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By E. R. C. Davidar

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Very slowly it stood up . When it turned towards them they noticed that its right tusk had broken off in the heavy fall at the point 44 where it crossed the other. The bull elepha nt was no longer t he cross tusker in more sense than one! The pain the elephant once suffered from had vanished and it was free to swing its trunk in any direction it pleased . It was as if an oppressive load had been lifted. It did not need to depend too much on man-grown crops any more. The tusker saw the two men , but made no attempt to attack.

But before landing they circled the pool at tree-top level. As they flew round one of them spotted the machan and its occupants. At once it warned the ot her. To get her they flew round a nd ro und the mango tree calling madly, "D id-he-d o-it", "did-he-do-it" to warn the fores t folk of the presence of Mohan and the wa rden . Moh an was annoyed a nd wished that the birds would go away. Fortuna tely for them, the bird s did this so often that no on e took much notice of their warning. Generally, it is easy to detect a herd of elephants o n the move .

I here was absolute silence. Either the killer had gone away or it was stalking it. prey unobserved . It was a silence born offear and uncertaintv. Mohan could feel the tension in the air. Suddenly . hcre was pandem onium. T he killer had st ruck. Again th e deer , particularly the herd from which the predator had taken its prey, raised their cry of alarm. But not for long. The prey animals tried to warn themselves and the others in the forest of danger. But the danger had passed when the predator made its kill.

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