief that the Indian
dealer had “faked” it somehow, and increased its length artificially.
It might still be lying in his dimly lit shop instead of forming part
of my collection, only that on my first expedition into the interior
I saw for myself other rhinoceroses with horns almost as long, and on
returning to Zanzibar at once effected its purchase. A second horn of
equal length, but already half decayed when it was found on the velt,
came into my possession through the kindness of a friend. I myself
killed one cow-rhinoceros with very remarkable horns, but not so long
as these.

There is something peculiarly formidable and menacing about these
weapons of the rhinoceros. Not that they really make him a more
dangerous customer for the sportsman to tackle, but they certainly give
that impression. The thought of being impaled, run through, by that
ferocious dagger is by no means pleasant.

In something of the same way, a stag with splendid antlers, a great
maned lion, or a tremendous bull-elephant sends up the sportsman’s zest
to fever-pitch.

It is astonishing how the colossal beast manages to plunge its way
through the densest thicket despite the hindrance of its great horns.
It does so by keeping its head well raised, so that the horn almost
presses against the back of its massive neck, very much after the
style of our European stag. But it is a riddle, in both cases, how they
seem to be impeded so little.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

AN ELAND, JUST BEFORE I GAVE IT A FINISHING SHOT.]

I felt nearly sure that I could count on finding some gamesome old
rhinoceroses up among the mountains, and my Wandorobo guides kept
declaring that I should see some extraordinary horns. They were not
wrong.

I strongly advise any one who contemplates betaking himself to the velt
after big game to set about the enterprise in the true sporting spirit,
making of it a really genuine contest between man and beast--a genuine
duel--not an onslaught of the many upon the one. Many English writers
support me in this, and they understand the claims of sport in this
field as well as we Germans do at home. The English have instituted
clearly defined rules which no sportsman may transgress. In truth, it
is a lamentable thing to see the _Sonntagsjäger_ importing himself with
his unaccustomed rifle amid the wild life of Africa!

I shall always look back with satisfaction to the great Schöller
expedition which I accompanied for some time in 1896. Not one of the
natives, not one of the soldiers, ventured to shoot a single head of
game throughout that expedition, even in those regions which until
then had never been explored by Europeans. The most rigid control was
exercised over them from start to finish. I have good grounds for
saying that this spirit has prevailed far too little as a general thing
in Africa.

I have invariably maintained discipline among my own followers, and
they have always submitted to it. How difficult it is to deal with
them, however, may be gathered from the following incident which I find
recorded in my diary.

On the occasion of my last journey, a black soldier, an Askari, had
been told off to attach himself for a time to my caravan. Presently
I had to send him back to the military station at Kilimanjaro with a
message. A number of my followers accompanied him, partly to fetch
goods, etc., from my main camp, partly on various other missions that
had to be attended to before we advanced farther into the velt. The
Askari was provided, as usual, with a certain number of cartridges.
When my men returned, a considerable time afterwards, I discovered
quite accidentally that one of them bore marks on his body of having
been brutally lashed with a whip. His back was covered with scars
and open wounds. After the long-suffering manner of his kind, he had
said nothing to me about it until his condition was revealed to me by
chance--for, as he was only one of the hundred and fifty attached to
my expedition, I might never have noticed it. It transpired that not
long after he had set out the Askari, against orders, had shot big game
and, among other animals, had bagged a giraffe, whose head--a valuable
trophy--he had forced my bearers to carry for him to the fort. The
particular bearer in question had quite rightly refused, whereupon
the Askari had thrashed him most barbarously with a hippopotamus-hide
whip--a _sjambok_. I need hardly say that he was suitably punished for
this when I lodged a formal complaint against him. Had it not been for
his ill-treatment of my bearer, however, I should never have heard of
the Askari’s shooting the giraffe, for he had succeeded in terrorising
all the men into silence.

[Illustration: AN ELAND BULL, THE LEADER OF A HERD WHICH AT THE MOMENT
OF THIS PHOTOGRAPH WAS IN CONCEALMENT BEHIND THE THORN-BUSHES.]

Now we move onwards, following the rhinoceros-tracks up the
hill-slopes, where they are clearly marked, and in among the steep
ridges, until they elude us for a while in the wilderness. Presently we
perceive not merely a hollowed-out path wrought in the soft stone by
the tramplings of centuries, but also fresh traces of rhinoceroses that
must have been left this very day. We are in for a first-rate hunt.

We have reached the higher ranges of the hills and are looking down
upon the extensive, scantily-wooded slopes. Are we going to bag our
game to-day?

I could produce an African day-book made up of high hopes and
disappointments. Not, indeed, that returning empty-handed meant
ill-humour and disappointment, or that I expected invariable good luck.
But a day out in the tropics counts for at least a week in Europe, and
I like to make the most of it. Then, too, I had to reserve my hunting
for those hours when I could give myself up to it body and soul. How
often while I have been on the march at the head of heavily laden
caravans have the most tempting opportunities presented themselves
to me, only to be resisted--fine chances for the record-breaker and
irresponsible shot, but merely tantalising to me!

On we go through the wilderness, still upwards. I am the first European
in these regions, which have much of novelty for my eyes. The great
lichen-hung trees, the dense jungle, the wide plains, all charm me.
The heat becomes more and more oppressive, and I and my followers are
beginning to feel its effects. We are wearying for a halt, but we must
lose no time, for we have still a long way before us, whether we return
to our main camp or press onwards to that wooded hollow yonder, four
hours’ march away, there to spend the night.

A vast panorama has been opening out in front of us. We have reached
the summit of this first range of hills, and are looking down on
another deep and extensive valley. My field-glasses enable me to descry
in the far distance a herd of eland making their way down the hill, and
two bush-buck grazing hard by a thicket. But these have no interest
for us to-day: we are in pursuit of bigger game. Suddenly, an hour
later, my men become excited. “Pharu, bwana!” they whisper to me from
behind, pointing down towards a group of acacia trees on a plateau a
few hundred paces away. True enough, there are two rhinoceroses. I
perceive first one, then the other lumbering along, looking, doubtless,
for a suitable resting-place. My field-glasses tell me that they are
a pair, male and female, both furnished with big horns. Now for my
plan of campaign. I have to make a wide circuit which will take me
twenty-five minutes, moving over difficult ground.

Arrived at the point in question, I rejoice to see that the animals
have not got far away from where I first spied them. The wind is
favourable to me here, and there is little danger at this hour of its
suddenly veering round. I examine my rifle carefully. It seems all
right. My men crouch down by my order, and I advance stealthily alone.

I am under a spell now. The rest of the world has vanished from my
consciousness. I look neither to right nor left. I have no thought for
anything but my quarry and my gun. What will the beasts do? Will this
be my last appearance as a hunter of big game? Is the rhinoceros family
at last to have its revenge?

I have another look at them through my field-glasses. The bull has
really fine horns; the cow good enough, but nothing special. I decide
therefore to secure him alone if possible, for his flesh will provide
food in plenty for my men. On I move, as noiselessly as possible, the
wind still in my favour. Up on these heights the rhinoceroses miss
their watchful friends the ox-peckers, so faithful to them elsewhere,
to put them on their guard.

Often have my followers warned me of the presence of a “Ndege baya”--a
bird of evil omen. Many of the African tribes seem to share the old
superstitions of the Romans in regard to birds. Certainly one cannot
help being impressed by the way in which the ox-peckers suddenly
whizz through the air whenever one gets within range of buffalo or
hippopotami.

The unexpected happens. The two huge beasts--how, I cannot tell--have
become aware of my approach. As though moved by a common impulse, they
swing round and stand for a moment motionless, as though carved in
stone, their heads turned towards me.... They are two hundred paces
away. Now I must show myself. Two things can happen: either they will
both come for me full pelt, or else they will seek safety in flight.
An instant later they are thundering down on me in their unwieldy
fashion, but at an incredible pace. These are moments when your life
hangs by a thread. Nothing can save you but a well-aimed bullet. This
time my bullet finds its billet. It penetrates the neck of the leading
animal--the cow, as always is the case--which, tumbling head foremost,
just like a hare, drops as though dead. A wonderful sight, lasting but
a second. The bull pulls up short, hesitates a moment, then swerves
round, and with a wild snort goes tearing down the hill and out of
sight. I keep my rifle levelled still at the female rhinoceros, for
I have known cases when an animal has got up again suddenly, though
mortally wounded, and done damage. But on this occasion the
precaution proves needless. The bullet has done its work, and I become
the possessor of two very fair specimens of rhinoceros horns.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

    RHINOCEROSES SHED THEIR HORNS FROM TIME TO TIME AND DEVELOP NEW
    ONES. THE COW-RHINOCEROS IN THIS PHOTOGRAPH HAD SHED BOTH OF
    HERS. THE RHINOCEROS WHICH I BROUGHT HOME AND PRESENTED TO THE
    BERLIN ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS HAS RENEWED HER FRONT HORN SEVERAL
    TIMES.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

A GOOD SPECIMEN.]

It was scarcely to be imagined that in the course of this same day
I was to get within range of eight more rhinoceroses. It is hard to
realise what numbers of them there are in these mountainous regions.
It is a puzzle to me that this fact has not been proclaimed abroad in
sporting books and become known to everybody. But then, what did we
know, until a few years ago, of the existence of the okapi in Central
Africa? How much do we know even now of its numbers? For that matter,
who can tell us anything definite as to the quantities of walruses in
the north, or the numbers of yaks in the Thibetan uplands, or of elks
and of bears in the impenetrable Alaskan woods?

It seems to be the fate of the larger animals to be exterminated by
traders who do not give away their knowledge of the resources of the
hunting regions which they exploit. English and American authors, among
them so high an authority as President Roosevelt, bear me out in this.
I remember reading as a boy of a traveller, a fur-trader, who happened
to hear of certain remote northern islands well stocked with the wild
life he wanted. He kept the information to himself, and made a fortune
out of the game he bagged; but when he quitted the islands their entire
fauna had been wiped out. The same thing is now happening in Africa.
Our only clue to the extent of the slaughtering of elephants now being
carried on is furnished by the immense quantities of ivory that come
on the market. So it is, too, with the slaughtering of whales and seals
for the purposes of commerce. It is with them as with so many men--we
shall begin to hear of them when they are dead.

But to come back to our rhinoceroses. Not long before sunset I saw
another animal grazing peacefully on a ridge just below me, apparently
finding the short grass growing there entirely to his taste. The
monstrous outlines of the great beast munching away in among the jagged
rocks stood out most strikingly in the red glow of the setting sun.
It would have been no good to me to shoot him, for all my thoughts
were set on finding a satisfactory camping-place for the night. Soon
afterwards I came suddenly upon two others right in my path--a cow
with a young one very nearly full grown. In a moment my men, who were
a little behind, had skedaddled behind a ridge of rocks. I myself
just managed to spring aside in time to escape the cow, putting a
great boulder between us. Round she came after me, and I realised as
never before the degree to which a man is handicapped by his boots in
attempting thus to dodge an animal. It was a narrow escape, but in this
case also a well-aimed bullet did the trick. We left the body where it
lay, intending to come back next morning for the horns. Some minutes
later, after scurrying downhill for a few hundred paces as quickly as
we could, so as to avoid being overtaken by the night, we met three
other rhinoceroses which evidently had not heard my shot ring out.
They were standing on a grassy knoll in the midst of the valley which
we had now reached, and did not make off until they saw us. By the
stream, near which we pitched our camp for the night, we came upon two
more among some bushes, and yet another rushing through a thicket which
we had to traverse on our way to the waterside. In the night several
others passed down the deep-trodden path to the stream, fortunately
heralding their approach by loud, angry-sounding snorts.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

A SNAPSHOT AT TWENTY PACES WITH A HAND-CAMERA, WHICH I HAD TO THROW
AWAY THE NEXT SECOND, FOR THE “RHINO” MADE FOR ME AND ONLY TURNED ASIDE
WHEN IT HAD GOT WITHIN THREE PACES OF ME!]

Many such nights have I spent out in the wild; but I would not now go
through with such experiences very willingly, for I have heard tell
of too many mishaps to other travellers under such conditions. That
seasoned Rhenish sportsman Niedieck, for instance, in his interesting
book _Mit der Büchse in fünf Weltteilen_, gives a striking account of
a misadventure he met with in the Sudan, near the banks of the Nile.
In very similar circumstances his camp was attacked by elephants
during the night; he himself was badly injured, and one of his men
nearly killed. This danger in regions where rhinoceroses or elephants
are much hunted is by no means to be underestimated. Rather it should
be taken to heart. According to the same writer, the elephants in
Ceylon sometimes “go for” the travellers’ rest-houses erected by the
Government and destroy them. These things have brought it home to
me that I was in much greater peril of my life during those night
encampments of mine on the velt and in primeval forests than I realised
at the time.

In those parts of East Africa there is a tendency to imagine that a
zareba is not essential to safety, and that a camp-fire serves all
right to frighten lions away. It is a remarkable comment on this that
over a hundred Indians employed on the Uganda Railway should have
been seized by lions. In other parts of Africa even the natives are
reluctant to go through the night unprotected by a zareba, because
they know that lions when short of other prey are apt to attack human
beings, and neither the hunter nor his camp-fire have any terrors for
them.

However that may be, the true sportsman and naturalist in the tropics
will continue to find himself obliged to encamp as best he may _à la
belle étoile_, trusting to his lucky star to protect him as he sinks
wearily to sleep.

       *       *       *       *       *

The long caravan is again on the move, like a snake, over the velt.
Word has come to me that at a distance of a few days’ march there
has been a fall of rain. As by a miracle grass has sprung up, and
plant-life is reborn, trees and bushes have put out new leaves, and
immense numbers of wild animals have congregated in the region.
Thither we are making our way, over stretches still arid and barren.
Watering-places are few and far between and hidden away. But we know
how to find them, and hard by one of them I have to pitch my camp for
a time.

As we go we see endless herds of animals making for the same
goal--zebras, gnus, oryx antelopes, hartebeests, Grant’s gazelles,
impallahs, giraffes, ostriches, as well as numbers of rhinoceroses, all
drawn as though by magic to the region of the rain.

With my taxidermist Orgeich I march at the head of my caravan. My
camera has to remain idle, for once again, as so often happens, we get
no sun. It would be useless to attempt snapshots in such unfavourable
light.

[Illustration: HOW ONE OF MY MEN SOUGHT SHELTER WHEN THE RHINOCEROS
CAME FOR US.]

Suddenly, at last, the entire aspect of the velt undergoes a change,
and we have got into a stretch of country which has had a monopoly
of the downfall. It is cut off quite perceptibly from the parched
districts all around, and its fresh green aspect is refreshing and
soothing to the eye. On and on we march for hour after hour, the wealth
of animal life increasing as we go. Early this morning I had noted two
rhinoceroses bowling along over the velt. They had had a bath and were
gleaming and glistening in the sun.

Now we descry a huge something, motionless upon the velt, looking at
first like the stump of a massive tree or like a squat ant-hill, but
turning out on closer investigation to be a rhinoceros. It may seem
strange that one can make any mistake even at one’s first sight of the
animal, but every one who has gone after rhinoceroses much must have
had the same astonishing or alarming experience.

In this case we have to deal with an unusually large specimen--a
bull. It seems to be asleep. My sporting instincts are aroused. My
men halt and crouch down upon the ground. I hold a brief colloquy
with Orgeich. He also gets to the rear. I advance towards the
rhinoceros over the broken ground between us--the wind favouring me,
and a few parched-looking bushes serving me as cover. I get nearer
and nearer--now I am only a hundred and fifty paces off, now only
a hundred. The great beast makes no stir--it seems in truth to be
asleep. Now I have got within eighty paces, now sixty. Between me and
my adversary there is nothing but three-foot-high parched shrubs,
quite useless as a protection. Ah! now he makes a move. Up goes his
mighty head, suddenly all attention. My rifle rings out. Spitting
and snorting, down he comes upon me in the lumbering gallop I have
learnt to know so well. I fire a second shot, a third, a fourth. It
is wonderful how quickly one can send off bullet after bullet in such
moments. Now he is upon me, and I give him a fifth shot, _à bout
portant_. In imagination I am done for, gashed by his great horn and
flung into the air. I feel what a fool I was to expose myself in this
way. A host of such impressions and reflections flash through my brain.

[Illustration: A RHINOCEROS IN THE DRY SEASON, ITS BODY EMACIATED BY
THE SCANTINESS OF GRAZING-GROUNDS AND DRINKING-PLACES.]

But, as it turns out, my last hour has not yet come. On receipt of my
fifth bullet my assailant swerves round and lays himself open to my
sixth just as he decides to take flight. Off he speeds now, never to
be seen again, though we spend an hour trying to mark him down--a task
which it is the easier for us to undertake in that he has fled in the
direction in which we have to continue our march.

Orgeich, in his good-humoured way, remarks drily, “That was a near
thing.”

Such “near things” may fall to the lot of the African hunter, however
perfectly he may be equipped.

On another occasion, two rhinoceroses that I had not seen until that
moment made for me suddenly. In trying to escape I tripped over a
moss-covered root of a tree, and fell so heavily on my right hip that
at first I could not get up again. Both the animals rushed close by me,
Orgeich and my men only succeeding in escaping also behind trees at the
last moment.

       *       *       *       *       *

To descry one or two rhinoceroses grazing or resting in the midst of
the bare velt and to stalk them all by yourself, or with a single
follower to carry a rifle for you, is, I really think, as fascinating
an experience as any hunter can desire. At the same time it is one of
the most dangerous forms of modern sport. An English writer remarks
with truth that even the bravest man cannot always control his senses
on such occasions--that he is apt to get dazed and giddy. And the
slightest unsteadiness in his hand may mean his destruction. He has to
advance a long distance on all fours, or else wriggle along on his
stomach like a serpent, making the utmost use of whatever cover offers,
and keeping note all the time of the direction of the wind. He has to
keep on his guard all the time against poisonous snakes. And he has to
trust to his hunter’s instinct as to how near he must get to his quarry
before he fires. I consider that a distance of more than a hundred
paces is very hazardous--above all, if you want to kill outright. I am
thinking, of course, of the sportsman who is hunting quite alone.

[Illustration:

    PIECE OF VERY HARD STONE FROM THE SIRGOI MOUNTAIN IN BRITISH
    EAST AFRICA, PRESENTED TO ME BY ALFRED KAISER. RHINOCEROSES WHET
    THEIR HORNS AGAINST THIS KIND OF STONE, MAKING ITS SURFACE QUITE
    SMOOTH.]


To-day I am to have an unlooked-for experience. A number of eland have
attracted my attention. I follow them through the long grass, just as
I did that time in 1896 when the flock of pearl-hens buzzed over me
and I started the two rhinoceroses which nearly “did for” me.[5] These
antelopes claim my undivided attention. The country is undulating in
its formation, and my men are all out of sight. I am quite alone, rifle
in hand. The animals make off to the left and in amidst the high grass.
I stand still and watch them. It would be too far to have a shot at
the leader of the herd, so I merely follow in their tracks, crouching
down. Now I have to get across a crevice. But as I am negotiating it
and penetrating the higher grass on the opposite slope, suddenly,
fifty paces in front of me, I perceive a huge dark object in among the
reeds--a rhinoceros.

It has not become aware of me yet, nor of the peril awaiting it. It
sits up, turned right in my direction. Now there is no going either
forwards or backwards for me. The grass encumbers my legs--the old
growth (spared by the great fires that sometimes ravage the whole
velt between two rainy seasons) mingling with the new into an
inextricable tangle. Such moments are full of excitement. It is quite
on the cards that a second rhinoceros--perhaps a third--will now turn
up. Who knows? Moreover, I have absolutely no inducement to bag the
specimen now before my eyes--its horns are not of much account. I try
cautiously to retreat, but my feet are entangled and I slip. Instantly
I jump up again--the rhinoceros has heard the noise of my fall and is
making a rush for me, spitting and snorting. It won’t be easy to hit
him effectively, but I fire. As my rifle rings out I hear suddenly
the singing notes like a bird in the air above, clear and resonant,
and I seem to note the impact of the bullet. Next instant I see the
rhinoceros disappearing over the undulating plain.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

RHINOCEROSES OFTEN REMAIN IN THIS SITTING POSTURE FOR QUITE A LONG
TIME.]

I conclude that the bullet must have struck one of his horns and been
turned aside, and that it startled the beast and caused him to abandon
his attack.

       *       *       *       *       *

But there are yet other ways in which you may be surprised by a
rhinoceros. I had pitched my camp by the Pangani, in a region which at
the time of Count Telekis’ expedition, some years before, was a swamp.
Its swampy condition lasts only during the rainy season, but I found
my camping-place to be very unsatisfactory and unhealthy. I set out
therefore with a few of my men to find a better position somewhere on
dryer land, if possible shaded by trees, and at a spot where the river
was passable--a good deal to ask for in the African bush. For hours we
pursued our search through “boga” and “pori,” but the marshy ground did
not even enable us to get down to the river-side. Endless morasses of
reeds enfolded us, in whose miry depths the foot sinks even in the dry
weather, in which the sultry heat enervates us, shut in as we are by
the rank growth that meets above our heads as we grope through it. At
last we reach some solid earth, and it looks as though here, beneath
some sycamores, we have found a better camping place. Deep-trodden
paths lead down to the waterside. We follow them through the brushwood,
I leading the way, and thus reach the stream. The rush and roar of the
river resounds in our ears, and we catch the notes, too, of birds.
Suddenly, right in front of me, the ground seems to quicken into life.
My first notion is that it must be a gigantic crocodile; but no, it is
a rhinoceros which has just been bathing, and which now, disturbed,
is glancing in our direction and about to attack us or take to its
heels--who can say? Escape seems impossible. Clasping my rifle I
plunge back into the dense brushwood. But the tough viscous branches
project me forward again. Now for it. The rhinoceros is “coming for”
us. We tumble about in all directions. Some seconds later we exchange
stupefied glances. The animal has fled past us, just grazing us and
bespattering us with mud, and has disappeared from sight. How small we
felt at that moment I cannot express! In such moments you experience
the same kind of sensation as when your horse throws you or you are
knocked over by a motorcar. (Perhaps this latter simile comes home to
one best nowadays!) You realise, too, why the native hunters throw off
all their clothing when they are after big game. On such occasions
even the lightest covering hampers you, and perhaps endangers your life.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

A ROCK-POOL ON KILIMANJARO.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Countless thousands of two-horned rhinoceroses are still to the good in
East Africa. Yes, countless thousands! Captain Schlobach tells us that
he would encounter as many as thirty in one day in Karragwe in 1903
and 1904. Countless also are the numbers of horns which are secured
annually for sale on the coast. But how much longer will this state of
things continue? And the specimens of the white rhinoceros of South
Africa which adorn the museum in Cape Town and the private museum of
Mr. W. Rothschild (and which we owe to Coryndon and Varndell) are not
more valuable than the specimens also to be found in the museums of the
“black” rhinoceroses still extant in East Africa.

This view of the matter will perhaps receive attention fifty or a
hundred years hence.



[Illustration: MASAI KILLING A HYENA WITH THEIR CLUBS.]

XI

The Capturing of a Lion


Simba Station--Lion Station--is the name of a place on the Uganda
Railway, which connects the Indian Ocean with the Victoria-Nyanza. It
is situated near Nairobi, and the sound of its name recalls vividly to
my memory January 25, 1897, the great day when I came face to face with
three lions.

At that time no iron road led to the interior of the country; there
were neither railway lines nor telegraph wires to vibrate to the sound
of the voice of the monarch of the wilderness. But the white man was
soon to bar his path by day and night along the whole length of the
great railroad from lake to ocean.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

IN A BETTER TEMPER.]

[Illustration: A LION CUB IN A BAD TEMPER.]

“Lion Station” deserves its name, for in the vicinity of this spot over
a hundred Indian workmen have been seized by lions. To me this was no
surprise, for years before I had visited the region, and had done
full justice to its wilderness in my description of it. Some stir was
caused when a lion killed a European in one of the sleeping-cars at
night-time. In company with two others, the unfortunate man was passing
the night in a saloon carriage which had been shunted on to a siding.
One of the Europeans slept on the floor; as a precaution against
mosquitoes he had covered himself with a cloth. Another was lying on a
raised bunk. The lion seized the third man, who was sleeping near the
two others on a camp-bed, killed him, and carried him away. One of the
survivors, Herr Hübner--whose hunting-box, “Kibwezi,” in British East
Africa, has given many sportsmen an opportunity of becoming acquainted
with African game--gave me the following account of the incident: “The
situation was a critical one. The door through which the beast had
entered the compartment was rolled back. I saw the creature at about
an arm’s length from me, standing with its fore-paws on the bed of my
sleeping friend. Then a sudden snatch, followed by a sharp cry, told
me that all was over. The lion’s right paw had fallen on my friend’s
left temple, and its teeth were buried deep in his left breast near the
armpit. For the next two minutes a deathly stillness reigned. Then the
lion pulled the body from off the bed and laid it on the ground.” The
lion disappeared with the corpse into the darkness of the night. It was
killed shortly after, as might be expected.

Such scenes were probably more frequent in earlier days, when, in
the Orange Free State, a single hunter would kill five-and-twenty
lions. This was so even down to the year 1863, when impallah antelopes
(_Æpyceros suara_) had already become very rare in Bechuanaland, and in
Natal a keen control had to be instituted over the use of arms. Times
have changed. In the year 1899 much sensation was aroused by the fact
that a lion was killed near Johannesburg, and so far back as 1883 there
was quite a to-do over a lion that was seen and killed at Uppington, on
the Orange River. To Oswald and Vardon, well-known English hunters, as
well as to Moffat in Bechuanaland, the encountering of as many as nine
troops of lions in a day was quite an ordinary experience, and I still
found lions in surprising numbers in 1896 in German and British East
Africa. The practical records of the Anglo-German Boundary Commission
in East Africa, the observations made lately by Duke Adolf Friedrich of
Mecklenburg, and the evidence of many other trustworthy witnesses, have
confirmed these facts.

Although I do not think that lions, at least in districts where game is
very plentiful, are so dangerous as some would make out, yet I quite
agree with the statement made by H. A. Bryden that a lion-hunt made on
foot must be reckoned as one of the most dangerous sports there are.
The experience of an authority like Selous, who was seized by lions
during the night in the jungle, proves this.

In the region in which I had such success lion-hunting in 1897, there
were many mishaps. My friend the commandant of Port Smith in Kiku
uland, who was badly mauled by lions, has since had more than one
fellow-sufferer in this respect.

Captain Chauncy Hugh-Stegand, who, like Mr. Hall and so many other
hunters of other nationalities, had been several times injured by
rhinoceroses, was once within an ace of being killed by a lion which
he encountered by night, and which he shot at and pursued. Severely
wounded, and cured almost by a miracle, he had to return to England to
regain his health. “Such are the casualties of sportsmen in Central and
East Africa” is the dry comment of Sir Harry Johnston in his preface to
the English edition of my book _With Flashlight and Rifle_.

When I read about such adventures I call to mind vividly my own. I live
through them all again, and the magic of these experiences reawakes in
me.

To-day I would fain give the reader some account of the capturing of
lions. Not of captures made by means of a net, such as skilful and
brave men used in olden days to throw over the king of beasts, thus
disabling him and putting him in their power, but of a capture that was
not without its many intense and exciting moments.

Proud Rome saw as many as five hundred lions die in the arena in one
day. That was in the time of Pompey. Nearly two thousand years have
passed since then, and one may safely affirm that in the intervening
centuries very few lions have been brought to Europe that were caught
when full grown in the desert. The many lions that are brought over
to our continent are caught when young, and then reared, despite the
credence given sometimes to statements to the contrary.

It goes without saying that lions which have matured in confinement
cannot compare with the lions that have come to their full development
in the wilderness. Full-grown tigers and leopards are still nowadays
in some cases ensnared alive, and we can see them in our zoological
gardens in all their native wildness, and without any artificial
breeding, marked with the unmistakable stamp common to all wild
animals. It is an established fact that all captive monkeys show
symptoms after a certain time of rachitis. This is also the case
frequently with large felines. Lions brought up in captivity, however,
have far finer manes than wild ones.

Of course a certain number of the lions used in the arena-fights in
Rome were probably reared in the Roman provinces by some potentate. But
without doubt a large number were caught when fully grown by means of
nets, pitfalls, and other devices of which we have no precise details.

It seemed to me worth while to make a trial of the means which had once
been so successful. As I have already pointed out, there is a great
difference between a man who scours the wilderness solely as a hunter,
and one who makes practical investigations into the life of the animal
world. The sportsman may possibly sneer at the use of pitfalls. He
has no mind for anything but an exciting encounter with the lion, an
encounter which, thanks to modern means of warfare, is much easier for
the man than formerly.

[Illustration:

    ANOTHER OF MY HUNTING CARDS. THE RECORD OF MY LION-HUNT OF THE
    25TH JANUARY, 1897, ON THE ATHI PLAINS, WHEN I KILLED TWO LIONS
    AND A LIONESS (“LÖWE”=LION; LÖWIN=LIONESS).]

However, I have no wish whatever to lay down the law on this question
of the relative amount of danger involved in the shooting or the
trapping of lions. In many parts of Africa lion-hunting is a matter
of luck, above all where horses cannot live owing to the tsetse-fly,
and where dogs cannot be employed in large numbers (as used to be the
practice in South Africa) to mark down the lions until the hunter can
come. For example, we have it on good authority that the members of an
Anglo-Abyssinian Border Commission, aided by a pack of dogs, were able
to kill about twenty lions in the course of a year. But on entering
the region of Lake Rudolf all the dogs fall victims to the tsetse-fly.
Hunting with a pack of dogs is very successful. Dogs were used by the
three brothers Chudiakow, who, some nine years ago, near Nikolsk on
the Amur, in Manchuria, killed nearly forty Siberian tigers in one
winter[6]; whilst a hunting party near Vladivostock killed in one month
one hundred and twenty-five wild boars and seven tigers. Tigers are
so plentiful near Mount Ararat that a military guard of three men is
necessary during the night-watch to ward off these beasts of prey.[7]

My extraordinary luck on January 25, 1897, when I killed three
full-grown lions, fine big specimens, was of course a source of much
satisfaction to me. The little sketch-map of the day’s hunt which
accompanies this chapter shows the route I took on that memorable
occasion, and gives a good idea of the way in which I am accustomed to
keep a record of such things in my diary. I must add that my adventures
and narrow escapes while trying to secure lions have been of a kind
such as would be to the taste only of those most greedy of excitement.

In 1897 I had already observed that the lion was to be found in
great troops in thinly populated neighbourhoods, where he was at no
loss for prey and where he had not much to fear from man. As many
as thirty lions have been found together, and I myself have seen a
troop of fourteen with my own eyes. Other sportsmen have seen still
larger troops in East Africa. Quite recently Duke Adolf Friedrich of
Mecklenburg, who, on the occasion of his second African trip, made some
interesting observations in regard to lions, has borne witness to the
existence of very large troops. During the period in which I devoted
myself entirely to making photographic studies of wild life, and
consequently left undisturbed all the different species of game which
swarmed around my camp, I was sometimes surrounded for days, weeks
even, by great numbers of them, sometimes to an alarming extent. I have
already described how one night an old lion brushed close by my tent to
drink at the brook near which we were encamping, although it was just
as easy for him to drink from the same stream at any point for miles
to either side of us. On another occasion, as could be seen from the
tracks, lions approached our camp until within a few yards of it. When
I was photographing the lions falling upon the heifers and donkeys, as
described in _With Flashlight and Rifle_, I must have been, judging
by the tracks, surrounded by about thirty. I trapped a number of them,
either for our various museums, where specimens in various stages of
development and age are much needed, or to protect the natives who were
menaced by lions, or whose relatives had perhaps been seized by them.

[Illustration: AT BAY.]

It is the more necessary to have recourse to traps in that one may
spend years hunting in Equatorial East Africa without getting a single
chance of firing a shot at a lion. The hunt has to take place at night,
for the lion leads a nocturnal life, and makes off into inaccessible
thickets by day.

But what I was most anxious to do was to secure a specimen or two that
I could bring alive to Europe. To do this, I required the lightest
possible and most portable iron cages, which should yet be strong
enough to resist every effort of the imprisoned animals to get free.
This problem was solved for me as well as it could be by Professor
Heck, the Director of the Berlin Zoological Gardens. Yet even he
declared it to be impossible to make such cages under 330 lbs. in
weight. For the transport of one such cage the services of six bearers
would be necessary. I arranged for several such cages to be sent
oversea to Tanga, and took them thence into the interior. Thus I had
the assurance of keeping my captives in security, but first I had to
get hold of them without hurting them. By means of a modified form
of iron traps I was able to manage this eventually. Those who are
not acquainted with the difficulties of transport in countries where
everything has to be borne on men’s shoulders will hardly be able to
realise the straits to which one may be put. Thus I was much hampered,
when carrying back my first lion (which was unharmed save for a few
skin scratches), by a lack of bearers owing to famine and other causes.

[Illustration: STUDIES OF A TRAPPED LION AT CLOSE QUARTERS.]

I had found the tracks of a lioness with three quite little cubs. I
followed them for an hour over the velt--they then got lost in the
thick bush. As I had already observed the tracks of this little band
for several days, I naturally concluded that the old lioness was making
a stay in the neighbourhood. So I decided, as one of my heifers was
ill from the tsetse sickness and bound to die, to pitch my tent in the
neighbourhood and to bait a trap with the sick animal.

I found water at about an hour and a half’s distance from the spot
where I had observed the lion’s tracks. I was thus obliged to encamp
at this distance away. Later on in the evening, after much labour, I
succeeded in setting a trap in such a way that I had every reason to
hope for good results.

In the early hours of the following morning I started out, full of
hope, to visit my trap. Already in the distance I could see that my
heifer was still alive, and I immediately concluded that the lions had
sought the open. But it was not so, for to my surprise I presently
found fresh tracks of the old lioness and her cubs. Evidently she had
visited the trap, but had returned into the bush without taking any
notice of the easy prey. The lie of the land allowed me to read the
lion’s tracks imprinted into the ground as if in a book. They told
me that the cubs had at one point suddenly darted to one side, their
curiosity excited by a land-tortoise whose back was now reflecting the
rays of the sun, and which in the moonlight must have attracted their
attention. They had evidently amused themselves for a while with this
plaything, for the hard surface of the tortoise’s shell was marked with
their claws. Then they had returned to their mother. I concluded that
the old lioness was not hungry and had no more lust for prey--another
confirmation of the fact that lions, when sated, are not destructive.
This new proof seemed to me to be worth all the trouble I had taken.

The two following nights, to my disappointment, the lions approached my
heifer again without molesting it.

This was the more annoying because I had hoped by capturing the old
lioness to obtain possession of all the young cubs as well.

In this case, as in many others, the behaviour of the heifer was a
matter of great interest. As already remarked, in most cases I made use
of sick cows mortally afflicted by the tsetse-fly. In many districts in
German East Africa the tsetse-fly, which causes the dreadful sleeping
sickness in man, also makes it impossible to keep cattle except under
quite special conditions. This heifer, then, was already doomed to
a painful death through the tsetse illness, and the fate I provided
for it was more merciful, for the lion kills its prey by one single
powerful bite. I observed, moreover, that the bound animal took its
food quite placidly and showed no signs of unrest so long as the lion
came up to her peaceably, as in this case. This accorded entirely
with my frequent observations of the behaviour of animals towards
lions on the open velt. Antelopes out on the velt apparently take
very little notice of lions, though they hold themselves at a
respectful distance from them.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

    THIS LION, AN OLD ANIMAL WITH A FINE MANE, HAD DRAGGED AWAY THE
    IRON TRAP SOME DISTANCE. HE MADE FOR ME THE MOMENT I HAD TAKEN
    THIS PHOTOGRAPH AT NEAR RANGE, BUT THE TRAP IMPEDED HIS MOVEMENTS
    AND A WELL-PLACED BULLET PUT AN END TO HIM.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

CARRYING IN TRIUMPH TO MY CAMP A LION WHICH I HOPED TO BRING BACK WITH
ME TO EUROPE.]

In spite of my want of success, I decided to try my luck once more,
though the surroundings of my camp were not very alluring and game was
very scarce with the exception of a herd of ostriches, which for hours
together haunted the vicinity. I hoped this time the lioness would be
bagged. But no, I never came across her or her young again.

Instead, on the fourth morning, I found a good maned specimen--an old
male--at my mercy. Loud roars announced the fact of his capture to me
from afar. The first thing was to discover whether he was firmly held
by the iron, and also whether he was unhurt. I assured myself of both
these points after some time, with great trouble and difficulty, and,
needless to add, not without considerable danger. I leave the reader to
imagine for himself the state of mind in which one approaches the King
of Beasts in such circumstances. I can vouch for it that one does so
with a certain amount of respect for His Majesty.

The roaring of an enraged lion, once heard, is never to be forgotten.
It is kept up by my captive without intermission, a dull heavy rumble
suddenly swelling to a tremendous volume of sound. The expression
of its face and head, too, show fierce anger and threaten danger.
The terrible jaws now scrunch the branches within reach, now open
menacingly.

It was now necessary to free the lion from the trap and to bring it
into camp. It would take a week to get my cage, but meanwhile I
decided to fasten the animal by means of a strong chain and with a
triple yoke specially made for such a purpose in Europe.

But even the bravest of my men absolutely refused to obey my command.
It needed the greatest persistence to persuade some of them, at last,
to lend a helping hand to me and my assistant Orgeich. As usual they
required the stimulus of a good example. After some time I had, as can
be seen on pages 485 and 499, set up my photographic apparatus right in
front of the lion so as to take several photos of him at the distance
of a few paces.

[Illustration: A CAPTURED LIONESS, SNAPSHOTTED AT THE VERY MOMENT OF
BEING TRAPPED.]

Then we cut a few saplings about as thick as one’s arm, and with these
we tried to beat down the lion so as to secure him. At first this
did not succeed at all. I then had recourse to strong cord, which I
made into a lasso. It was wonderful, when I caught the head of the
prisoner in the noose, to see him grip it with his teeth and to watch
the thick rope fall to pieces as if cut with a pair of scissors after
a few quick, angry bites. During this trial I made a false step on the
smooth, grassy ground, so well known to African explorers, and was
within a hair’s breadth of falling into the clutches of the raging
beast had not my good taxidermist happily dragged me back. After
various further efforts, during which my people were constantly taking
fright, I at length succeeded in fastening the head as well as the paws
of the beast. With the help of the branches the body was laid prostrate
on the ground, a gag was inserted between the teeth, the prisoner was
released from the trap and, fastened to a tree-trunk, was carried into
camp.

[Illustration: A TRAPPED LION. I HEARD HIM ROARING AT A DISTANCE OF A
MILE AND A HALF.]

But what takes only a few words to describe involved hours of work.
It was a wonderful burden, and one not to be seen every day! In my
previous book I have already described how we carried a half-grown lion
in a similar manner, and I have given an illustration of the scene.
Unfortunately some of my best photographs, showing my bearers carrying
this full-grown lion, were lost while crossing a river.

I was full of delight at the thought of my captive as he would appear
in my encampment. But to my great chagrin the lion died in it quite
suddenly, evidently from heart failure. We could find no trace of any
wound.

There was something really moving at this issue to the struggle, in the
thought that I, using wile against strength, should have overpowered
and captured this noble beast only to break his heart!

This failure made me fear that I should never succeed in capturing
a lion by such methods. It seemed almost better to use a large
grating-trap in which it could be kept for several days and gradually
accustomed to the loss of its freedom. But this meant an expensive
apparatus which was quite beyond the funds of a private individual with
narrow means like myself. My efforts to capture lions by means of pits
dug by the natives were quite unsuccessful, because the lions always
found a way out.

A younger male lion which was entrapped lived for nearly a month
chained up in my camp. This one had hurt its paw when captured, and in
spite of every care a bad sore gradually festered. It wounded one of
my people very badly by ripping open a vein in his arm when he went to
feed it.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

FLASHLIGHT PHOTOGRAPH OF A LION. THE ANIMAL HAD MOVED SO SWIFTLY THAT
THE APPARATUS WAS NOT QUITE IN TIME TO TAKE IN ITS WHOLE BODY.]

Thus terminated my efforts to bring an old lion to Europe.

Much that is easy in appearance is troublesome in reality. Even when
the animal is overcome, the transportation of it to the coast is
accompanied by almost insuperable difficulties. It means something
to carry beast and cage, a burden amounting to something like eight
hundred pounds, right through the wilderness by means of bearers.
Even with the help of the Uganda Railway it has not been possible to
bring home a full-grown lion. I have repeatedly caught lions for this
purpose, but have always experienced ultimate failure.

Sometimes the animals would not return to the place where I had
tracked or sighted them, or would steer clear of the decoy. One often
meets with this experience in India with tigers, which are decoyed
in much the same way, and then shot from a raised stand. Interesting
information about the behaviour of tigers in such cases may be found
in the publications of English hunters, as well as in the very
interesting book on tropical sport by P. Niedieck, a German hunter of
vast experience. I might perhaps have succeeded on subsequent occasions
in transporting old lions, but I never had the strong cages at hand.
Now perhaps they are rusted and rotted, as well as the other implements
which I hid or buried on the velt, not having bearers enough to carry
them, and hoping to find them again later.

I had a most interesting adventure, once, with a lion on the right bank
of the Rufu River.

For several nights the continuous roaring of a lion had been heard in
the immediate vicinity of my camp. In spite of all my attempts to get
a sight of the beast by day I could not even find the slightest trace
of it. Moreover, the vegetation in the neighbourhood of the river was
not at all suitable for a lion-hunt. I decided to try my luck with a
trap. A very decrepit old donkey was used as a bait, and killed by the
lion the very first night. But to my disappointment the powerful beast
of prey had evidently killed the ass with one blow, and with incredible
strength had succeeded in dragging it off into the thicket without as
much as touching the trap. Very early the next morning I found the
tracks, which were clearly imprinted on the ground. Breathlessly I
followed up the trail step by step in the midst of thick growth which
only allowed me to see a few paces around me. I crept noiselessly
forward, followed by my gun-bearer, knowing that in all probability I
should come upon the lion.

The trail turned sharply to the left through some thick bushes. Now we
came to a spot where the thief had evidently rested with his spoil;
then the tracks led sharply to the right and went straight forward
without a pause.

We had been creeping forward on the sunlit sand like stealthy cats,
with every nerve and muscle taut, my people close behind me, I with my
rifle raised and ready to fire--when, suddenly, with a weird sort of
growl it leapt up right in front of us and was over the hard sand and
away. It is astonishing how the stampede of a lion reverberates even
in the far distance!

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

    PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN AT A DISTANCE OF ABOUT FIVE PACES OF A LION
    WHICH I CAPTURED ALIVE AND BROUGHT BACK TO CAMP--A SPECIMEN OF
    THE MANELESS LIONS OF THE MASAI VELT. SOME OF THE VERY OLD LIONS
    DEVELOP MANES EVEN IN THIS REGION, BUT NEVER TO THE EXTENT USUAL
    WITH LIONS IN CAPTIVITY, OR WITH THE ALMOST EXTINCT SPECIES OF
    THE ATLAS COUNTRY OR OF SOUTH AFRICA.]

[Illustration: MY PLUCKY TAXIDERMIST MANAGED TO GET THIS CAPTURED HYENA
UNHARMED INTO CAMP, PROTECTING HIMSELF WITH A BIG CUDGEL.]

A few steps further I came upon the remains of the ass. The lion had
gained the open when I got out of the brushwood. It was useless to
follow the tracks, for they led only to stony ground, where they would
be lost. Discouraged, I gave up the pursuit for the time, but only to
return a few hours later. Approaching very cautiously to the place
where I had left the remains of the donkey, we found they were no
longer there. The lion had fetched them away. We followed again, but to
my unspeakable disappointment with the same result as in the morning. I
managed this time, however, to get near the lion through the brushwood,
but he immediately took to flight again--when only a few yards from
me, though hidden by bushes. Perhaps he is still at large in this same
locality!

Lions--generally several of them together--killed my decoys on several
occasions without themselves getting caught. I once surprised a lion
and two lionesses at such a meal in the Njiri marshes, in June 1903.
Unfortunately the animals became aware of my approach, and now began
just such a chase as I had already successfully undertaken on January
25, 1897.[8]

I was able by degrees to gain on the satiated animals. A wonderful
memory that! Clear morning light, a sharp breeze from over the swamps,
the yellowish velt with its whitish incrustation of salt--a few bushes
and groups of trees--and ever before me the lions, beating their
reluctant retreat, now clearly visible, now almost out of sight.

I try a shot. But they are too far--it is no use. Puffing and panting,
I feel my face glow and my heart beat with my exertions. At length one
lioness stops and glances in my direction. I shoot, and imagine I have
missed her. All three rapidly disappear in a morass near at hand. All
my efforts seem to have been in vain.... Eight days later, however, I
bag the lioness, and find that my ball has struck her right through the
thigh.

It may happen that a lion caught in a trap gets off with the iron
attached to him, and covers vast stretches of country. The pursuer has
then an exciting time of it. If the animal passes through a fairly open
district the issue is probably successful. But I have sometimes been
obliged to wade through a morass of reeds for hours at a stretch.
The hunter should remember that the irons may have gripped the lion’s
paw in such a way that he may be able to shake them off with a powerful
effort. Then the tables may easily be turned, and the lion may clasp
the hunter, never to let him go again.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

CARRYING A LIVE HYENA BACK TO CAMP.]

[Illustration: MY HYENA, THE ONE I AFTERWARDS BROUGHT TO EUROPE AND
PRESENTED TO THE BERLIN ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS. IT WAS CHAINED UP IN CAMP.]

On another occasion I caught two full-grown lions in one night. They
had roamed about quite near my camp night after night. They had
frightened my people, and had been seen by the night sentinels; but in
the daytime no one had been able to catch a glimpse of them. At last
one night a sick ass, that had been placed as a bait, was torn away.
The trail of the heavy irons led, after much turning and twisting, to
a reedy swamp. Here it was impossible to follow the tracks further.
Several hours passed before I succeeded finally in finding first one
lion and then the other. To kill them was no easy matter. I could hear
the clanking of the chains where they were moving about, but I must
see them before I could take effective aim. Meanwhile one of the lions
was making frantic efforts to free himself. Supposing the irons were
to give way! But these efforts were followed by moments of quiet and
watching. How the beasts growled!

       *       *       *       *       *

I cannot agree with those who condemn indiscriminately the trapping of
lions. Of course, it must be done for a good purpose. I should not have
been able to present the Imperial Natural History Museum in Berlin with
such beautiful and typical lions’ skins had I not had recourse to these
traps.

A lion story with a droll ending came to me from Bagamo o. There a lion
had made itself very obnoxious, and some Europeans determined to trap
it. The trap was soon set, and a young lion fell into it. Several men
armed to the teeth approached the place, to put an end to the captive
with powder and shot. I cannot now exactly remember what happened
next, but on the attempt of the lion to free itself from the trap the
riflemen took to their heels and plunged into a pond. According to one
version, the lion turned out afterwards to be only a hyena!

At one time there was a perfect plague of lions near the coast
towns--Mikindani, for instance. Hungry lions attacked the townsfolk
on many occasions, and even poked their heads inside the doors of the
dwellings.

[Illustration]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

    MASAI MAKING GAME OF A HYENA WHICH HAD ATTACKED THEIR KRAAL AND
    WHICH I HAD TRAPPED AT THEIR REQUEST. THEY KILLED IT AT LAST WITH
    A SINGLE SPEAR-STAB THROUGH THE HEART.]

The extermination of wild life has been almost as great a disaster
to the lions as to the bushmen of South Africa. Extermination awaits
bushman and lion in their turn--not through hunger alone.

I was more fortunate in my attempt to get a fine example of the striped
hyena (_Hyena schillingsi_, Mtsch.), which I had previously discovered,
and in bringing it to Germany, where I presented it to the Berlin
Zoological Gardens. On page 501 is to be seen a picture of one of this
species caught in a trap. Orgeich, my plucky assistant, had armed
himself with a big cudgel, for use in the case of the beast attacking
him, but never lost his equanimity, and smoked his indispensable and
inseparable pipe the whole time! Another illustration is of a hyena
which was confined in the camp. This fine specimen, an old female, was
very difficult to take to the coast. Something like forty bearers were
needed to transport the heavy iron apparatus with its inmate as far as
Tanga. This representative of its species was one of the first brought
alive to Europe, and lived for several years in the Berlin Zoological
Gardens.

It is less troublesome to obtain possession of smaller beasts of prey.
Thus I kept three jackals (_Thos. schmidti_, Noack) in my camp until
they became quite reconciled to their fate. It is very interesting to
study the various characteristics of animals at such times. Some adapt
themselves very easily to their altered circumstances; others of the
same species do so only after a long struggle. The study of animal
character can be carried on very well under the favourable conditions
of camp life in the wild.

Although grown jackals may be fairly easily brought over to Europe, we
had great difficulty with members of the more noble feline race, and
above all with the King of Beasts himself. I learnt by experience that
lynxes and wild cats were only to be tamed with great difficulty, and
I once lost a captive lynx very suddenly in spite of every care.

These things are not so simple. This is why it is not yet possible
to bring many of the most charming and most interesting members of
the African animal world to Europe. I much wish that it were possible
to bring full-grown lions over. I would far rather see one or two of
them in all their native wildness and majesty than a whole troop of
home-reared and almost domesticated specimens.

But the hours I devoted to my own attempts in this direction were not
spent in vain. They were memorable hours, full of splendid excitement.



[Illustration: A FEW SPECIMENS OF ELEPHANT-TUSKS SECURED BY THE
EMISSARIES OF DEUSS & CO., IN PORTUGUESE EAST AFRICA.]

XII

A Dying Race of Giants


Every one who knows Equatorial East Africa will bear me out in saying
that it is easier nowadays to kill fifty rhinoceroses than a single
bull-elephant carrying tusks weighing upwards of a couple of hundred
pounds.

There are only a few survivors left of this world-old race of giants.
Many species, probably, have disappeared without leaving a single
trace behind. The block granite sarcophagi on the Field of the Dead in
Sakkarah in Egypt, dating from 3,500 years ago, are memorials (each
weighing some 64 tons) of the sacred bulls of Apis: the mightiest
monument ever raised by man to beast. Bulls were sacred to Ptah, the
God of Memphis, and their gravestones--which Mariette, for instance,
brought to light in 1851--yield striking evidence of the pomp attached
to the cult of animals in those days of old.

But no monument has been raised to the African elephants that have been
slaughtered by millions in the last hundred years. Save for some of the
huge tusks for which they were killed, there will be scarcely a trace
of them in the days to come, when their Indian cousins--the sacred
white elephants--may perhaps still be revered.

John Hanning Speke, who with his fellow-countryman Grant discovered the
Victoria Nyanza, found elephant herds grazing quite peacefully on its
banks. The animals, nowadays so wild, hardly took any notice when some
of their number were killed or wounded: they merely passed a little
farther on and returned to their grazing.

The same might be said of the Upper Nile swamps in the land of the
Dinkas, in English territory, where, thanks to specially favourable
conditions, the English have been successfully preserving the
elephants. Also in the Knysna forests of Cape Colony some herds of
elephants have been preserved by strict protective laws during the
last eighty years or so. Experience with Indian elephants has proved
that when protected the sagacious beasts are not so shy and wild as is
generally the case with those of Africa. For the latter have become,
especially the full-grown and experienced specimens, the shyest of
creatures, and therefore the most difficult to study.

Should any one differ from me as to this, I would beg him to
substantiate his opinion by the help of photographs, taken in the
wilderness, of elephants which have not been shot at--photographs
depicting for us the African elephant in its native wilds. When he
does, I shall “give him best”!

[Illustration:

    _Photographed at Zanzibar._

    THE HEAVIEST ELEPHANTS’ TUSKS EVER RECORDED IN THE ANNALS OF EAST
    AFRICAN TRADE. THEY WEIGHED 450 POUNDS. I TRIED IN VAIN TO SECURE
    THEM FOR A GERMAN MUSEUM. THEY WERE BOUGHT FOR AMERICA.]

The elephant is no longer to be found anywhere in its original numbers.
It is found most frequently in the desert places between Abyssinia and
the Nile and the Galla country, or in the inaccessible parts of the
Congo, on the Albert Nyanza, and in the hinterlands of Nigeria and the
Gold Coast. But in the vicinity of the Victoria Nyanza things have
changed greatly. Richard Kandt tells us that a single elephant-hunter,
a Dane, who afterwards succumbed to the climate, alone slaughtered
hundreds in the course of years.

According to experts in this field of knowledge, some of the huge
animals of prehistoric days disappeared in a quite brief space of time
from the earth’s surface. But we cannot explain why beasts so well
qualified to defend themselves should so speedily cease to exist.
However that may be, the fate of the still existing African elephant
appears to me tragic. At one time elephants of different kinds dwelt in
our own country.[9] Remains of the closely related mammoth, with its
long hair adapted to a northern climate, are sometimes excavated from
the ice in Siberia. Thus we obtain information about its kind of food,
for remnants of food well preserved by the intense cold have been
found between the teeth and in the stomach--remnants which botanists
have been able to identify.

By a singular coincidence, the mammoth remains preserved in the ice
have been found just at a time when the craze for slaughtering their
African relations has reached its climax, and when by means of arms
that deal out death at great, and therefore safe distances, the work of
annihilation is all too rapidly progressing. The scientific equipment
of mankind is so nearly perfect that we are able to make the huge
ice-bound mammoths, which have perhaps been reposing in their cold
grave for thousands of years, speak for themselves. And it can be
proved by means of the so-called “physiological blood-proof” that the
frozen blood of the Siberian mammoths shows its kinship with the Indian
and African elephant!

It is strange to reflect that mankind, having attained to its present
condition of enlightenment, should yet have designs upon the last
survivors of this African race of giants--and chiefly in the interests
of a game! For the ivory is chiefly required to make billiard balls! Is
it not possible to contrive some substitute in these days when nothing
seems beyond the power of science?

A. H. Neumann, a well-known English hunter, says that some years ago it
was already too late to reap a good ivory harvest in Equatorial Africa
or in Mombasa. He had to seek farther afield in the far-lying districts
between the Indian Ocean and the Upper Nile, where he obtained about
£5,000 worth of ivory during one hunting expedition.

[Illustration:

    A STORE OF ELEPHANTS’ TUSKS IN ONE OF THE WORKROOMS OF THE
    IMPORTANT IVORY FACTORY OF A. MEYER AT HAMBURG. IT SHOULD BE
    BORNE IN MIND THAT THERE ARE A NUMBER OF OTHER SUCH FACTORIES ON
    THE CONTINENT AND IN AMERICA.]

Meanwhile powder and shot are at work day and night in the Dark
Continent. It is not the white man himself who does most of the work of
destruction; it is the native who obtains the greater part of the ivory
used in commerce. Two subjects of Manga Bell, for instance, killed a
short time back, in the space of a year and a half, elephants enough
to provide one hundred and thirty-nine large tusks for their chief!
There is no way of changing matters except by completely disarming
the African natives. Unless this is done, in a very short time the
elephant will only be found in the most inaccessible and unhealthy
districts. It does not much matter whether this comes about in a
single decade or in several. What are thirty or forty or fifty years,
in comparison with the endless ages that have gone to the evolution
of these wonderful animals? It is remarkable, too, that in spite of
all the hundreds of African elephants which are being killed, not a
single museum in the whole world possesses one of the gigantic male
elephants which were once so numerous, but which are now so rarely to
be met with. Accompanying this chapter is a photograph of the heaviest
elephant-tusks which have ever reached the coast from the interior. The
two tusks together weigh about 450 pounds. One can form some idea of
the size of the elephant which carried them! I was unfortunately unable
to obtain these tusks for Germany, although they were taken from German
Africa. They were sent to America, and sold for nearly £1,000.

I should like the reader to note, also, the illustration showing a room
in an ivory factory. The number of tusks there visible will give an
approximate notion of the tremendous slaughter which is being carried
on.

The price of ivory has been rising gradually, and is now ten times
what it was some forty years ago in the Sudan, according to Brehm’s
statistics. In Morgen’s time one could buy a fifty-pound tusk in the
Cameroons for some stuff worth about sevenpence. In the last century or
two the price of ivory has risen commensurately with that of all other
such wares. Nowadays a sum varying from £300 to £400 may be obtained
for the egg of the Great Auk, which became extinct less than half a
century ago: whilst a stuffed specimen of the bird itself is worth at
least £1,000. What will be the price of such things in years to come!

In the light of these remarks the reader will easily understand how
greatly I prize the photographs which I secured of two huge old
bull-elephants in friendly company with a bull-giraffe, and which are
here reproduced. It will be difficult, if not indeed impossible, ever
again to photograph such mighty “tuskers” in company with giraffes.
In the year 1863 Brehm wrote that no true picture existed of the real
African elephant in its own actual haunts. The fact brought to light by
these pictures is both new and surprising, especially for the expert,
who hitherto has been inclined to believe that giraffes were dwellers
on the velt and accustomed to fight shy of the damp forests. That they
should remain in such a region in company with elephants for weeks at a
time was something hitherto unheard of. I do not know how to express my
delight at being able after long hours of patient waiting to sight
this rare conjunction of animals from my place of observation either
with a Goerz-Trizeder or with the naked eye, but only for a few seconds
at a time, because of the heavy showers of rain which kept falling.
How disappointing and mortifying it was to find oneself left in the
lurch by the sun--and just immediately under the Equator, where one
had a right to it! What I had so often experienced in my photographic
experiments in the forests by the Rufu River--that is, the want of
sunlight for days together--now made me almost desperate. At any moment
the little gathering of animals might break up, in which case I should
never be able to get a photographic record of the strange friendship.
Since the publication of my first work I have often been asked to give
some further particulars about this matter. Therefore, perhaps these
details, supported by photographs, will not be unacceptable to my
readers.

[Illustration:

    AN AUK’S EGG, ABOUT THREE-FIFTH OF ACTUAL SIZE. AUK’S EGGS COME
    INTO THE MARKET IN ENGLAND FROM TIME TO TIME AND FETCH AS MUCH AS
    £300 APIECE.]

[Illustration:

    THE SPECIMEN OF THE AUK PRESERVED IN THE BERLIN NATURAL HISTORY
    MUSEUM. IT WOULD BE WORTH AT LEAST £1,000 IF OFFERED FOR SALE.

(REPRODUCED HERE BY KIND PERMISSION OF THE DIRECTOR OF THE MUSEUM, DR.
BRAUER VON FRL. ELFRIEDE ZIMMERMANN.)]

I candidly admit that had I suddenly come upon these great
bull-elephants in the jungle in years gone by I could not have resisted
killing them. But I have gradually learned to restrain myself in this
respect. It would have been a fine sensation from the sportsman’s
standpoint, and would besides have brought in a round sum of perhaps
£500; but what was all that in comparison with the securing of one
single authentic photograph which would afford irrefutable proof of so
surprising a fact?

The western spurs of the great Kilimanjaro range end somewhat abruptly
in a high table-land, which is grass-grown and covered in patches with
sweet-smelling acacias. This undulating velt-region gradually slopes
down until in its lowest parts the waters collect and form the western
Njiri marshes, which at some seasons of the year are almost dry.
Volcanic hills arise here and there on the plain, from whose summits
one can obtain a wide view. One of the most prominent of these hills
has a cavity at its summit. It is evidently the crater of an extinct
volcano which is filled with water, like the volcanic lakes of my
native Eifel district. A thicket begins not far from this hill, and
gradually extends until it merges into the forest beyond. The burning
sun has dried up all the grass up to the edge of the thicket. There is
so little rain here that the poor Xerophites are the only exception
that can stand the drought. Only on the inner walls of the steep crater
do bushes and shrubs grow, for these are only exposed at midday to the
sun’s heat.

Thus a cool moisture pervades this hollow except during the very
hottest season. Paths, trodden down by crowds of game, lead to the
shining mirror of the little lake. It used to be the haunt of beasts
of prey, and the smaller animals would probably seek drinking-places
miles distant rather than come to this grim declivity. There is,
however, a kind of road leading to the summit of this hill, a very
uneven road, wide at first, then gradually narrower and narrower, which
had become almost impassable with grass and brushwood when I made my
way up. This road was trodden by the cattle herds of the Masai. It
may be that rhinoceroses and elephants were the original makers of it
before the warlike shepherds began to lead their thirsty cattle to this
secluded lake. Be this as it may, my Masai friends assured me that
they brought their herds here time out of mind until the rinderpest
devastated them.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

A THICKET, HUNG WITH LICHENS, MUCH FREQUENTED BY ELEPHANTS AND
SOMETIMES ALMOST IMPENETRABLE TO MAN.]

For weeks I had had natives on the look-out for elephants. They could
only tell me, however, of small herds composed of cows and young
bulls, and that was not good enough from the point of view of either
sportsman or photographer. However, I made several excursions round
the Kilepo Hill from my camp, never taking more than a few men with
me--it so often happens that one’s followers spoil the chase, perhaps
quite frustrate it. This is well known to natives and experienced
elephant-hunters.

I soon became familiar with the district and its vegetation. For
hours I followed paths which led through thick undergrowth, and I had
some unpleasant encounters with rhinoceroses. I knew well that the
neighbourhood of the hills, with its tall impenetrable growth, was a
most likely one for astute and cautious bull-elephants to haunt.

Hunting elephants in this fashion, day after day, with only a few
followers, is a delightful experience. It happens, perhaps, that one
has to pass the night in the forest under the free vault of heaven,
with the branches of a huge tree as shelter. The faint glow of the
camp-fire fades and flickers, producing weird effects in the network of
the foliage. How quickly one falls victim to atavistic terrors of the
night! Terrors of what? Of the “pepo ya miti,” the spirit of the woods,
or of some other mysterious sprite? No, of wild animals--the same kind
of fear that little children have in the dark of something unknown,
dangerous and threatening. My followers betake themselves to their
slumbers with indifference, for they have little concern for probable
dangers. But the imaginative European is on the look-out for peril--the
thought of it holds and fascinates him.... Somewhere in the distance,
perhaps, the heavens are illuminated with a bright light. Far, far
away a conflagration is raging, devastating miles upon miles of the
vale below. The sky reflects the light, which blazes up now purple,
now scarlet! Often it will last for days and nights, nay weeks, whole
table-lands being in flames and acting as giant beacons to light up
the landscape!... My thoughts would turn towards the bonfires which in
Germany of old flashed their message across the land--news, perhaps, of
the burial of some great prince.... So, now, it seemed to me that those
distant flames told of the last moments of some monarch of the wild.

At last I received good news. A huge bull-elephant had been seen for a
few minutes in the early morning hours in the vicinity of the Kilepo
Hill. This overjoyed me, for I was quite certain that in a few days now
we should meet them above on the hill.

I left my camp to the care of the greater part of my caravan, but sent
a good many of my men back into the inhabited districts of the northern
Kilimanjaro to get fresh provisions from Useri. I myself went about a
day’s journey up Kilepo Hill, accompanied by a few of my men, resolved
to get a picture _coûte que coûte_.

It was characteristic of my scouts that they could only give me
details about elephants. As often as I asked them about other game I
could get nothing out of them, for what were giraffes, buffaloes,
and rhinoceroses to them, and what interest could they have in such
worthless creatures! The whole mind of the natives has been for many
years past directed by us Europeans upon ivory. Native hunters in
scantily populated districts dream and think only of “jumbe”--ivory,
and always more ivory, as the Esquimaux yearns for seal blubber and
oil and the European for gold, gold, gold! In these parts giraffes and
rhinoceroses count for nothing in comparison with the elephant--the
native thinks no more of them than one of our own mountaineers would
think of a rabbit or a hare. Only those who have seen this for
themselves can realise how quickly one gets accustomed to the point
of view! In the gameless and populous coast districts the appearance
of a dwarf antelope or of a bustard counts for a good deal, and holds
out promise to the sportsman of other such game--waterbuck, perhaps.
I have read in one of the coast newspapers the interesting news that
Mr. So and So was fortunate enough to kill a bustard and an antelope.
That certainly was quite good luck, for you may search long in populous
districts and find nothing. As you penetrate into the wilder districts
conditions change rapidly, and after weeks and months of marching in
the interior you get accustomed to expecting only the biggest of big
game. The other animals become so numerous that the sight of them no
longer quickens the pulse.

I have already remarked that elephants are much less cautious by night
than by day. The very early morning hours are the best for sighting
elephants, before they retire into their forest fastnesses to escape
the burning rays of the sun. But as at this time of the year the sun
hardly ever penetrated the thick bank of clouds, there was a chance of
seeing the elephants at a later hour and in the bush. So every morning
either I or one of my scouts was posted on one of the hills--Kilepo
especially--to keep a sharp look-out. It needed three hours in the
dark and two in the daylight to get up the hill. It was not a pleasant
climb. We were always drenched to the skin by the wet grass and bushes,
and it was impossible to light a fire to dry ourselves, for the
animals would certainly have scented it. We had to stay there in our
wet clothes, hour after hour, watching most carefully and making the
utmost of the rare moments when the mist rolled away in the valley and
enabled us to peer into the thickets. It may seem surprising that we
should have found so much difficulty in sighting the elephants, but one
must remember that they emerge from their mud-baths with a coating that
harmonises perfectly with the tree-trunks and the general environment,
and are therefore hard to descry. Besides, the conditions of light in
the tropics are very different from what we are accustomed to in our
own northern clime, and are very deceptive.

When fortune was kind I could just catch a glimpse during a brief
spell of sunshine of a gigantic elephant’s form in the deep valley
beneath. But only for a few instants. The next moment there was nothing
to be seen save long vistas of damp green plants and trees. The deep
rain-channels stood out clear and small in the landscape from where I
stood. The mightiest trees looked like bushes; the hundred-feet-high
trunks of decayed trees which stood up out of the undergrowth here
and there looked like small stakes. In the ever-changing light one
loses all sense of the vastness of things and distances.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

A VELT FIRE. THE BONES OF AN ELEPHANT SOON TO BECOME FOOD FOR THE
FLAMES.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

A VELT FIRE.]

For once the mist rolls off rapidly; a gust of wind drives away
the clouds. The sun breaks through. Look! there is a whole herd
of elephants below us in the valley! But in another second the
impenetrable forest of trees screens them from my camera. At last
they become clearly visible again, and I manage to photograph two
cow-elephants in the distance. The sun vanishes again now, and an hour
later I have at last the whole herd clearly before me in the hollow.
How the little calves cling to their mothers! How quietly the massive
beasts move about, now disappearing into the gullies, now reappearing
and climbing up the hillside with a sureness of foot that makes them
seem more like automatons than animals. Every now and again the ruddy
earth-coloured backs emerge from the mass of foliage. A wonderful and
moving picture! For I know full well that the gigantic mothers are
caring for their children and protecting them from the human fiend who
seeks to destroy them with pitfalls, poisoned arrows, or death-dealing
guns. How cautiously they all move, scenting the wind with uplifted
trunks, and keeping a look-out for pitfalls! Every movement shows
careful foresight; the gigantic old leaders have evidently been through
some dire experiences.

Suddenly a warning cry rings out. Immediately the whole herd disappears
noiselessly into the higher rain-channels of the hill--the “Subugo
woods” of the Wandorobo hunters.

       *       *       *       *       *

Had the elephants not got these places of refuge to fly to they
would have died out long ago! This is the only means by which they
are still able to exist in Africa. I feel how difficult it is to
depict accurately the constant warfare that is going on between man
and beast, and can only give others a vague idea of what it is like.
Many secrets of the life and fate and the speedy annihilation of the
African elephants will sink into the grave with the last commercial
elephant-hunters. And once again civilisation will have done away with
an entire species in the course of a single century. The question as to
how far this was necessary will provide ample material for pamphlets
and discussions in times to come.

When one knows the “subugo,” however, one understands how it has been
possible for elephants in South Africa to have held out so long in
the Knysna and Zitzikama forests until European hunters began to go
after them with rifles in expert fashion. Fritsch visited the Knysna
forests in 1863. “It is easy,” he says, “to understand how elephants
have managed to remain in their forests for weeks together before one
of their number has fallen, even when hundreds of men have been after
them. There are spots in these forests--regular islands completely
surrounded by water--where they take refuge, and where no one can get
at them.”

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

AN OLD ACACIA TREE.]

Of course, Fritsch speaks of a time when the art of shooting was in
its infancy. One must not forget that nowadays ruthless marksmen
will reach the mighty beasts even in these islands of refuge--marksmen
who shoot at a venture with small-calibre rifles, and who find the
dead elephant later somewhere in the neighbourhood, with vultures
congregated round the corpse.[10]

       *       *       *       *       *

Now perhaps I may have to wait in vain for hours, days, and even
weeks! Some mornings there is absolutely nothing to be seen--the
animals have gone down to the lake to drink, or have taken refuge in
one of the little morasses at the foot of the hill. Judging by their
nocturnal wanderings it seems as if they must have other accessible
drinking-places in the vicinity. A search for these places, however, is
not to be thought of. If I were to penetrate to these haunts they would
immediately note my footsteps and take to flight for months, perhaps,
putting miles between themselves and their would-be photographer.

For to-day, at any rate, all is over. The sun only breaks through the
heavy masses of cloud for a few minutes at a time, and great sombre
palls of mist hang over the forests, constantly changing from one shape
to another.

To obtain a picture by means of the telephoto-lens did not seem at all
feasible. But a photo of bull-elephants and giraffes together!--so long
as there was the faintest chance of it I would not lose heart. It was
not easy, but I _must_ succeed! So, wet through and perishing with
cold, I wandered every morning through the tall grass to the top of the
hill and waited and waited....

The elephants seemed to have completely disappeared; no matter how
far I extended my daily excursions, they were nowhere to be seen. At
length I came across a fairly big herd, but they had taken up their
stand in such an impenetrable thicket that it was quite impossible to
sight them. After much creeping and crawling through the elephant and
rhinoceros paths in the undergrowth I managed to get just for a few
minutes a faint glimpse of the vague outline of single animals, but so
indistinct that it was impossible to determine their age, size, or sex.
In East Africa elephants are generally seen under these unfavourable
conditions. Very seldom does one come upon a good male tusk-bearing
specimen, as well-meaning but inexperienced persons, such as I myself
was at one time, would desire.

There is something very exciting and stimulating in coming face to
face with these gigantic creatures in the thick undergrowth. All
one’s nerves are strained to see or hear the faintest indication of
the whereabouts of the herd; the sultry air, the dense tangle through
which we have to move, and which hinders every step, combine to excite
us. We can only see a few paces around. The strong scent of elephant
stimulates us. The snapping and creaking of branches and twigs, the
noises made by the beasts themselves, especially the shrill cry of
warning given out from time to time by one of the herd--all add to
the tension. The clanging, pealing sound of this cry has something
particularly weird in it in the stillness of the great forest.
At such a signal the whole herd moves forward, to-day quietly without
noise, and to-morrow in wild blustering flight. It is very seldom
that one can catch them up on the same day, and then only after long
hours of pursuit.... These forest sanctuaries, together with their own
caution, have done more to stave off the extermination of the species
than have all the sporting restrictions that have been introduced.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

THE TWO ELEPHANTS.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

    THE TUSKS OF THE ELEPHANTS SEEMED EVEN LARGER THAN THEY REALLY
    WERE, AND OUT OF All PROPORTION TO THE SIZE OF THE ELEPHANTS,
    THOUGH THESE WERE EXCEPTIONALLY BIG BEASTS, NEARLY 12 FEET IN
    HEIGHT. THE GIRAFFE COMES OUT CURIOUSLY IN THIS PICTURE, RIGHT AT
    THE BOTTOM.]

Every morning I returned to my post of observation on the hill. I could
easily have killed one or other of the herd. But I did not wish to
disturb the elephants, and I had also good reason for believing that
there were no very large tusks among them. Morning after morning I
returned disappointed to my camp, only to find my way back on the next
day to my sentry-box at the edge of the forest on the hill. Days went
by and nothing was seen save the back or head of an elephant emerging
from the “subugo.” This “subugo” knows well how to protect its inmates.

Every morning the same performance. At my feet the mist-mantled forest,
and near me my three or four blacks, to whom my reluctance to shoot the
elephants and my preoccupation with my camera were alike inexplicable.
Whenever the clouds rolled away over the woods and valley it was
necessary to keep the strictest watch. Then I discovered smaller herds
of giraffes with one or two elephants accompanying them. But this would
be for a few seconds only. The heavy banks of cloud closed to again. A
beautiful large dove (_Columba aquatrix_) flew about noisily, and like
our ringdove, made its love-flights round about the hill, and cooed its
deep notes close by. Down below in the valley echoed the beautiful,
resonant, melancholy cry of the great grey shrike; cock and hen birds
answered one another in such fashion that the call seemed to come from
only one bird. There was no other living thing to see or hear.

But now! At last! I shall never forget how suddenly in one of
the brilliant bursts of sunshine the mighty white tusks of two
bull-elephants shone out in the hollow so dazzlingly white that one
must have beheld them to understand their extraordinary effect, seen
thus against that impressive background. Close by was a bull-giraffe.
Vividly standing out from the landscape, they would have baffled
any artist trying to put them on the canvas. I understood then why
A. H. Neumann, one of the most skilful English elephant-hunters, so
often remarked on the overwhelming impression he received from these
snow-white, shining elephant-tusks. So white do they come out in the
photographs that the prints look as though they had been touched up.
But these astonishing pictures are as free from any such tampering as
are all the rest of my studies of animal life.[11]

Before I succeeded in getting my first picture of the elephants and
giraffes consorting together, I was much tempted to kill the two huge
bull-elephants. They came so often close to the foot of my hill that I
had plenty of opportunities of killing them without over-much danger
to myself or my men. As I caught sight of that rare trio I must
honestly confess I had a strong desire to shoot. This desire gave way,
however, before my still keener wish to photograph them. The temptation
to use my rifle came from the thought of the satisfaction with which I
should see them placed in some museum. It might be possible to prepare
their skins here on this very spot. In short, I had a hard struggle
with myself.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Shillings, phot._

THE TWO ELEPHANTS.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

A QUAINT COMPANIONSHIP--ELEPHANT AND GIRAFFE. THE GIRAFFE MAY BE JUST
MADE OUT IN THE FOREGROUND, AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PHOTOGRAPH.]

But the wish to secure the photographs triumphed. No museum in the
world had ever had such a picture. That thought was conclusive.

The accompanying illustrations give both the colossal beasts in
different attitudes. The giraffe stands quite quiet, intent on its own
safety, or gazes curiously at its companions. What a contrast there
is between the massive elephants and the slender, towering creature
whose colouring harmonises so entirely with its surroundings! Wherever
you see giraffes they always blend with their background. They obey
the same laws as leopards in this respect, and leopards are the best
samples of the “mimicry” of protective colouring.

What long periods of hunger must have gone to the formation of the
giraffe’s neck!

It would seem as though these survivors of two prehistoric species had
come together thus, at a turning-point in the history of their kind,
for the special purpose of introducing themselves by means of their
photographs to millions of people. I owe it to an extraordinary piece
of good fortune that I was able to take another picture of them during
a second burst of sunshine which lit up the forest.

It is the event of a lifetime to have been the witness of so strange
and unsuspected a condition of things as this friendship between two
such dissimilar animals. The extent of my good luck may be estimated
from the fact that the famous traveller Le Vaillant, more than
seventy years ago, wished so ardently to see a giraffe in its natural
surroundings, _if only once_, that he went to South Africa for that
purpose, and that, having achieved it on a single occasion, as he
relates in his work, he was quite overjoyed. Although I was aware that
herds of giraffes frequented this region without fear of the elephants,
it was a complete revelation to me to find an old bull-giraffe living
in perfect harmony for days together with two elephants for the sake
of mutual protection. I can only account for this strange alliance by
the need for such mutual protection. The giraffe is accustomed to use
its eyes to assure itself of its safety, whilst elephants scent the
breeze with their trunks, raised like the letter S for the purpose. In
these valleys the direction of the wind varies very often. The struggle
for existence is here very vividly brought before us. How often in
the course of centuries must similar meetings have occurred in Africa
and in other parts of the world, before I was able to record this
observation for the first time? These pictures are a good instance of
the value of photography as a means of getting and giving information
in regard to wild life.

Kilepo Hill will always stand out vividly in my memory. Elephants
may still climb up to the small still lake shut in by the wall-like
hillsides, as they have done for ages, to quench their thirst at
its refreshing waters. For hundreds of years the Masai, for the
sake of their cattle herds, contested with them the rights of this
drinking-place. Then the white man came and the Masai vanished, and
again the elephants found their way to the Kilepo valley. Later, white
settlers came--Boers, ruthless in their attitude towards wild life--and
took up their abode in the Kilimanjaro region. The day cannot now be
far distant when the last of the elephants will have gone from the
heart of Kilepo Hill. But these two, long since killed, no doubt, will
continue to live on in my pictures for many a year to come.

[Illustration: THE YOUNG LION THAT I MANAGED TO CAPTURE AND BRING ALIVE
INTO CAMP.]



[Illustration: A STUDY IN PROTECTIVE “MIMICRY.”]

XIII

A Vanishing Feature of the Velt


“When men and beasts first emerged from the tree called
‘Omumborombongo,’ all was dark. Then a Damara lit a fire, and zebras,
gnus, and giraffes sprang frightened away, whilst oxen, sheep, and
dogs clustered fearlessly together.” So Fritsch told us forty years
ago, from the ancient folk-lore of the Ova-Herero, one of the most
interesting tribes of South-West Africa.

If the photographing of wild life is only to be achieved when
conditions are favourable, and is beset with peculiar difficulties in
the wilderness of Equatorial Africa, one might at least suppose that
such huge creatures as elephants, rhinoceroses, and giraffes could be
got successfully upon the “plate.” But they “spring frightened away”!
The cunning, the caution, and the shyness of these animals make all
attempts at photographing them very troublesome indeed; for to
secure a good result you need plenty of sunlight, besides the absence
of trees between you and the desired object. And when everything seems
to favour you, there is sure to be something wanting--very probably
the camera itself. Fortune favours the photographer at sudden and
unexpected moments, and then only for a very short while. One instant
too late, and you may have to wait weeks, months, even years for your
next opportunity. I would give nine-tenths of the photos I have taken
of animal life for some half-dozen others which I was unable to take
because I did not have my camera to hand just at the right moment. Thus
it was with the photographing of the three lions I killed on January
25, 1897, and of the four others I saw on the same day, on the then
almost unknown Athi plains in the Wakikuju country. Also with that
great herd of elephants which so nearly did for me, and which I should
have dearly liked to photograph just as they began their onrush. (I
have told the story in _With Flashlight and Rifle_.) I remember, too,
the sight of a giraffe herd of forty-five head which I came across
on November 4, 1897,[12] about two days’ journey north-west of the
Kilimanjaro. The hunter of to-day would travel over the velt for a
very long while before meeting with anything similar. In earlier
days immense numbers of long-necked giraffe-like creatures, now
extinct, lived on the velt; the rare Okapi, that was discovered in the
Central African forests a short time ago, has aroused the interest of
zoologists as being a relative of that extinct species.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

A GIRAFFE IN FULL FLIGHT.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

A GIRAFFE BULL IN AN ACACIA GROVE.]

Within the last hundred or even fifty years, the giraffe itself was
to be found in large herds in many parts of Africa. The first giraffe
of which we know appeared in the Roman arena. About two hundred years
ago we are told some specimens were brought over to Europe, and caused
much astonishment. The Nubian menageries some years ago brought a
goodly number of the strange beasts to our zoological gardens.[13]
But how many people have seen giraffes in their native haunts? When,
in 1896, I saw them thus for the first time, I realised how thin
and wretched our captive specimens are by the side of the splendid
creatures of the velt. Le Vaillant, in his accounts of his travels in
Cape Colony and the country known to-day as German South-West Africa,
gives a spirited description of these animals, and tells how after
much labour and trouble he managed to take a carefully dried skin to
the coast and to send it to Germany. That was seventy years ago. Since
then many Europeans have seen giraffes, but they have told us very
little about them. The German explorer Dr. Richard Böhm has given us
wonderfully accurate information about them and their ways. But the
beautiful water-colours so excellently drawn by a hand so soon to be
disabled in Africa, were lost in that dreadful conflagration in which
his hunting-box on the peaceful Wala River and most of his diaries were
destroyed. Dr. Richard Kandt, whilst on his expeditions in search of
the sources of the Nile, found the charred remains of the hut. “Ubi
sunt, qui ante nos in mundo fuere?”

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

A SUCCESSFUL PHOTOGRAPH, TAKEN AFTER A LONG PURSUIT AND MANY FAILURES.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

TELEPHOTO STUDIES OF GIRAFFES (_GIRAFFA SCHILLINGSI_, Mtsch.).]

Zoological experts tell us that there are several species of
giraffe inhabiting separate zoological regions. In the districts
I traversed, I came across an entirely new species.... Their life
and habits interested me beyond measure. I often think of them
still--moving about like phantoms among the thorny bushes, and in and
out the sunlit woods, or standing out silhouetted against the horizon.

Though by nature peaceful, the giraffe is not defenceless--a kick from
one of its immense legs, or a blow sideways with the great thick-necked
head of a bull, would be quite enough to kill a mere man. But this
gigantic beast, whose coat so much resembles that of the blood-thirsty
tiger, leopard, and jaguar, never attacks, and only brings its forces
into play for purposes of defence. It harms no man, and it has lived
on the velt since time immemorial. It is the more to be deplored,
therefore, that it should disappear now so quickly and so suddenly.

I have already remarked several times on the way giraffes and other
African mammals harmonise in their colouring with their environment.
Professor V. Schmeil has pointed out how my opinion in this respect
accords with that of earlier observers.[14] The way in which giraffes
mingle with their surroundings as regards not only their colour but
also their form, is especially astonishing. The illustration on page
550 proves this in a striking manner, for it shows how the outlines of
the giraffe correspond exactly with those of the tree close to it.

One may spend days and weeks on the velt trying to get near giraffes
without result. Far away on the horizon you descry the gigantic
“Twigga”--as the Waswahili call it--but every attempt to approach is
in vain. Then, all of a sudden it may happen--as it did once to me
near the Western Njiri marshes, Nov. 29, 1898--that a herd of giraffes
passes quite near you without fear. On the occasion in question, as is
so often the case, I had not my photographic apparatus at hand. I could
have got some excellent pictures with quite an ordinary camera. The
giraffes came towards me until within sixty paces. They then suddenly
took wildly to flight. The little herd consisted of nine head: an old
very dark-spotted bull, a light-spotted cow, three younger cows with
a calf each, and finally a young dark-spotted bull. Orgeich and I had
been able to observe the animals quietly as they stood, as if rooted
to the spot, with their long necks craned forward, their eyes fixed
upon us.[15] I cannot explain why the animals were so fearless on that
occasion. It was a most unusual occurrence, for ordinarily giraffes
manage to give the sportsman a wide berth.

Again, it may happen, especially about midday, that the hunter will
sight a single giraffe or a whole herd at no very great distance. At
these times, if one is endowed with good lungs and is in training, one
may get close enough to the creatures before they take to flight.

[Illustration:

    _Hauptmann Merker, phot._

GIRAFFE STUDIES.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

GIRAFFE STUDIES.]

Or it may happen that you will sight giraffes about noontide sheltering
under the fragrant acacia trees. I remember one occasion especially, in
the neighbourhood of the Gelei volcanic hills. I had hardly penetrated
for more than about a hundred and twenty paces into an acacia wood,
when I suddenly saw the legs of several gigantic giraffes--their heads
were hidden in the crowns of mimosa. The wind was favourable. I might
within a few minutes find myself in the middle of the herd! But, a
moment later, I felt the ground tremble and the huge beasts with their
hard hoofs were thumping over the sun-baked ground. They crashed
through the branches and fled to the next shelter of mimosa trees.
Although I might easily have killed some of them, it was absolutely
impossible to take a photograph. But I was at times more fortunate in
snapshotting single specimens. Carefully and cautiously, I would creep
forward, of course alone, leaving my people behind, until I came within
about twenty paces of the giraffe. By dodging about the trees or shrubs
near which it stood I have sometimes managed to obtain good pictures
of the animal making off in its queer way. The utmost caution was
necessary. I had to consider not only the place where the animal was
but the position of the sun, and that most carefully. The possibility
of photographing giraffes with the telephoto lens is very slight
indeed. One’s opportunities are turned to best account by the skilful
use of an ordinary hand-camera.

In this way, also, I managed to get pictures of the peculiar motion of
giraffes in full flight. My negatives are a proof of the comparative
ease with which native hunters may hunt giraffes with poisoned arrows.
I have often met natives in possession of freshly killed giraffe flesh.

In most cases bushes and trees are a great hindrance to the taking of
photographs, especially of large herds. At such times it was as good
as a game of chess between the photographic sportsman and the animals.
For hours I have followed them with a camera ready to snapshot, but
the far-sighted beasts have always frustrated my plans. Thus passed
hours, days and weeks. But good luck would come back again, and I was
sometimes able to develop an excellent negative in a camp swarming with
mosquitoes.

It is especially in the peculiar light attendant on the rainy
season and amidst tall growths that giraffes mingle so with their
surroundings. It is only when the towering forms are silhouetted
against the sky that they can be clearly seen on the open velt.
At midday, when the velt is shimmering with a thousand waves of
light, when everything seems aglow with the dazzling sun, even the
most practised eye can scarcely distinguish the outlines of single
objects. By such a light the sandy-coloured oryx antelopes and the
stag-like waterbuck look coal-black; the uninitiated take zebras for
donkeys--they appear so grey--and rhinoceroses resting on the velt for
ant-hills. But giraffes especially mingle with the surrounding mimosa
woods at this hour in such a way as only those who have seen it could
believe possible.

When you see these animals in their wild state, your thoughts naturally
revert to the penned-up tame specimens in zoological gardens or those
preserved in museums. Well do I remember that the first wild
zebra I saw looked to me little like a tame specimen in a zoological
garden.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

A HERD OF GIRAFFES: THE LEADER, A POWERFUL OLD BULL, IN THE FOREGROUND.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

    TWO GIRAFFES OUT OF A HERD I CAME UPON IN THE VICINITY OF THE
    MASAI COLONY CALLED KIRARAGUA, NOW ALMOST BEREFT OF WILD LIFE
    OWING TO THE IMMIGRATION OF THE BOERS. THE ANIMALS MAY HERE
    BE SEEN IN VERY CHARACTERISTIC SURROUNDINGS, ACACIA WOODS
    ALTERNATING WITH WIDE EXPANSES COVERED WITH BOWSTRING HEMP.]

[Illustration:

    HEAD OF A GIRAFFE (_GIRAFFA RETICULATA_ De Winton), KILLED IN
    SOUTH SOMALILAND BY THE EXPLORER CARLO VON ERLANGER. (BY KIND
    PERMISSION OF THE BARONESS VON ERLANGER.)]

The death-knell of the giraffe has tolled. This wonderful and harmless
animal[16] is being completely annihilated! Fate has decreed that a
somewhat near relative should be discovered in later days--namely
the Okapi, which inhabits the Central African forests. It may be
safely asserted that these unique animals will exist long after the
complete extermination of the real giraffe. The species of giraffe,
however, which has been dying out in the north and south of the African
continent will be represented in the future by pictures within every
man’s reach. Every observation as to their habits, every correct
representation obtained, every specimen preserved for exhibition is of
real value. And this I would impress on every intelligent man who has
the opportunity of doing any of these things out in the wild.

Professor Fritsch saw giraffes in South Africa as late as 1863. Shortly
before these lines were printed he gave a glowing account of the
impression they then made on him, an impression which was renewed when
he saw my pictures.

Large herds of giraffes still flourish in remote districts. My friend
Carlo von Erlanger, whose early death is much to be regretted, found
the animals particularly timid in South Somaliland when he traversed
it for the first time. A fine stuffed specimen of these beautifully
coloured giraffes is to be found in the Senckenberg Museum in
Frankfort-on-Maine. An illustration gives the head of a giraffe killed
by my late friend, and proves to the reader how much the two species
differ--namely the South Somaliland giraffe as here depicted,[17]
and that which I was the first to discover in Masailand. We have in
Erlanger’s diary and in this illustration the only existing information
about the presence of the giraffe in South Somaliland, a region which
none but my daring friend and his companions have so far traversed.

Hilgert, Carlo von Erlanger’s companion, mentions the frequent presence
of the South Somali giraffe, but says that they showed themselves
so shy that the members of the expedition generally had to content
themselves with the numerous tracks of the animals or with the sight of
them in the far distance.

Meanwhile an effort is being made to save and protect what remains
of the giraffe species in Africa. But there is little hope of
ultimate success. I do trust, however, that a wealth of observations,
illustrations, and specimens may be secured for our museums before
it is too late. In this way, at least, a source of pleasure and
information will be provided for future generations, and the giraffe
will not share the fate of so many other rare creatures which no gold
will ever give back to us.

With sad, melancholy, wondering eyes the giraffe seems to peer into the
world of the present, where there is room for it no longer. Whoever
has seen the expression in those eyes, an expression which has
been immortalised by poets in song and ballad for thousands of years,
will not easily forget it, any more than he will forget the strong
impression made on him when he looked at the “Serafa” of the Arabs in
the wilderness.

[Illustration:

    _Hauptmann, Merker phot._

GIRAFFE STUDY.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

A TELEPHOTOGRAPH TAKEN AT A DISTANCE OF 200 PACES.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

_GIRAFFA SCHILLINGSI_, Mtsch. ]

The day cannot be far distant when the beautiful eyes of the last
“Twigga” will close for ever in the desert. No human skill will be
able to prevent this, in spite of the progress of human knowledge and
human technique. The giraffe can never enter the little circle of
domesticated animals. Therefore it must go. Perhaps its eyes will close
in the midst of the Elelescho jungle, thus lessening still further the
fascination of that survival from the youth of the world.

[Illustration: CRESTED CRANES ON THE WING.]



[Illustration: HUNGRY VULTURES IN THE VICINITY OF MY CAMP.]

XIV

Camping out on the Velt


Among the happiest days of my life I reckon those which I spent camping
out in the heart of the Nyíka.

Nearly every hour there had something fresh to arouse my interest, not
only in the life of the wild animals that roamed at large all about,
but also in that of the specimens which I had caught or my men had
brought to me, and whose habits and ways I could observe within the
enclosure of the camp. Of course our unique menagerie could not boast
members of all the most attractive species of the African fauna, but it
included some very rare and interesting animals which Europe has never
seen. To know these one must go and live in wildest Africa and see them
at home.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

PITCHING CAMP WITH A VIEW TO A LONG STAY.]

My camp at times was like a little kingdom. Many of my people went out
for weeks together to barter for fruits and vegetables with agrarian
tribes. With the rest, I spent my days out in the open, hunting,
collecting, and observing. My zoological collection increased daily,
time flew by with all the many jobs there were to be done--drying,
preserving, preparing, sorting, labelling, and sending off specimens.
The primitive camp life was full of interest in spite of its seeming
monotony. It was like ruling and ordering a little State. I thoroughly
enjoyed this simple existence, in which I seemed to forget the
artificial worries of civilisation and to be able to give myself up to
my love for nature.

[Illustration: MY TAXIDERMIST, ORGEICH, AT WORK.]

Then I learned to appreciate the natives. Of course they are not to be
judged from a European standpoint as regards habits and customs, but I
shall always remember with pleasure certain strong and good characters
among my followers.

Nomadic hunters--shy and suspicious as the animals they
hunted--sometimes paid us passing visits, whilst the whole world of
beasts and birds thronged around our “outpost of civilisation,” so
suddenly planted in their midst.

My goods and chattels were stowed away in a hut which I had put up
myself, and which was protected from wind, rain, and sun by masses of
reeds and velt grasses. This hut was of the simplest construction,
but I was very proud of it. It was useful not only for protecting
zoological collections from the all-pervading rays of the sun, and from
rain and cold, but also from the numerous little fiends of insects
against which continual warfare has to be waged. The destructive
activity of ants is a constant source of annoyance to travellers and
collectors; I remember how my one-time fellow-traveller Prince Johannes
Löwenstein had the flag on his tent destroyed by them in a single
night. In one night also these ants bit through the ticket-threads
by which my specimens were classified; in one night, again, the
tiny fiends destroyed the bottoms of several trunks which had been
carelessly put away!

One has to wage constant warfare against destroyers of every kind.

My cow, which was very valuable to me, not only as giving milk to my
people, but also for nourishing young wild animals, was penned at
night-time within a thick thorn hedge. My people made themselves more
or less skilfully constructed shelters under the bushes and trees.
Thus a miniature village grew up, of which I was the despotic ruler.
The native hunters who visited us would sometimes accompany me on long
expeditions.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

TERMITEN ANT-HILLS.]

For me there are no “savages.” When an intelligent man comes across a
tribe hitherto unknown to him he will carefully study their seemingly
strange habits, and thus will soon recognise that they have their own
customs and laws which they regard as sacred and immutable, and which
order their whole existence. He will no longer desire the natives to
adopt the manners and customs of the white man, for which they are
absolutely unsuited.

But by the time I got friendly with these nomads they were off again.
It is against their habits to stay long in one place, and they do not
willingly enter into close relations with a European--or indeed with
any one. Suddenly one fine morning we find their sleeping quarters
empty; they have disappeared, never to return. No obligation, no
command, would ever bind these wanderers to one place. Children of the
moment, children of the wilderness, their lives are spent in constant
roaming.

I hardly ever had a leisure hour, for there was much to arrange and
see to in my camp. I had many functions to perform. I was my own
commissioner of public safety; I looked after the commissariat; I
was doctor and judge. I supervised all the other offices and pursued
a number of handicrafts. Like Hans Sach I followed with pride the
avocations of shoemaker, tailor, joiner, and smith, my very scanty
acquaintance with all these various trades being put to astonishingly
good use. I was like the one-eyed man among the blind.

What judgments of Solomon have I not given! Once two of my best people
quarrelled, an Askari and his wife. The serious character of the
quarrel could be estimated from the noise of weeping and the sound of
blows that had proceeded from their tent. The man wished to separate
from his wife.

“Why did you beat your wife last night?”

The Askari (who has served under both German and English masters)
stands to attention.

“Because she was badly behaved--I will not keep her any more--I am
sending her away.”

“But why--rafiki yangu?--my friend? Such things will happen at times,
but it is not always so bad--see? Who will look after you? who will
prepare your meals? Look at her once more; she is very pretty--don’t
you think so? And she cooks very well” (both parties, as well as the
bystanders, are smiling by now). “Go along, then, and make friends.”

And they go and make friends.

A deputation of the Waparis come to the camp. They crouch down near
my tent and beg for a “rain charm” to bring down showers upon their
fields. It is somewhat difficult to help them. I take the gifts which
they bring to pay for the charm and make them a more valuable return,
and by means of the barometer I am able to foretell rain. They gaze at
the wizard and his charm wonderingly, and come again later to see them
both.

[Illustration:

    AN UNUSUALLY LARGE ANT-HILL. INSIDE THIS STRONGHOLD THE “QUEEN”
    ANT IS TO BE FOUND WALLED UP IN A SMALL CELL. SHE IS CONSIDERABLY
    LARGER THAN THE OTHER ANTS AND DEVOTES HERSELF EXCLUSIVELY TO HER
    TASK OF LAYING EGGS. THE KING ON THE OTHER HAND, NOT MUCH LARGER
    THAN THE REST, IS IN COMMAND OF THE “WORKERS” AND THE SOLDIERS.]

Countless similar events succeed one another, and ever the everyday
monotony of the simple camp life has its delights.

[Illustration: MY FELLOW TRAVELLER PRINCE LÖWENSTEIN, WHOSE TENT WAS
ONCE ENTIRELY DESTROYED BY ANTS IN A SINGLE NIGHT.]

[Illustration:

    THE ANT-HILLS ARE SO STRONGLY BUILT AND SO HARD THAT THEY OFFER
    AN EXTRAORDINARILY STRONG RESISTANCE TO ALL EFFORTS TO DESTROY
    THEM BY PICK AND SHOVEL.]

Day by day my menagerie increases. To-day it is a young lion I add to
it, to-morrow a hyena, a jackal, a monkey, a marabou, geese, and other
velt-dwellers, all of which I instal as members of my little community
and try to become friends with. My efforts have sometimes been amply
rewarded. Once during the early morning hours we discovered a large
troop of baboons. It was cool: the cold, damp morning mist grew into a
drizzling rain; the animals huddled up closely together for the sake of
warmth. Later they came down to seek their food. Cautiously we posted
ourselves as if we had not noticed the monkeys. But remembering their
long sight, I organised a battue, which succeeded admirably and secured
me several young ones. At first the comical creatures obstinately
withstood all efforts to tame them. Soon, however, they got to
recognise their attendant, and became attached to him. Unlike other
species of monkeys, baboons are full of character. Like some dogs,
they are devoted to their masters but antagonistic to other people.
They show their dislike for strangers very clearly. I was always much
touched, when I came back from a long tramp on the velt, to be met with
outbursts of joy by my chained-up baboons. They recognised their master
in the far distance, reared themselves on their hind legs, and gave
demonstrations of joy in every possible way as they saw him approaching.

[Illustration: “POSCHO! POSCHO!” MY CARAVAN-LEADER HANDING OUT
PROVISIONS.]

[Illustration: BEARER’S WIFE GETTING READY THE EVENING MEAL.]

[Illustration: MY YOUNG BABOONS IN FRONT OF MY TENT.]

[Illustration: YOUNG OSTRICHES.]

[Illustration: MARABOU NESTS.]

Sometimes, too, other inmates of my camp evinced their pleasure at
my appearance. This was especially the case with a marabou which I
had caught when fully grown. As he had been slightly hurt in the
process of capture, I tended him myself most carefully, and experienced
great satisfaction on his restoration to health. From the time of his
recovery the bird was faithful to me, and did not leave the camp any
more, although he was only caged at night-time! He attached himself to
my headman, and tried to bite both men and beasts whom he considered
as not to be trusted, and generally sat very solemnly in the vicinity
of my camp and greeted me on my home-comings by wagging his head
and flapping his wings. Such a clatter he made as he gravely rushed
backwards and forwards! Not until I caressed him would he be quiet.
After a time he began to build himself a nest under the shade of a bush
quite close to my tent. The dimensions of this nest gradually increased
in an extraordinary manner. This eyrie he defended to the utmost,
and would not allow my blacks to go near it, or any of his animal
companions. Great battles took place, but he always made his opponents
take to their heels, and even the poor old donkey, if it happened to
come his way. On the other hand, he was very friendly with my young
rhinoceros. It was an extraordinary sight to see the rhinoceros with
its friends, the goats and the solemn bird. Two fine Colobus monkeys,
three young lions, young ostriches, geese, and various other creatures
made up my little zoological garden. They all were good friends among
themselves and with my tame hens, which used to prefer to lay their
eggs in my tent and in those of the bearers. Sometimes I used to
entrust some francolin eggs to these hens. (Hardly any of the
many beautiful East African species of francolins have so far been
brought alive to Europe.) Once I had for weeks the pleasure of seeing
some beautiful yellow-throated francolins (_Pternistes leucosepus
infuscatus_, Cab.) running about perfectly tame among the other animals
in camp.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

ONE OF MY MARABOUS, NOW IN THE BERLIN ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS, BUILT A GREAT
NEST IN MY CAMP.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

TWO DENIZENS OF THE VELT WHO BECAME MEMBERS OF MY CAMP AND ARE NOW IN
THE BERLIN ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

A RATHER MIXED-UP PHOTOGRAPH! MY YOUNG RHINOCEROS, WITH HER TWO
COMPANIONS THE GOAT AND THE KID.]

I was often able to contemplate idyllic scenes among my quaint
collection of animals. The behaviour of my baby rhinoceros interested
me greatly. It was the pet of my caravan, and I was very proud of
having reared it, for I had longed for two years for such a little
creature, and had made many vain attempts to obtain one. Its friendship
with two goats I have already mentioned in my previous book. They
formed a strange trio. Very often the kid used the rhinoceros as a
cushion, and all three were inseparable. The beast and the two goats
often made little excursions out into the immediate neighbourhood
of my camp. At these times they were carefully guarded by two of my
most trustworthy people. The “rhino” was provided with its accustomed
vegetable foods. When the little beast was in a good humour it would
play with me like a dog, and would scamper about in the camp snorting
in its own peculiar way. Such merry games alternated with hours of
anxiety, during which I was obliged to give my foster-child food and
medicine with my own hands, and to fight the chigoes (_Sarcopsylla
penetrans_, L.), commonly called “jiggers,” those horrible tormentors
which Africa has received from America.

In the evening my flocks and herds of sheep, goats and cattle came
home, and among them some gnus which I had been able to obtain from
an Arab through the friendly help of Captain Merker. It reminded one
of pictures of old patriarchal days to see the animals greet their
expectant calves and kids. It was always interesting, too, to watch
the skilful handling of the cattle by the Masai herdsmen. The cows in
Africa all come from Asia, and belong to the zebu family. They will
only give milk when their calves have first been allowed to suck. Only
then can the cow be milked, and that with difficulty, whilst a second
herdsman holds the calf for a while a little distance off. Thus it was
I obtained, very sparingly at first, the necessary milk for my young
rhinoceros. Some days there was a grand show of varied animal life.
Cows, bullocks, sheep, goats, my rhinoceros, young lion-cubs, hyenas,
jackals, servals and monkeys, hens, francolins and marabou, geese, and
other frequenters of the velt were in the camp, some at liberty and
some chained, which caused many little jealousies and much that was
interesting to notice.

My kitchen garden was invaded by tame geese and storks, which lived on
the best of terms with the cook. It was irresistibly funny to see the
sage old marabou acting as cook’s assistant, gravely crouching near
him and watching all his movements. Very often the tame animals in my
camp had visitors in the shape of wild storks and geese, which came and
mixed among the others, so that often one could not distinguish which
were wild and which tame. We could see all kinds of animals coming
close to the camp. I have even followed the movements of rhinoceroses
with my field-glasses for some time.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

MY RHINOCEROS AS SHE IS TO-DAY IN THE BERLIN “ZOO,” AND--]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

--AS SHE WAS IN MY VELT CAMP.]

Some of my captives were not to be tamed at any price. We had a young
hyena, for instance, which struggled obstinately with its chain.
On the other hand, some hyenas, especially spotted ones, became so
domesticated that they followed me about like dogs.

A young lion which I had had in my camp for some time, and which had
grown into quite a fine specimen, often made itself so noticeable at
night that, as my watchman told me, it was answered by other lions
from outside. This made it necessary to take active precautions for
the night, and my menagerie was brought into the centre of my camp for
greater safety.

Many of the friendships which I formed with my _protégés_ have been
kept up. My marabou still remembers me, and greets me with great joy
in his cage in the Berlin Zoological Garden, much to the irritation
of his neighbour in the cage next door. I have no need to avoid the
grip of his powerful beak, which the keeper has learnt to fear. He has
never used this weapon against me. In whatever dress I may approach him
he always recognises me, and greets me with lively demonstrations of
pleasure. Even the rhinoceros seems to recognise his one-time master,
although one cannot be quite sure of this in so uncouth a creature.

It is very difficult to know how to manage a rhinoceros. It was quite
a long time before I succeeded in discovering its best diet. Young
rhinoceroses almost always succumb in captivity, though seemingly
so robust. We have not yet succeeded in bringing an elephant from
German or British East Africa to Europe, or indeed any of the other
animals, such as giraffes and buffaloes and antelopes, which live in
the same districts. It appears that it is just these interesting wild
animals which are the most difficult to accustom to captivity and to
keep alive. The attempt to bring home alive a couple of the wonderful
Kilimanjaro Colobus apes (_Colobus caudatus_, Thos.) resulted in one of
the monkeys dying a few days after my arrival; the other lived for two
years only, and was the sole specimen of its kind ever seen in Europe.
Every zoologist and lover of animals who goes into the colonies has a
wide field of activity open before him in this respect. If only more
people could be made to take an interest in these things we might buoy
ourselves up with the hope of obtaining and keeping some of the best
and rarest specimens of African animal life, perhaps even a full-grown
gorilla from the West Coast--perhaps even an Okapi!

I was only able to keep my little menagerie together for a few weeks at
a time, as I had to be constantly setting out on fresh expeditions. On
these occasions I was accustomed to leave the animals in some village
under the care of trustworthy blacks, so that I could take them again
on my return journey to the coast. The weeks and months I spent in camp
with my animals were a great source of pleasure to me. At night-time
there were occasions when “rhinos” and “hippos” paid us visits, as
could be plainly seen by the tracks found the next morning.[18]
Hyenas and jackals came very often, and even lions sometimes came to
within a short distance of the camp. Thus my zoological garden, in
spite of its size, could well boast of being, so to speak, the most
_primitive_ in the world.

[Illustration: HOW MY CAPTIVE YOUNG “RHINO” WAS CARRIED TO CAMP.]

[Illustration: CARRYING A DEAD LEOPARD, TO AN ACCOMPANIMENT OF
IMPROVISED SONGS.]

[Illustration: “FATIMA” (AS I CHRISTENED MY “RHINO”) AND HER TWO
COMPANIONS ON THEIR WAY TO THE COAST.]

[Illustration: A YOUNG HYENA, WHICH I HAD EXTRACTED FROM ITS LAIR,
RESISTED AT FIRST ALL EFFORTS AT TAMING IT.]

But we had our anxious moments. Death levied its toll among my people,
and the continual rumours of uprisings and attacks from outside gave
plenty to talk about during the whole day, and often far on into the
night over the camp-fire. When one of these charming African moonlit
nights had set in over my homestead, when the noise of the bearers
with their chatter and clatter had ceased, and my work, too, was done,
then I used to sit awhile in front of the flickering flames and think.
Or I would wander from fire to fire to exchange a few words with my
watchmen, to learn their news and their wishes and to ask much that I
wanted to know. This is the hour when men are most communicative, and
unless there be urgent need of sleep the conversation may continue far
into the night.

There is something strangely beautiful about those nights in the
wilderness. My thoughts go back to an encampment I once made at the
foot of the volcanic mountain of Gelei, close to a picturesque rocky
gorge, in the depths of which was a small stream--a mere trickle during
the hot weather. Its source lay in the midst of an extensive acacia
wood, which tailed off on one side into the bare, open “boga,” while
on the other it became merged in a dense thicket of euphorbia trees,
creepers, and elelescho bushes, impenetrable to men but affording a
refuge to animals, even to elephants. On the day before I had noted the
fact that Masai warriors had recently encamped in the neighbourhood,
with cattle which they had got hold of on a marauding expedition (and
some of which they had here slaughtered), and that with their booty
they had betaken themselves over the English frontier. It was quite
on the cards that roaming young Masai warriors would suddenly turn
up while I was there. It was several days’ journey to the nearest
inhabited region. For weeks together one would see no human soul save
for a nomadic hunter every now and again.

The great barren wilderness, which then in the dry season could boast
of no verdure save the evergreen Hunger-plant, so well suited to the
arid velt; the romantic site of my camp; the beautiful moonlight
night, darkened over from time to time by great masses of clouds,
heralding the approach of rain; the dangers lurking all around:
everything conspired to produce a wonderful effect upon the mind. The
night had come upon us silently, mysteriously, jet-black. Before the
moon rose, one’s fancy foreshadowed some sudden incursion into the
death-like darkness, the bodeful silence. There was something weird and
unnatural about the stillness--it suggested the calm before the storm.
Faint rustlings and cracklings and voices inaudible by day now made
themselves heard. The world of the little living things came by its
own, and crackled and rustled among plants and branches and reeds and
grass. Hark! Is that the sound of a cockchafer or a mouse, or is it the
footstep of a foe?... Even within my tent there are evidences
of life. Rats bestir themselves upon their daring enterprises, to
meet their end, here and there, in my traps. Emin Pasha has told us
how he experienced the same kind of thing. How dormice and beautiful
Sterkulien made their home in his camp, gleefully climbing up and
down the canvas of his tent during the night--doubtless gazing at the
strange white man with their great, dark, wide-open eyes, as they did
at me.... Save for these sounds there is complete stillness, broken
only by the voice of the night-jar, mournful and monotonous, as it
wings its eerie, noiseless flight in and out of the firelight and round
and round the camp.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

VULTURES ON THE WING.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

VULTURES HOVERING OVER THE CARCASE OF A GNU WHICH HAD BEEN KILLED BY A
LION.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

VULTURES MOVING AWAY FROM A CARCASE, STARTLED AT MY APPROACH. (WHEN
FIGHTING OVER A CARCASE, THEY GIVE OUT A HISSING KIND Of SOUND.)]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

MY PELICANS (_TANTALUS IBIS_, L.), WHICH AFTERWARDS TOOK UP THEIR ABODE
IN THE BERLIN ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS.]

[Illustration: A SIESTA IN CAMP. THE MIDDAY HOUR.]

Beyond the glow of the camp-fire our eyes cannot travel--we cannot see
what is happening outside the camp, even quite close at hand. This
intensifies one’s feeling of insecurity, for I know well how suddenly
and with what lightning speed the great felines manage their attacks.
It is in just such circumstances that so many men fall victims to
lion and leopard. One evening a leopard will snatch a small dog from
your feet, the next it will carry off one of the native women before
the eyes of the whole population of your camp. You must have had such
things happen to you, or hear of them from eye-witnesses, to realise
the danger.

Near my tent stand two hoary old trees all hung with creepers. In the
uncertain firelight they seem to be a-quiver with life, and they throw
phantom-like shadows. I hear the soft footsteps of the watch--they
recall me to actualities. Now the moon emerges, and suddenly sheds its
brilliant radiance over the entire velt. It is like the withdrawing of
a pall. My thoughts wander away upon the moonbeams, and travel on and
on, over land and sea, like homing birds.... The reader who would steep
himself in the beauty and strangeness of this African camp-life should
turn to the pages of that splendid work _Caput Nili_, by my friend
Richard Kandt. There he will find it all described by a master-hand
in a series of exquisite nature-pictures. In language full of poetic
beauty he gives us the very soul of the wilderness. These studies and
sketches, from the pen of the man who discovered the sources of the
Nile, are a veritable work of art. It is easier for the nature-lover to
give himself up to the charms of this African solitude than to
set them forth adequately in words.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

A STRANGE FRIENDSHIP SPRANG UP BETWEEN A SMALL APE AND A GOSHAWK THAT
I HAD AT HOME AT AN EARLIER DATE. THE APE USED OFTEN TO PULL THE BIRD
ABOUT PLAYFULLY, WHILE TWO STORKS LOOKED ON WITH INTEREST.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

“FATIMA” PROWLING ROUND. SHE WAS ON PARTICULARLY GOOD TERMS WITH THE
MARABOU.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

CARRYING A FINE LEOPARD, WEIGHING 145 POUNDS, INTO CAMP. IT HAD BEEN
TRAPPED.]

[Illustration:

    THE BEARERS ALWAYS LIKE TO “KILL” THE GAME IN ACCORDANCE WITH
    MOHAMMEDAN RITES, EVEN WHEN DEATH HAS ALREADY BEEN ENSURED BY
    THE HUNTERS AND HAS BEGUN TO SET IN. WHEN THESE RITES CANNOT BE
    FULFILLED, THEY WILL SOMETIMES REFUSE TO EAT THE FLESH.]

[Illustration: WHILE THE GAME IS BEING CUT UP, THE NATIVES OFTEN HAVE
RECOURSE TO INNOCENT HORSEPLAY BY WAY OF VENTING THEIR HIGH SPIRITS.]

Wonderful, indeed, is the beauty of those African moonlight nights.
Their radiant splendour is a thing never to be forgotten. How taint and
faded in comparison seem our moonlight nights at home!

[Illustration: A TRAPPED LEOPARD.]

Through the camp, past the smouldering and flickering fires, the Askari
sentry wanders noiselessly. He is a man well on in years--a tried man
who has often been with me before. Years ago he vowed he would never
again return to the wilderness with a “Safari,” yet every time I
revisit Africa the spell of the wild has come over him anew, and he has
been unable to resist.

He comes to me now and says, as he has had so often to say before:
“Master, do you hear the lions yonder in the distance?” And he makes
his way towards the great fire in the centre of the camp and throws
some fresh logs upon it. Flames spring up, blazing and flickering in
the moonlight.

[Illustration: THE BABOON AND THE LITTLE BLACK LADY.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

MOONLIGHT ON THE VELT.]



[Illustration: A FOWL OF THE VELT (_PTEROCLES GUTTURALIS SATURATIOR_,
Hart).]

XV

Night Photography under Difficulties


There is a notion prevalent, due to superficial observers, that there
are certain drinking-places to which the wild animals are bound to come
to quench their thirst, in all circumstances, during the hot season.
Were this so the animals would have ceased ere now to exist. The
poisoned arrow of the native, or the rifle of the white man, would long
since have exterminated them. It is the case, however, that you can
count upon finding game at specific drinking-places in the hot weather
under certain circumstances, though much depends upon the direction of
the wind and other things. The appearance of the larger beasts of prey
by the waterside is enough, for instance, to make the others keep their
distance for a considerable time.

When I have encamped in such localities it has generally been with a
view to securing specimens of rare birds, and apart from this I have
confined myself to making observations of the life of the animals. Very
large bull-elephants were the only kind of big game that I had any mind
to shoot, for I was never at a loss for other kinds. Elephants roam
about in the hot season from one watering-place to another, sometimes
covering great distances. They know the danger they run in frequenting
any one particular watering-place too regularly. This is true of herds
of other animals as well.

These watering-places are, of course, very productive to the natives,
who make no account of time and who spread themselves out over a number
of them during the hot weather, thus multiplying their chances. But the
havoc worked among the wild animals by their poisoned arrows or the
other methods of hunting which they practise, when they have not taken
to powder and shot, is not serious. They have been hunting in this way
since prehistoric ages, and yet have been able to hand over the animal
kingdom to us Europeans in all the fulness and abundance that have
aroused our wonder and admiration wherever we have set foot for the
first time.

In the course of my last journey I encamped for the second time at the
foot of the Donje-Erok mountain (the circuit of which is a two-days’
march), to the north-west of Kilimanjaro. The region had been well
known to me since 1899. Previously to then it had been traversed only
by Count Teleki’s expedition. His comrade, the well-known geographer
Ritter von Höhnel, had marked its outlines on the map. No one, however,
had penetrated into the interior, and here a wonderful field offered
itself to the sportsman and explorer. A number of small streams take
their rise on the Donje-Erok. In the dry weather these are speedily
absorbed by the sun-dried soil of the velt, but in the wet season
they have quite a long course, and combine to form a series of small
swamps. When these have gradually begun to dry and have come to be
mere stretches of blackish mud, they reveal the tracks of the herds
of animals that have waded through them, elephants and rhinoceroses
especially--mighty autographs imprinted like Runic letters upon wax.

[Illustration: A RIVER-HORSE RESORT.]

In the dry season great numbers of animals made always for a
source--very speedily dried up--to the south of the mountain. It was in
this vicinity that I proposed to secure my pictures of wild life.

My caravan was very much on the _qui vive_ when at last, after a long
march, we were able to strike camp. We had been attacked by a band of
Masai warriors during the night and had driven them off. It was only
natural, therefore, that we should exercise some caution. But our
fatigue overcame all anxiety as to another attack. We had made a long
forced march, and were worn out with our exertions and our sufferings
from thirst and the heat. Some of the bearers, succumbing under the
weight of their burdens, had remained behind. We had started on the
previous morning, each of us provided as well as was practicable with
water, and had marched until dark, passing the night waterless and
pressing on at daybreak. It was absolutely essential now to get to
a watering-place, so we put out all our efforts, just succeeding in
reaching our goal after nightfall. This march was the more exhausting
in that we had had only two hours’ sleep before the fray with the
Masai. The bearers we had been obliged to leave behind were afterwards
brought into camp safely by a relief party.

On exploring our vicinity next morning we found that our camp,
which was to some degree safeguarded by a thorn-fence--a so-called
“boma”--adjoined several earlier camps of native elephant-hunters,
protected by strong palisades: a thing that had often happened to us
before. These camps are to be recognised by the empty powder-casks left
about or by the erection somewhere near of a fetich or charm to ward
off evil, or something of the kind. It is only the natives who use
firearms that have resort to such practices. So far as I know neither
the Wakamba nor the Wandorobo are addicted to them. In this particular
case the charm took the shape of an arrangement of large snail-shells
in the midst of a small enclosure four feet square. That it proved
efficacious was suggested by the spectacle of the skulls and remains
of some twenty recently killed rhinoceroses within a few paces of the
camp.... I had met with just the same state of things in 1900. These
“sanctioned” elephant-hunters--or, to use the recognised term, these
“trustworthy Fundi”--are an absolute pest. The arch exterminator of the
elephants in the Kilimanjaro region was Schundi, the former slave of
a Kavirondo chief. Schundi, in his capacity as a political agent and
licensed elephant-hunter, scoured the entire country with his men from
1893 to 1900.[19]

[Illustration: ONE OF THE PEAKS OF DONJE-EROK, IN THE VICINITY OF
KILIMANJARO.]

In the heart of the thicket we came suddenly upon a quite recent camp
of native hunters of some kind--not Wandorobo, we judged, from utensils
which they left behind, of a sort the Wandorobo never use. I was aware
that other tribes had taken to hunting the animals in this region,
the Masai themselves setting about it quite in the Wandorobo fashion.
Our chief “find” in the camp, however, was a collection of some forty
zebra-hides, quite freshly secured, and about the same number of hides
of gnus as well as others of smaller game. Most of these skins were
stretched out on the ground to dry, fixed with pegs. Probably the
fugitives had taken a number of others away with them. I came to the
conclusion that the natives were of the class that hunt on behalf of
Indian, Greek, and other traders--a class far too numerous nowadays.
The traders pay them very little for their labours, and themselves make
huge profits out of it all.

I took possession of the skins, prepared the best of them very
thoroughly and carefully, and then sent them to Moschi, for despatch
to the Berlin Museum. This task occupied me for two days, but I
undertook it with gusto, for I knew that by reason of the variety of
species of zebras and gnus frequenting this region, this big collection
of skins was of great scientific value. And I rejoiced the more
over my treasure-trove in that it exempted me from shooting any more
zebras or gnus myself. But my calculations were all to be upset. On my
notification to the station that I had not bagged the animals myself,
but had found them lying about in a bush-camp where they had been
abandoned by nomadic native hunters, it was decided that they could not
be recognised as my property without further proceedings. Eventually
the matter was decided in my favour by a governmental decree, but
in the meantime the skins were considerably damaged by insects and
otherwise. Could I have foreseen this, I should not have been at the
trouble and serious expense of saving them, but should have left them
as a welcome feast to the hyenas and jackals. What I was still able to
save out of the lot I sent later to the Berlin Museum.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

WHEN STARTING ON A LONG “TELEKESA-MARCH”--A MARCH OF MORE THAN
TWENTY-FOUR HOURS BEFORE REACHING THE NEXT WATERING-PLACE--MY MEN
PROVIDED THEMSELVES WITH AS MUCH WATER AS THEY COULD CARRY.]

[Illustration: VULTURES.]

Near some of the drinking-places along the river I found the cleverly
contrived reed-shelters behind which the natives take refuge. The
immense numbers of vultures and jackals and hyenas showed that these
gluttonous creatures had found an abundance of provender, especially
near the deserted camp. The vultures, which were of various species,
came down from their perches on the trees and settled on the ground
quite near us. It was brooding-time for some of the larger species, and
presently I found a great number of their nests with young birds in
them. It was very interesting to watch the old birds and their young
together.

It took me about a week to decide on the spots best suited for my
flashlight photographs. After a good deal of really hard work, and
after any number of unsuccessful efforts, I was at last satisfied that
my three cameras were so placed as to promise good results if I had any
luck. But the fates seemed against me. There were hundreds of different
drinking-places along the course of the stream, and with so great a
choice at their disposal the animals appeared to give my camera a wide
berth.

Some days later we had an unpleasant surprise. One of my Askaris had
gone at daybreak, as was his custom, to examine one of my jackal traps.
Suddenly we heard the sound of shots in the direction of the trap,
about twenty minutes’ walk from the camp. As in view of my strict
orders against shooting at game there could be no question of this, we
at once assumed that we had to reckon with an attack by natives. In a
trice I had all my arrangements made. Dividing my armed followers
into two sections, I set out instantly with one of them in the
direction of the Askari, leaving the other with Orgeich to defend the
camp.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

FLASHLIGHT PHOTOGRAPHS.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

FLASHLIGHT PHOTOGRAPHS OF HYENAS (_HYÆNA SCHILLINGSI_, Mtsch.) AND
JACKALS.]

What had happened? It was the old story, so familiar to all experienced
travellers, and showing how easily one may be drawn into a fight, yet
how easily trouble may be avoided if one takes the right line. My
Askari, normally a very steady and reliable man who had been in the
service of the Government, had been startled by the sudden apparition
right in front of him of a great band of Masai warriors armed with
spears. They had raised their spears, no doubt instinctively, at the
sight of the rifle-bearing soldier. He, for his part, and his two
unarmed comrades, jumped simultaneously to the conclusion that these
were the same Masai who had previously attacked us. He decided at once
to fire. In an instant the Masai vanished in every direction.

It was not a laughing matter. There had been recent fights in the
neighbourhood of my camp between Masai warriors and the inhabitants of
the Uferi district--the remains of men who had been killed in these
frays bore witness to the truth of what my guides had told me about
them. And it was not long since certain European cattle-dealers, at a
spot some two days’ journey farther on, had been murdered by the Masai.
These facts, taken in connection with the night-attack, made us realise
the need of caution.

On reaching the scene of the incident, I ascertained that a great band
of Masai, accompanied by their wives, had been seen on the previous
evening in the neighbourhood of the stream, and that they had encamped
for the night in a mouldering old kraal in the thorn-thicket, and it
was while slumbering peacefully in this that they were disturbed by my
Askari. Scattered all over the place were goods and chattels of various
descriptions which they had left behind them in their hasty flight,
and which I now had carefully collected together. From their nature I
concluded that the Masai were making for some place at a considerable
distance, and that there was, therefore, no danger of unpleasant
consequences. I returned to my camp to reassure my people, and at once
got some of my Masai friends, who had been with me for a long time, to
go after the fugitives and bring them back. That was the only way to
effect an understanding--any other messengers would have failed in the
mission.

Towards midday my Masai returned to camp with some thirty of the
spear-armed warriors and a number of their women-folk. I gave them
back their belongings, together with a present by way of _amende_ for
their fright. This they accepted with equanimity after the manner of
all natives. Then they took their departure, the incident being thus
happily terminated without bloodshed.

Curiously enough, Orgeich had had a somewhat similar encounter with
Masai a short time before. He had been for a turn in the neighbourhood
of the camp, and was coming back in the dark along a rhinoceros-track.
When he had got to within a quarter of an hour’s walk of the camp,
there was a sudden clatter right in front of him, and in the uncertain
moonlight he descried a band of armed Masai. Remembering the recent
night-encounter he instantly raised his rifle to fire. But the veteran
soldier had self-control enough to resist the impulse, and in this case
also there were no ill consequences. But, as he still continues to
declare, it was a near thing.

[Illustration: MY NIGHT-APPARATUS IN POSITION, READY TO WORK.]

Such incidents, it will be recognised, can very easily lead to serious
results.

Later I was to have an unpleasant experience in regard to natives. A
band of nomadic hunters, perhaps those who had encamped where I found
the zebra-skins, had “gone for” two of my cameras. They had taken away
all those parts of them that could be of any use to them, and left
them of course quite useless to me. It is noteworthy that they did not
smash them to pieces, as Europeans might have done. They had merely
detached the metal portions and others which they could turn to some
account. This loss was, however, very annoying to me, and I found it
necessary to establish two relays of men on guard to look after the
sole remaining apparatus throughout the day.

[Illustration: A PET OF THE CARAVAN.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

    A BAOBAB (_ADANSONIA DIGITATA_). THESE TREES ARE OFTEN BELIEVED
    BY THE NATIVES TO BE INHABITED BY GHOSTS. THEY USED TO COME INTO
    THE STORIES TOLD BY MY FOLLOWERS.]



[Illustration: THE FIRST FLASHLIGHT PHOTOGRAPH WITH WHICH I HAD ANY
MEASURE OF SUCCESS! A MONGOOSE MAY BE JUST GUESSED AT UNDER THE
THORN-BRANCH.]

XVI

Photography by Day and by Night


There is an old German recipe for the catching of a lion: you put the
Sahara through a sieve--and behold the King of Beasts!

The photographing of lions is not to be managed so easily. I am always
being asked how I took my photographs. I shall try to give an answer in
the following pages.

Before _With Flashlight and Rifle_ was published, the only successful
photographs taken by night that were known to me were some few
excellent pictures of certain species of American deer, secured by
an enthusiastic sportsman (a legal official in the service of the
Government of the United States) after years of untiring effort.
After any number of fruitless attempts, this gentleman contrived to
photograph these animals grazing by night near the banks of a river
down which he drifted in a boat. He set up a row of cameras in the
bow of his craft, and when it passed close to the deer standing in the
water, he let his flashlight flame out, and in this way produced in the
course of ten years or so--a number of very interesting photographic
studies, which made his name well known in his own country and which
won him a gold medal at a Paris Exhibition, where his work aroused
much attention. I was familiar also with the “telephoto” pictures
which Lord Delamere brought home from East Africa.[20] Those of Mr.
Edward North Buxton were published first in 1902, so far as I know. I
myself, I should explain, do not profess to be a complete master of
the photographer’s art. Indeed, I rather rejoice in my ignorance of
many of the inner secrets of the craft known only to experts, because
I believe it has helped me to get a certain character into my pictures
which would perhaps have eluded one whose mind was taken up with all
the difficulties involved in the task.

At first sight the photographing of animals may seem a simple enough
matter, but if we look at the photographs taken in zoological gardens
or in menageries or game reservations, or photographs taken during the
winter at spots to which the animals have had to come for food, or at
the various touched-up photographs one sees, we shall find that there
are very few of any real worth from the standpoint of the naturalist.
Whoever would take photographs of value should take care that they be
in no way altered or touched up. Touched-up photographs are never
to be trusted.

[Illustration: THE APPARATUS WHICH I FIRST USED FOR MY
NIGHT-PHOTOGRAPHS, WITH THE SHUTTER KEPT OPEN (_see_ p. 687).]

[Illustration: THE GOERZ-SCHILLINGS NIGHT-APPARATUS.]

The story of my progress in the art of animal photography is soon told.

In 1896 and 1897 I was not adequately equipped, and I took only a few
photographs, all by daylight.

After going through a careful course of instruction in Kiesling’s
Photographic Institution, I did not succeed in entirely satisfying
myself with the daylight photographs I took on my second expedition
of 1899-1900. It was impossible at that time to photograph objects
at great distances, the telephoto lens not yet carrying far enough.
My efforts to photograph the animals by night proved entirely
fruitless, for one reason because the flashlight apparatus would
not work. It was exasperating to find that my heavy and expensive
“accumulators”--procured after consultation with technical
experts--refused to act, and I remember vividly how I flung them out
into the middle of a river! I achieved but one single success at this
period with a self-acting apparatus, namely the photograph of two
vultures contending over carrion, here reproduced; one of them has been
feeding, and the other is just about to assert its right to part of
the meal. The attitudes of the two birds are very interesting, and one
feels that it would have been very difficult for a painter to have put
them on record. But all my other attempts failed, as I have said, from
technical causes, and I had to content myself for the most part with
photographing the animals I hunted, though I did succeed in getting
pictures of a waterbuck and a giraffe at which I had not shot. My
photographs won so much approval from experts on my return home that I
was encouraged to go further in this direction.

But what difficulties I had to overcome! So far back as the year 1863 a
German explorer, Professor Fritsch, now a member of the Privy Council,
had set about the task of photographing wild animals in South Africa.
Those were the days of wet collodion plates, and it is really wonderful
how Professor Fritsch managed to cope with all the difficulties he had
to face so far from all possibility of assistance. He succeeded in the
course of his expedition in photographing an African wild animal upon
a dry plate for the first time on record. By his kindness I am enabled
to reproduce this historical picture here--it is a thing of real value.
It is the photograph of an eland, at that time an animal often met with
in Cape Colony, where game of all kinds has now been almost completely
exterminated. Professor Fritsch’s account of his experiences should
be heard for one to form any notion of the wealth of animal life that
then adorned the South African velt. His photographs are especially
interesting as the first of their kind. It was not until nearly forty
years later that the English sportsmen already mentioned and I myself
embarked systematically upon similar enterprises.

On my third expedition in 1902 I tried to photograph with two telephoto
cameras which had been placed at my disposal by the Goerz Optical
Institute. Without attempting to explain the complicated mechanism
of these apparatus--the idea of which came first to English
travellers--I may say that they are beset with difficulties. They
require a long exposure, and are best suited, therefore, for stationary
objects. If you wish to photograph animals in motion, you must learn
to expose your negative long enough to secure a clear impression, yet
not so long as to make the moving animals come out quite blurred. I
am strongly of opinion that it is not of much advantage to make out a
table of calculations as to the time of exposure. Experience alone
can enable you to judge what exposure to allow. When you have got your
shutter to the correct speed and chosen the correct diaphragm for your
lens, you must get into the way of using the camera as quickly and
deftly as your rifle.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

AUTOMATICALLY TAKEN PHOTOGRAPH OF TWO VULTURES ENGAGING IN A CONTEST
OVER CARRION.]

[Illustration:

    THE FIRST DRY-PLATE PHOTOGRAPH, PROBABLY, EVER TAKEN IN THE
    AFRICAN DESERT. THE WORK OF ONE OF THE OLDEST OF AFRICAN
    EXPLORERS, PROFESSOR FRITSCH, IT REPRESENTS AN ELAND WHICH HE HAD
    KILLED--A SPECIES THEN FREQUENTLY MET WITH IN CAPE COLONY.]

In this way, just as in shooting, you will learn to allow for the
movements of the object you are aiming at--you will let your camera
move accordingly. This needs a lot of practice. At the period when I
was using the Goerz apparatus, a large number of similar cameras of all
sizes were returned to the manufactory by practical photographers as
unuseable. This shows how difficult it is to form any opinion as to the
possibilities of the telephoto lens without going in for thorough and
repeated experiments.

It is only on rare occasions that you are able to use a stand-camera
for photographing objects at a distance. In most cases you must
shoulder your photographic gun, and it may be easily imagined what
dexterity is required for its proper management. In following up
the moving object with your lens you inevitably make the background
something of a blur. You are apt at the same time to under-expose. The
change of diaphragm and the modification of the speed of the shutter
involve many failures. The telephoto lens has this advantage, however,
that you can generally get good results with it at a hundred paces. In
the case of birds on the wing, either rising or flying past you, you
have to get into the way of reckoning the distance--a difficult matter.
Of course you must always have the sun more or less behind you. The
conditions of the atmosphere in the tropics--the shimmering waves of
light that rise up out of the scorched soil, for instance--make it
peculiarly hard to calculate the time of exposure, and many photographs
turn out failures which you have felt quite sure of having taken
properly. This is specially disappointing in the case of animals that
you may never have another opportunity of photographing. In such cases
I make a practice of giving as many exposures as possible, in the hope
of one or other of them turning out right.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

THIS PHOTOGRAPH BEARS WITNESS TO THE DESIRABILITY OF HAVING PERFECTED
FILMS TO WORK WITH; FOR GLASSES PLATES ARE APT TO BREAK AND GOOD
PICTURES TO BE QUITE SPOILT IN CONSEQUENCE.]

You often miss splendid chances, of course, simply through not having
your camera at hand. A few moments’ delay may lose you an opportunity
that will never come to you again. Then, again, you are just as apt
in Africa as elsewhere to make the mistakes so well known to all
photographers--wrong focussing, using the same plate twice, not getting
your objects properly on the plate, etc. Nor can you always avoid
having a tree or bush or branch between you and the animal you want to
photograph. These things are often enough to quite spoil your picture.
The weight of the camera, too, is in itself a hindrance. It is not
every one who can handle a 13 × 18-cm. telephoto camera. Even a 9 ×
12-cm. is heavy enough. It must be remembered that on one’s journeyings
through the wilderness it is almost as much as one can do to carry with
one a sufficient supply of water--that most essential thing of all. And
one has to be most careful of the apparatus, for mischances may occur
at any moment.

Though my experiences and those of others will have had the effect of
smoothing the way for all who go photographing in future in Equatorial
Africa, still, hunting with the camera will remain a much more
difficult thing than hunting with the rifle. The practised shot needs
only a fraction of a second to bring down his game--often he scarcely
even sees it, and fires at it through dense shrubs or bushes, whereas
the photographer can achieve nothing until he has contrived to secure
a combination of favourable conditions, and he wants in many cases to
“bring down” not just one animal, but a whole herd. His most tempting
chances come to him very often when he is unprepared. That is why I
insist upon the desirability of his shouldering a camera like a gun.
At short range you can secure wonderful pictures even with an ordinary
small hand-camera, but for this kind of work you must of course have
good nerves.... It was in this way I took the photographs of the
rhinoceroses in the pool reproduced in _With Flashlight and Rifle_,
some of the best I ever secured. One of these, taken at a distance
of fifteen or twenty paces, shows the “rhino,” not yet hit, rushing
down upon Orgeich and me. In another instant I had thrown my little
hand-camera to the ground, and just managed to get a bullet into him in
the nick of time. He swerved to one side and made off into the thicket,
where I eventually secured him. He is now to be seen in the Munich
Museum.

A fruitful source of disillusionment lies in the fact that the plates
are sensitive to the light to a degree so different from our eyes. As
the blue and violet rays chiefly act upon them, they cannot render the
real effects of colouring. It is greatly to be desired that we should
manage to perfect orthochromatic plates, sensitive to green, yellow and
red rays of light. I myself have been unable to secure good results
with orthochromatic plates with the telephoto lens, as I have found
them always too little sensitive to white light for instantaneous work.
Latterly there has been produced a new kind of panchromatic plate which
only needs an exposure of one-fiftieth part of a second, and I would
strongly recommend its use for the photographing of animals for this
reason.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

    A PLATE WHICH I EXPOSED TWICE BY MISTAKE--SUCH MISTAKES WILL
    HAPPEN SOMETIMES, HOWEVER CAREFUL ONE MAY BE. IN ADDITION TO THE
    GNUS AND ZEBRAS WHICH STAND OUT CLEARLY IN THE PICTURE, FAINT
    OUTLINES OF HARTEBEESTS (ON A SMALLER SCALE) MAY BE DESCRIED.]

In the animal pictures of the Munich painter Zügel, we see admirably
rendered all the many shades of colouring we note, under different
conditions, close at hand or far away, when we have the actual wild
life before our eyes. There we note that the upper part of the animal’s
body often reflects so strongly the cold blue of the sky that its own
colouring is, as it were, cancelled, or at least very greatly modified.
We note, too, that an animal in reality reddish-brown in colour becomes
violet owing to the blue in the atmosphere. Refinements of form and
hue are lost in the glare of the sun, and only the stronger outlines
and more pronounced colours assert themselves. Sometimes the sun’s
rays, reflected from the animals’ skins, produce the effect of glowing
patches of light, sometimes they are absorbed; sometimes the animals
look quite black, sometimes absolutely white. Photographs of animals
taken under such conditions do not, of course, give a good idea of the
normal colouring of the animals. The success of a photograph depends,
therefore, very largely upon the nature of the light.

For an effective picture you need to have a group of animals either
standing still or in motion, and this you can very seldom get at close
quarters, though now and again you may happen upon them standing under
trees; and when this occurs you may hope for good results, because the
way in which the blue rays of light are reflected from the trees has a
favourable effect upon the bromide-silver plates.

While it is true that there can be nothing more disappointing than
the discovery, when developing one’s photographs of animals in a
country like Africa, that negatives of which one had great hopes are
no good, this very possibility adds to the fascination of the work,
and is, as it were, a link between the sport and that of our fathers
and grandfathers. The kind of rifle-shooting we go in for nowadays
has nothing in common with that of the hunter who was dependent upon
a single bullet the effect of which he could only get to make sure of
after long experience. To the true sportsman the camera is the best
substitute for the old-fashioned gun, inasmuch as it involves very much
the same degree of difficulty and danger.

How keenly I regret that I had not the advantage from the first of
the perfected photographic apparatus that has come into existence as
the result of long experience! I look back with regret upon the many
failures I experienced in my earlier efforts, the excitement of the
moment often causing me to neglect some necessary precaution. Lions,
rhinoceroses, hippopotami, giraffes, and antelopes innumerable--nearly
all my attempts to photograph them were fruitless. When I came to
develop the negatives at night-time I would find a blurred suggestion
of the objects I had seen so distinctly before me in the daylight,
or else, owing to some mishap, an absolute blank. All the greater was
my joy when on rare occasions I did succeed in getting such pictures as
those of the rhinoceroses already referred to.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

A TELEPHOTOGRAPH OF OSTRICHES, SCARCELY DISCERNIBLE TO THE LEFT OF THE
PICTURE.]

I made it a practice to develop at night in my tent, as soon as I
possibly could, all negatives that I thought at all likely to be
successful. The only negatives I sent to Europe were duplicates of
those which I had already developed myself. At home, of course, the
developing can be done much more carefully. No one who has not had the
experience can realise what it means to have to develop plates in the
heat and damp of Equatorial Africa and with the kind of water at one’s
disposal there. When I found that my negatives were successful, not
content with developing them, I always made a number of bromide-silver
copies of them. These were put away in separate cases and the original
was despatched home as soon as possible. If this original negative got
lost _en route_, I was almost sure of having one of the copies, even if
some of the packing-cases got lost also.

The photographer can always console himself with the reflection, in
the midst of all his hardships and mishaps, that the pictures he does
succeed in taking count for more than so many head of game.

It is very interesting to note that my photographs of birds on the
wing have put so many people, especially painters, in mind of the work
of Japanese artists. Doflein, in his book _Ostasienfahrt_, speaks as
follows of the peculiar faculty the Japanese have in this field of art.
“The Japanese animal painters,” he says, “show a more highly developed
power of observing nature than that of their Western fellow-workers.
They render the swift, sudden motion of animals with astonishing
dexterity.... They had learned to see and reproduce them correctly
before the coming of instantaneous photography.... The Japanese seem to
have a very highly developed nervous organism. Their art is evidence
of this, no less than their methods of warfare--their effective use of
their guns at sea, for instance.”

I would add to this my own opinion that an inferior shot would have no
success whatever with a telephoto lens. You must have learnt to stalk
your quarry warily--this is as important as a steady hand. A practised
shot who knows how to get within range of the animals is peculiarly
well fitted for the work. The least twitch at the moment of taking the
photograph ruins everything, for even in the case of moving objects the
exposure is not what can be accurately called instantaneous, owing to
the peculiarity of the lens.

I have already expressed my view that this non-instantaneous exposure
(when not too prolonged) imparts a certain softness and vagueness
to the photograph which give it an artistic effect. It gives scope
also for the personal taste and preferences of the operator. When
taken against the horizon photographs require less exposure than with
the velt for background. The dark green of the trees and shrubs no
less than the red laterite soil offering unfavourable backgrounds
for photographs of animals in Africa, as elsewhere, one has to pay
particular attention, of course, to the effects of shadows, shadows
which to the eye seem quite natural producing extraordinary effects
upon the negatives.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

    PHOTOGRAPHS OF BIRDS TAKEN WITH THE TELEPHOTO-LENS AT DISTANCES
    VARYING FROM 20 TO 200 PACES. 1. SPURRED GOOSE (_PLECTROPTERUS
    GAMBENSIS_, L.). 2. DARTER OR “SNAKE-NECK” (_ANHINGA RUFA LACEP_,
    Daud.). 3. GREATER CORMORANT (_PHALACROCORAN LUCIDUS LUGUBRIS_,
    Rüpp.). 4. YELLOW-FLUTED FRANCOLIN (_PTERNISTES LEUCOSEPUS
    INFUSCATUS_, Cab.). 5. A BIRD OF PREY (_MELIERAN POLIOPTERUS_,
    Cab.)(?) 6. BEE-EATER (_MELITTOPHAGUS MERIDIONALIS_, Sharpe).
    7. SHRIKE (_LANIUS CAUDATUS_, Cab.). 8. PELICAN (_PELICANUS
    RUFESCENS_, Gm.).]

[Illustration:

    TELEPHOTOGRAPHS OF BIRDS ON THE WING. FIRST ROW: THE
    STORK-VULTURE (_SERPENTARIUS SERPENTARIUS_ [MILLER]). SECOND
    ROW: HAMMERHEAD (_SCOPUS UMBRETTA_, Gm.), SMALL BUSTARD (_OTIS
    GINDIANA_ [OUST]) SADDLE STORK (_EPHIPPIORHYNCHUS SENEGALENSIS_
    [SHAW]). THIRD ROW: BATELEUR EAGLE (_HELOTARSUS ECAUDATUS_
    [DAUD.]), VULTURE (_PSEUDOGYPS AFRICANUS SCHILLINGSI_, Erl.),
    MARABOU (_LEPTOPTILOS CRUMENIFER_, [CUV.], Less.).]

[Illustration:

    TELEPHOTOGRAPH OF A DWARF GAZELLE (_GAZELLA THOMSONI_, Gther.)
    IN FULL FLIGHT, TAKEN AT A DISTANCE OF 60 PACES. WHEN ANIMALS
    IN RAPID MOTION ARE THUS PHOTOGRAPHED, THE BACKGROUND ALMOST
    INEVITABLY COMES OUT BLURRED.]

Some of the photographer’s difficulties are avoided when he uses a
heavy lens with a long focus. These can be easily used in a strong
light. On the other hand they have many drawbacks--they are too apt,
especially, to give a blurred effect to the background in the case of
objects photographed near at hand. This entails the loss of one of
the essential elements of such pictures, namely the representation of
the animal in its natural surroundings. However, I would like to call
the attention of all travellers to the fact that such apparatus are
available. Their weight and size entail the putting forth of great
strength and energy, both in the carrying of them and the handling of
them, but to my mind no trouble and no exertion could be excessive
in the work of securing records of what is left us of animal life, in
the spirit in which Professor Fritsch achieved his task in South Africa.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

JACKAL TAKING TO FLIGHT, STARTLED BY THE FLASHLIGHT.]

The impossibility of securing sharp, clearly defined impressions of
the animals with the telephoto lens at a hundred paces or more, and
the few chances I had of photographing them close at hand by daylight,
were responsible partly for my determination to go in for flashlight
pictures by night. At first my idea was discouraged and opposed by
expert advisers, but the Goerz-Schillings apparatus was evolved out
of my experiments and makes it possible now to secure excellent
representations of wild life.

As I have said already, I did not succeed with my flashlight
photographs on my second expedition. And my third expedition, on
which I managed to take a few, was brought to a sudden end by severe
illness. At that time I had not found a way to combine the working of
the flashlight with that of the shutter, essential to the photographing
of objects in rapid motion. My cameras stood ready for use in the dark
with the lens uncovered and the plates exposed, the shutter being
closed automatically when the flashlight contrivance worked. To my
surprise and disappointment this arrangement proved too slow; the
exposure was too long in the case of animals moving quickly. Jackals
emerged from my negatives with six heads, hyenas with long snake-like
bodies. Unfortunately I destroyed all these monstrosities, and cannot
therefore reproduce any of them here. Now and again, however, I was
fortunate enough to get a picture worth having--for instance, that of a
hyena making off with the head of a zebra, and that of three jackals,
included in the illustrations to _With Flashlight and Rifle_. The first
photograph I succeeded with in 1902 was that of a mongoose coming
up to the bait placed for him. On page 657 the reader may see this
marten-like animal taking to flight among the thorn-bushes. I secured a
number of other pictures, notably of hyenas, both spotted and striped,
and of jackals, in all kinds of strange positions, moving hither and
thither in search of prey.

What a state of excitement and suspense I used to be in at first when
the flashlight flamed out--until I got to realise that owing to the
rapid movements of the animals most of the photographs were sure to be
failures.

My illness and return from this expedition proved really an advantage
in the long run, inasmuch as they enabled me to get the apparatus
brought to such perfection as to render possible the photographing of
even the most rapid movements. This was brought about in the Goerz
Institute, Herr M. Kiesling contriving to secure the simultaneous
operation of the flashlight and the shutter.

Equipped with this new apparatus, I set out on my fourth expedition,
betaking myself for two reasons to districts with which I was already
familiar. In the first place, success was much more likely in a country
the speech of whose inhabitants and all their habits and customs
were known to me; but my chief reason was that I wished to achieve a
pictorial record of the wild life of the German region of Africa. As a
matter of fact, with this kind of object in view, a man might
spend a lifetime in any such region, and find that, however narrow
its boundaries, it could always offer him fresh subjects for study and
observation.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

LIONESS FRIGHTENED AWAY FROM CARCASE BY THE FLASH-LIGHT.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

AIMING AT A PIGEON AND HITTING A CROW! I FOUND THIS SPOTTED HYENA ON
THE PLATE INSTEAD OF THE LION FOR WHICH IT WAS INTENDED.]

[Illustration: PHOTOGRAPH OF A JACKAL, TAKEN WITH A SMALL HAND-CAMERA.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

PHOTOGRAPH OF A JACKAL TAKEN WITH MY FIRST, PRIMITIVE NIGHT-APPARATUS,
NOT TOO SUCCESSFULLY!]

[Illustration:

    IN ORDER TO ENSURE SUCCESS WITH MY FLASHLIGHT-PHOTOS, I USED TO
    MAKE CONTINUAL EXPERIMENTS BEFOREHAND. I USED TO MAKE SOME OF MY
    MEN ACT AS MOVING MODELS, AND GET THEM TO WAVE CLOTHS IN THEIR
    HANDS.]

On arrival the photographic outfit proved so cumbersome, both as
regards transport and management, that both Prince Löwenstein, who
accompanied me, and who was not easily to be daunted by obstacles, and
also Orgeich gave expression to pessimistic views as to the possibility
of fulfilling my purpose.

No one, indeed, had been able to boast of success until then with
this new apparatus! I had yet to satisfy myself that it was really
efficacious--that, for instance, it would enable me to photograph
a lion falling upon its prey. Many were the fruitless experiments
witnessed by the Pangani forest. We experimented night after night, now
at one spot, now at another--my men learning to enact the rôle of lions
and other animals for the purpose. The Oriental and the negro are alike
in their bearing on such occasions, but these flashlight operations did
really succeed in arousing the wonder of my followers. The laughter
of my chief man still rings in my ears. “But the lions are far away,
master!” he would declare, utterly unable to understand my proceedings.
It took me long, and I had had a large number of failures, before I
succeeded in overcoming his attitude of incredulity.

As I have already intimated, the efficacy of the telephoto lens in
the tropics depends to an extraordinary degree on the conditions of
the atmosphere. The efficacy of the flashlight apparatus depends
upon the precise absolutely simultaneous working of the flashlight
and the shutter. It took me weeks and months (and I very nearly
gave the thing up as hopeless) before I managed to get good results
in the wilderness, though theoretically, and to a certain extent in
practice at home, the apparatus had been perfected. The heavy dew of
the tropical night, or a sudden shower of rain, may easily “do for” the
flashlight unless the apparatus has been thoroughly safeguarded. And
there are any number of other mishaps to be provided against. On one
occasion hyenas carried off the linen sandbags that form part of the
apparatus; mongooses made away with the aluminium lid of the lens-cap
and hid it in their stronghold, an ant-hill; ants gnawed the apparatus
itself. And when the photograph has at last been taken, a lot of other
harmful contingencies have to be kept in mind. The fact that several
shillings’ worth of powder is consumed in each explosion of the
flashlight is in itself a serious consideration. Of course, there is
always the additional danger of the cameras being stolen or destroyed
by natives--a misfortune I experienced more than once.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, photo._

    FLASHLIGHT FAILURES II. BLACK-HOOFED ANTELOPES COMING DOWN TO THE
    WATER-SIDE TO DRINK. THE BLEMISHES WERE CAUSED BY BITS OF THE
    MATERIAL WITH WHICH THE FLASHLIGHT POWDER WAS COVERED TO PROTECT
    IT FROM DAMP BEING BLOWN INTO THE AIR AND BURNING AS THEY FLEW IN
    FRONT OF THE LENS.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

HOW MY FLASHLIGHT PICTURES WERE APT TO BE SPOILT. I. THE ZEBRA IS
BEHIND THE STICK TO WHICH THE COMMUNICATING STRING IS ATTACHED.]

[Illustration: FLASHLIGHT FAILURES III. TWO TURTLE-DOVES (ONE ON THE
WING) SET MY NIGHT-APPARATUS WORKING. MISHAPS OF THIS KIND OFTEN OCCUR.]


[Illustration: FLASHLIGHT FAILURES IV. A BLACK-HOOFED ANTELOPE DOE
SWERVES SUDDENLY ROUND DURING THE FLASH.]

I would give the intending photographer a special warning against
careless handling of the explosive mixture. The various ingredients
are separately packed, of course, and are thus quite safe until the
time has come to mix them together (I know nothing of the ready-made
mixtures which are declared to be portable without danger). This
business of mixing them with a mortar is dangerous undoubtedly, for the
introduction of a grain of sand is enough to cause an explosion. I
myself, as well as others, have had some very narrow escapes whilst
thus occupied, and, as every photographer knows, the work has had fatal
results in several instances of recent years.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

    PHOTOGRAPHIC STUDIES OF ANTELOPES SHOT BY THE AUTHOR AND NOW TO
    BE SEEN PRESERVED IN GERMAN MUSEUMS. 1, 2. WATERBUCK (_COBUS.
    AFR. ELLIPSIPRYMNUS_, Ogilb.), MALE AND FEMALE. 3. ELAND (_OREAS
    LIVINGSTONI_, Sclat.), FEMALE. 4. MASAI HARTEBEEST (_BUBALIS
    COKEI_, Gthr.), YOUNG BUCK.]

My apparatus revealed several shortcomings even in the improved form.
It was not absolutely light-proof, and it had to be set up always,
for its automatic operation, in the brief tropical dusk. If no animal
presented itself for portraiture the plates exposed were always wasted,
unless at dawn they were withdrawn again. (This is not the case with
the apparatus as since perfected.)

Many wrong impressions are current in regard to this kind of
photography. It can be managed in two ways. Either the photographer
himself remains on the spot to attend in person both to the flashlight
and the exposure, or else the mechanism is worked by a string against
which the animal moves. Before I took my photographs I had been a
spectator of all the various incidents represented in them, watching
them all from hiding-places in dense thorn-bushes, thus coming, as it
were, into personal touch with lions and other animals. Though not so
dangerous really as camping out on the velt, where one’s fatigue and
the darkness leave one defenceless against the possible attacks of
elephants or rhinoceroses, you need good nerves to spend the night in
your thorn-thicket hiding-place with a view to flashlight snapshots of
lions at close quarters. In that interesting work _Zu den Aulihans_, by
Count Hoyos, and in Count Wickenburg’s _Wanderungen in Ostafrika_, the
reader will find interesting and authentic accounts of night-shoots
which correspond with my own experiences. Count Coudenhove in his
first book describes very vividly the effect upon the nerves of
the apparition of numbers of lions within a few paces of him, when
concealed in a thorn-bush at night.

There is a wonderful fascination at all times in lying in wait
by night for animals, and watching their goings and comings and
all their habits. Even here at home, in our game preserves, the
experience of passing hour after hour on the look-out has a charm
about it difficult to describe in words. Out in the wilderness it is
increased immeasurably. It is an intense pleasure to me to read other
people’s impressions of such experiences, when I feel the accounts are
trustworthy. They are so different in some respects, so much alike in
others. In my first book I cited Count Coudenhove, mentioned above,
in this connection, as a man of proved courage, who writes at once
sympathetically and convincingly. Here let me give a passage from the
book of another sportsman. Count Hans Palffy. In his _Wild und Hund_
he speaks as follows: “I had been waiting for two hours or so in the
darkness without being able to descry the carcase of the rhinoceros”
[which he himself had shot and which he was using as a bait for the
lion], “when suddenly I heard a sound like that of a heavy body
falling on the ground, and then almost immediately the lion began
growling beside the dead animal. I could hear the King of Beasts quite
distinctly, as he began to pull and bite at the flesh.... He would move
away from it every ten or twenty minutes, always in the same direction,
to give out a series of roars. The effect of this was magnificent
beyond description. Beginning always with a soft murmur, he gradually
raised his mighty voice into a peal of thunder--I never in my life
heard anything so beautiful.”

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

JACKALS. ONLY ONE IS VISIBLE, BUT THE GLEAMING EYES OF TWO OTHERS (NOS.
2 AND 3) GIVE A PECULIAR INTEREST TO THIS PHOTOGRAPH.]

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

    PHOTOGRAPHS OF EAST AFRICAN ANTELOPES SHOT BY THE AUTHOR AND
    NOW PRESERVED IN VARIOUS MUSEUMS. 1. SMALL KUDU (_STREPSICEROS
    IMBERBIS_, Blyth), BUCK. 2. DWARF GAZELLE (_GAZELLA THOMSONI_,
    Gthr.), BUCK. 3. WHITE-BEARDED GNU (_CONNOCHÆTES ALBOJUBATUS_,
    Thos.), BULL. 4. BUSH-BUCK (_TRAGELAPHUS MASAICUS_, Neum), BUCK.
    (THE FEMALE OF THE FIRST-NAMED AND LAST-NAMED SPECIES HAVE NO
    HORNS.)]

Both on account of the hardships and fatigue involved--which are
calculated in the long run to ruin his constitution--and also because
he really cannot manipulate his cameras successfully except on starry
or moonlight nights, it is most desirable for the photographer to
provide himself with an apparatus working automatically. You cannot
count upon its working as you would wish. The string which sets it in
action may be caught and pulled by a bat or even a cockchafer instead
of a lion you want to photograph. The photograph reproduced on p. 697,
for instance, was the work of the turtledoves therein visible. The
motion of their wings, it may be noted, was too quick for a clearly
defined record.

This picture, taken in the early morning, is a good instance of the
way in which I have always enforced my rule as to never touching up my
photographs. The plate was broken on its way home, but the cracks which
resulted were left as they were.[21] I remember one case in which I
had put up my apparatus with a view to securing photographs of certain
lions, and in which I had to be content with a picture of a spotted
hyena splashing its way in full flight through the swamp. The hideous
cowering gait of the animal came out very strikingly on the negative.

There is wide scope for a man’s dexterity and resourcefulness in the
setting up of a flashlight apparatus. All the qualities that go to the
making of a big-game hunter are essential to success in this field
also. You have to keep a sharp look-out for the tracks of the different
animals and to watch for their appearance, taking up your position in
some thorn-bush hiding-place or up a tree if you propose to operate the
camera yourself by means of a string. In the case of most animals you
have, of course, to pay special attention to the direction of the wind.
This is not necessary, however, in the case of lions. Lions take no
notice whatever of the man in hiding. Elephants, on the contrary, are
very easily excited, and when this is so they are apt to force their
way into his thorn retreat and trample on him or to drag him down from
his point of vantage.

       *       *       *       *       *

Future workers in this field will find that my labours have served to
some extent to clear the ground for them, and we may look forward to
many interesting achievements. There can be no doubt that the explorer
who provides himself with the necessary photographic equipment will
find ample scope for his activities.

My own process was simple enough. I stretched lines of string round the
heifer or goat which was to serve as a bait, and the lions, hyenas,
etc., falling on their prey pulled these strings, which worked the
flashlight--the animals thus taking their own photographs. Some of
these pictures record new facts in natural history. In my first
book, for instance, there is a picture of a lioness making off with her
tail raised high in the air in a way no artist would have thought of
depicting, and no naturalist have believed to be characteristic.

[Illustration:

    _C. G. Schillings, phot._

    MORE ANTELOPES. 1. BLACK-HOOFED ANTELOPE (_ÆPYCEROS SUARA_,
    Mtsch.), BUCK. 2. MOUNTAIN REEDBUCK (_CERVICAPRA CHANLERI_,
    Rothsch.). 3. GRANT’S GAZELLE (_GAZELLA GRANTI_, Brooke), DOE. 4.
    ORYX ANTELOPE (_ORYX CALLOTIS_, Thos.), BUCK.]

In the course of my labours I had to overcome every description of
obstacle, and had constantly to be making new experiments. By the
time I had got things right I had so small a stock of materials left
at my disposal that I ought to congratulate myself upon my subsequent
success. The number of good pictures I secured was far less than I had
originally hoped for, but on the other hand it far surpassed what, in
those moods of pessimism which followed upon my many failures, I had
begun to think I should have to be contented with.

Among my successful efforts I count those which record the fashion in
which the lion falls upon his prey, first prowling round it; and those
which represent rhinoceroses and hippopotami, leopards and hyenas and
jackals, antelopes and zebras making their way down to the waterside
to drink; those also which show the way in which hyenas and jackals
carry off their spoils, and the relations that exist between them. But
a point of peculiar interest that my photographs bring out is the way
in which the eyes of beasts of prey shine out in the darkness of night.
I have never been able to get any precise scientific explanation of
this phenomenon. I have often seen it for myself in the wilderness.
Professor Yngve Sjöstedt, a Swedish naturalist, who has travelled in
the Kilimanjaro region, tells us that he once saw, quite near his
camp, the eyes of at least ten lions shining out from the darkness
exactly like lights. I find the following passage, too, in an old book,
printed at Nuremberg in 1719: “Travellers tell us (and I myself have
seen it) that you can follow the movements of lions in the dark owing
to the way in which their glowing eyes shine out like twin lights.”

Even with a small hand-camera it is possible to secure pictures worth
having, such as the studies of heads reproduced on the accompanying
pages. These must always have a certain value, as they depict for the
most part species of animals which have never yet been secured for
zoological gardens.

I repeat that there is an immense harvest awaiting the man who is
prepared to work thoroughly in this field. Why, for instance, should
he not succeed in getting a picture by night of an entire troop of
lions? My photographs show how a mating lion and lioness fall on
their victim--from different sides; and how three lionesses may be
seen quenching their thirst at midnight, all together. With good luck
some one may manage to photograph a troop of a dozen or twenty lions
hunting their prey--that would be a fine achievement. Or he might
secure a wonderful group of bull-elephants on their way down to a
drinking-place. The possibilities are immense.

Who has ever seen a herd of giraffes bending down in their grotesque
impossible attitudes to quench their thirst? A photographic record of
such a sight would be invaluable now that the species is doomed to
extinction. But, apart from such big achievements as these, trustworthy
photographs of wild life in all its forms--even of the smallest
beasts and birds--are of the utmost value, especially in the case of
rare species that are dying out.

[Illustration: PHOTOGRAPHS OF (1) A SPOTTED HYENA (_CROCOTTA
GERMINANS_, Mtsch.); (2) AND (4) STRIPED HYENAS (_HYÆNA SCHILLINGSI_,
Mtsch.), AND (3) A JACKAL.]

This is true not merely of Africa, but of other parts of the world as
well. Who is attempting to secure photographic records of the great elk
and mighty bears of Alaska? or of the wild life of the Arctic zone--the
polar bear, the walrus, and the seal?

[Illustration: SNAPSHOT OF A JACKAL IN FULL FLIGHT.]

The Arctic regions should be made to tell their last secrets to the
camera for the benefit of posterity, nor should the wild sheep and ibex
of the unexplored mountains of Central Asia be overlooked.

These things are not to be easily achieved, and they involve a
considerable outlay of money. It would be, however, money well spent.
Money is being lavished upon many other enterprises which could very
well wait, and which might be carried out just as successfully some
time in the future. These are possibilities, on the other hand, that
are diminishing every year, and that presently will cease to exist. I
trust sincerely that it may be my lot to continue working in this field.

“If only the matter could be brought home to the minds of the right
people,” wrote one of our best naturalists, after examining my work,
“tens of thousands of pounds would be devoted to this end.”



[Illustration: GUINEA-FOWL.]

Envoi


I may be permitted a few words in conclusion to reaffirm certain views
to which I cling. I would not have my readers attach any special
importance to what I myself have achieved, but I would like them to
take to heart the moral of my book.

It may be summed up in a very few words. I maintain that wild life
everywhere, and in all its forms, should be religiously protected--that
the forces of nature should not be warred against more than our
struggle for existence renders absolutely inevitable; and that it is
the sportsman’s duty, above all, to have a care for the well-being of
the whole of the animal world.

Whoever glances over the terrible list of so-called “harmful” birds and
beasts done to death every year in Germany must bemoan this ruthless
destruction of a charming feature of our countryside, carried out by
sportsmen in the avowed interest of certain species designated as
“useful.” The realm of nature should not be regarded exclusively from
the point of view of sport; the sportsman should stand rather in the
position of a guardian or trustee, responsible to all nature-lovers for
the condition of the fauna and flora left to his charge.

I would have the German hunter establish the same kind of reservations,
the same kind of “sanctuaries” for wild life that exist in America.
In our German colonies, especially in Africa, we should model those
reservations on English examples. Such institutions, in which both
flora and fauna should be really well looked after, would be a source
at once of instruction and enjoyment of the highest kind to all lovers
of natural history.

[Illustration: FAREWELL TO AFRICA!]


_Printed by Hazell, Watson & Viney, Ld., London and Aylesbury._



CHEAP EDITION

“The most remarkable travel book that has ever been
published.”--_Graphic._

With Flashlight and Rifle

A Record of Hunting Adventures and Studies in Wild Life

  By C. G. SCHILLINGS
  Translated by FREDERIC WHYTE

  With an Introduction by Sir Harry Johnston, G.C.M.G., K.C.B.,
  Illustrated with 302 of the Author’s “untouched” photographs
  taken by day and night.

  _Printed throughout on English art paper, in one handsome
  vol., =824= pages super-royal 8vo, =12s. 6d.= net_

PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT wrote of Mr. Schillings’s book:


“His extraordinary photographic work among the teeming wild creatures
of East Africa.... He is a great field naturalist, a trained scientific
observer, as well as a mighty hunter; and no mere hunter can ever do
work even remotely approaching in value that which he has done. His
book should be translated into English at once.”


Some Exceptional Reviews

“An entrancing work. His photographs are positively wonderful; his
letterpress is vivid.”--_Standard._

“A book of singular value.”--_Yorkshire Post._

“This remarkable book.”--_Sporting and Dramatic News._

“A unique and most remarkable book.”--_Scotsman._

“Space forbids any mention of the author’s hunting adventures or of his
many thrilling escapes from death, but all through the two volumes the
human interest is as strong as the scientific.”--_Graphic._

“A remarkable book. Nobody else has ever obtained so wonderful a series
of photographs.”--_Truth._

“An entirely remarkable book, containing the greatest triumph in
photography of wild animals ever achieved.”--_Outlook._


LONDON: HUTCHINSON & CO., PATERNOSTER ROW



Nearest the Pole

By Commander R. E. PEARY

(U. S. Navy; President of the National Geographic Society)

_Author of “Northward over the Great Ice,” etc._

With an introduction by President Roosevelt and numerous illustrations
selected from a collection of 1,200 of the Author’s photographs

_In Crown 4to, cloth gilt and gilt top_, =21s.= _net_.


In this book Commander Peary relates the thrilling story of his
endeavours to reach the North Pole. Although he did not succeed in
his attempt, he managed to get nearer to the Pole than any of his
predecessors. Sailing in the _Roosevelt_ from Etah, North Greenland,
on August 16th, 1905, the expedition soon encountered ice which made
their progress both dangerous and difficult. After being icebound for
some weeks, the vessel was extricated, but not floated again until the
following summer. The sun disappearing from sight in October, was not
seen again until March. The expedition re-started in February on a
sledge trip in the direction of the Pole, and after dividing the party,
Peary and his followers journeyed towards their goal encountering on
their way, among other mishaps, a gale which lasted six days, during
which time they found themselves some seventy miles out of their
course. They then endeavoured to get intelligence of the other portion
of their party, but had to abandon their attempt as their scouts could
not locate their whereabouts. At length, by forced marches, Commander
Peary, on April 21st, reached 87° 6´ N.

On this expedition Commander Peary did for the American segment of
the Polar Basin what Nansen did for the Asiatic. The narrative is
exceedingly dramatic. The explorer tells how he built the _Roosevelt_
on an entirely different plan from any other Arctic ship, and not only
adopted Eskimo clothing and made camps like Eskimos in ice and snow,
but took Eskimos with him as guides. It is the seventh time that Peary
has been North--oftener than any other explorer: and the Hubbard Gold
Medal that President Roosevelt presented him on behalf of the National
Geographic Society is the fifth he has received for his distinguished
achievements in exploration. There will be an introduction to the book
by President Roosevelt, and the beautiful pictures with which the book
will be illustrated are selected from a collection of 1,200 of the
author’s photographs.


LONDON: HUTCHINSON & CO., PATERNOSTER ROW FOOTNOTES:



FOOTNOTES:


[1] Male Emperor-moths (_Saturnia pyri_) hasten from great distances,
even against the wind, to a female of the species emerging from the
chrysalis state in captivity. Elephants, the author believes, can scent
a fall of rain at a distance of many miles.

[2] The author would like to bring this fact home to all destroyers of
herons, kingfishers, and diving-birds.

[3] The Masai distinguish the kinds of grass which their cattle eat and
reject. Many kinds of grass with pungent grains, such as _Andropogon
contortus_, L., are rejected entirely. Yet the tough bow-string hemp is
to the taste of many wild animals--the small kudu, for instance.

[4] Latterly many sportsmen in the tropics have taken again to the
use of very large-calibre rifles. Charges of as much as 21 gr. of
black powder and a 26¾ mm. bullet are employed with them. It is to the
kick of such a ride that the author owes the scar which is visible
in the portrait serving as frontispiece to this book--an “untouched”
photograph, like all the others.

[5] See _With Flashlight and Rifle_.

[6] In winter, Siberia affords a refuge to beautiful long-haired
tigers, such as can be seen in the Berlin Zoological Gardens.

[7] For this information I am indebted to the kindness of the
experienced Russian hunter Ceslav von Wancowitz.

[8] Herr Niedieck also underwent a similar experience. See his book
_Mit der Büchse in fünf Weltteilen_, and my own _With Flashlight and
Rifle_.

[9] Little elephants only a yard high used to inhabit Malta, and there
still lives, according to Hagenbeck, the experienced zoologist of
Hamburg, a dwarf species of elephant in yet unexplored districts of
West Africa.

[10] Experienced German hunters make a special plea for the use of
rifles of heavier calibre. Many English hunters are of the same opinion.

[11] The _raison d’être_ of these powerful weapons of the African
elephant is a difficult question. Why did the extinct mammoth carry
such very different tusks, curving upwards? Why has the Indian elephant
such small tusks, and the Ceylon elephant hardly any at all, whilst the
African’s are so huge and heavy?

[12] On that occasion I had not at hand a telephoto-lens of sufficient
range.

[13] The well-known naturalist, Hagenbeck, remembers the immense
numbers of giraffes which were bagged in the Sudan some thirty years
ago.

[14] Later observers questioned this fact. When I have used the word
“mimicry,” I have done so not in the original sense of Bates and
Wallace, but as denoting the conformity of the appearance of animals
with their environment.

[15] Some years earlier one of our best zoologists, after a long stay
in the Masai uplands, had described the giraffes as “rare and almost
extinct”: a striking proof of the great difficulty there is in coming
upon these animals.

[16] The author has often heard it asserted that the giraffe does much
harm to the African vegetation and therefore should be exterminated.
Such assertions should be speedily and publicly denied. They are on a
level with the demand for the complete extermination of African game
with a view to getting rid of the tsetse-fly.

[17] _Giraffa reticulata_ de Winton and _Giraffa schillingsi_, Mtsch.

[18] Cf. _With Flashlight and Rifle_.

[19] Recent reports from West Africa confirm what I say about the
disastrous results of allowing the natives to hunt with firearms. The
same regrettable state of things prevails in every part of the world in
which this is permitted.

[20] I do not know of any “telephoto” picture of animals in rapid
motion having been published anywhere previously to my own. Those I
refer to here are of animals at rest or moving quite slowly.

[21] Flashlight photographs may be taken by daylight, as is proved by
this photograph and some of those of rhinoceroses in _With Flashlight
and Rifle_.


[Transcriber’s Note:

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.]





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