ADVENTURES OF A WILDLIFE WARDEN by E. R. C. Davidar

By E. R. C. Davidar

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For an a nimal the size of the cross tusker the do se had to be strong and highl y concentrated . 'After d inner they loaded half a dozen darts, cleaned the gu n and checked its mechanism . And then they were read y fo r the hunt. IV T he next morning; fou r da ys aft er the receipt of the Chief Wi ldl ife Wa rden 's lcu er , the 'Wildlife Wa rden a nd the vete rinary doct or acco m pa nied by two men set o ut o n the hu nt. One of the men , a wildlife guard , carried the doctor's med ical bag, a nd the other, also a guard was a n ex pert trac ker belon ging to o ne of the hill tri bes residing in the sanctuary.

They searched among stones and leaves for food . In doing so they disturbed an angry snake from under a rock . On seeing the mongooses the snake 56 reali sed its mistake a nd tried to get a way . But the expert sna kecatc hers soon overtoo k it. They dragged it away into the undergrowth where Mo ha n could not see it. III Darkness descended on the forest. In the brief interval between the time the birds a nd animal s of the da y retired a nd th e time the . nocturnal birds and animals took over, there was a mo ment of deep silence.

Unlike lions who go about in parties, or prides as these groups are called, tigers usua lly lead solita ry lives, exce pt du ring th e mating season when pairs of tigers may be seen together. Again, when a tigress is teach ing its cu bs to hunt a nd fend for themselves, more tha n one tiger may be see n together. The Wildlife Warden was now sure that a pair of tigers lived in that section of the sanctuary. He had seen their tracks quite often but had not come across them . Tigers were his special responsibility and he was eager to see this pair.

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