The natives and namely their leaders had explained to us already the day before that the continuing rains made a dismantling and transfer of the camp impossible as all camels and wagons would get stuck in the mud and furthermore the wet tents would be damaged during the packaging. As they had to agree that the ground where we were offered little special hunting opportunities, especially no tigers, and hunting results could only be expected at the next camp location, I insisted to break camp and to attempt to reach the next location, Katni, in any condition. After long discussions, I managed to persuade the hunting masters and early in the morning, they started dismantling the camp. The toughest outlook was the upcoming, long march of 23 km in a South-eastern direction; in compensation, the sun made an appearance and dried our soaking wet clothes.
We rode with the riding and hunting elephants in advance as a tiger had killed near the new camp location. The caravan was supposed to follow us. During our long ride we saw with apprehension the damage caused by the continued rain to the forest tracks. Everywhere there were puddles of water and mud so that our elephants sank in deeply. The otherwise dry gorges that crossed the tracks were at places filled with water to a height of a meter.
At the camp in Katni the message soon arrived that the caravan had become completely stuck in the mud and could not advance. As everything had to be packaged differently, it would certainly not arrive earlier than the next morning. The camels especially were slipping in the muddy terrain, so that they could not continue and the weak and badly fed oxen and bulls lacked the strength to draw the impractically built two-wheeled carts.
Sitting on bundles of straw, we were waiting while the shikaris went out with the elephant to confirm the reported tiger. Now and then arrived the first advance parties of the column, the coolies with their load and some soldiers of our escort. Thus we might have waited for about five hours, when the good news arrived that the shikaris had found the tiger and had encircled it. In the quickest pace possible for elephants we went to the location where we arrived completely shaken, but to our great satisfaction the circle was in perfect order. Quickly the positions were assigned and the usual work of the shikaris started.
The hunting ground was a very beautifully situated thick green grass jungle surrounded by tall shala trees and other trees unknown to me which had fragrant, pink butterfly blooms. The tiger soon ran away from the elephants, sneaked around in the jungle for some time and then advanced towards Kinsky who missed, only to retreat back into the thick grass; after some minutes it burst out again with a roar and attacked my elephant. I fired at the tiger now at the feet of my brave „Hathi“ that had not moved. The tiger then which had been hit in the shoulder and lay on the ground turned its head towards me, opened its mouth and showed me its teeth with a roar. A splendid view which made me forget to finish off the tiger with another shot, so that the mighty animal suddenly stood up again and, despite being hit by a second bullet from me, retreated back into the grass jungle.
This started a very exciting chase as the heavily wounded tiger defended itself very energetically and attacked everything that came within range. We were not allowed to leave our position in the circle as this would have opened up gaps through which the tiger might escape. Thus the shikaris rode into the grass to drive the tiger out. It was however already too weak to leave the spot where it lay and was defending its life only in a sitting position. An especially brave elephant attacked directly with a shrill battle cry which these animals trumpet out on such occasions. The elephant charged the tiger and inflicted a deep tearing wound with its tusks on the leg. But the tiger had enough strength left to jump at the elephant and bite its foreleg so that blood was gushing out in streams. After a few attacks of this kind the roar and the fight ended. The tiger had finally perished.
We could only observe the scene as a spectator and could not fire a the elephant with its mahaut and the tiger were so close to each other and we feared hitting either the elephant or the mahaut. The tiger, an old male of over 3 m, was the strongest one we had yet bagged; only after it had perished, could we observe the gaping wound in its flank which the elephant’s tusks had inflicted. But it too was in a bad state and held up its foot in pain and drank its own gushing blood with its trunk.
After the tiger had been photographed, we returned to camp where once more a tiger alarm in the evening provided a talking topic. The supposed appearance of a tiger created great excitement among the coolies until it became clear that the „tiger“ happened to be only an escaped bull that was fighting with another bull in the darkness.
- Location: Katni, Nepal
- ANNO – on 20.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. The Empress made a stop in Lugano, Switzerland, on her way to Genoa.
- The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Bernhard Lenz“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing Massenet’s „Manon“.