National Geographic : 1951 Mar
382 For Reasons of Her Own, This Aged Cow Remains Apart from the Herd Long experience dodging hunters may have taught her that she enjoys greater security in solitude, though shooting of cows is taboo. According to elephant custom, she may soon wander off and meet natural death alone. Some hunters believe elephants repair to special places to die, but no fabulous bone pile has yet been discovered. Ivory, long the gold of tropical Africa, tells a tragic story of reckless butchery of elephants. But enamels and plastics are replacing objects once carved from African tusks; even billiard balls are now made of plastics. With man's declining interest in ivory and the advent of stricter game laws, the animals have tasted revenge. In some districts increasing herds menace villages. Although elephants normally find sufficient food in the forest, they sometimes invade native farms to feed on beans, millet, banana trees, or any other crop. Africans have to post night guards at fields so threatened; they blow ivory horns, shout, and beat tom-toms to frighten off the ravenous raiders. Elephants feeding in the forest make a dreadful din; branches crack like pistol shots; whole trees crash to earth; and the woods generally suggest the brewing of a storm. Yet, when scenting danger, an entire herd can move away like a gentle breeze, scarcely stirring the foliage, not even snapping a twig.