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Remember the Rainforest 1



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Some hunters stand in the grasslands where tapirs usually pass when leaving the nearby marshes. Each one takes a position next to a tree with a strong trunk, behind which he can hide if the animal runs right to meet them. Or the tapir takes its usual path through the bush, where frightened by some hunters is struck and dies.

Tapir hunting by boat

In the waiting hours, the European hunter can be distracted by the impressions that the quiet of the Brazilian forest gives him. His eyes scan unknown shapes of trees, foliage and fruit around him, watch the curiosity of monkeys descending from the extreme branches to contemplate his strange appearance, and he watches the silent war of insects and the activity of the great ant hills; sometimes he hears the hammering of the araponga or the screeching of macaws in the quiet solitude.

Then, the bush is suddenly animated: the tapir appears, chased by the barking dogs, and it rushes with its head extended and its tail curled, straight through the thickness, trampling in front of it everything that blocks its path. The noise is so great that even the hunter clings frightenedly to the protection his tree so that he can shoot the neck or the breast of his prey. Brazilians use very long-barreled rifles in this hunt. Bolder hunters also try to attack by throwing the tapir down, burying a broad knife in his chest; This, however, is very risky, because although the animal cannot hurt with its teeth or claws, it is only the formidable clash, which in the dizzying attack it gives with its muzzle, that is sufficient to really harass. We were lucky enough to kill two large tapirs in one day and catch a cub to tame. The young animal is easily taught, and the tapir domesticates like any other domesticated animal.

Indians hunting jaguar

It is not so pleasant, but painful and risky to hunt jaguars, which live in abundance in these cattle-raising regions. They stay, less than tapirs, mostly in marshes, and wander fickle, all around; its trail is less accentuated, and it is discovered only casually just when the danger is greatest. As soon as one knows of a place where the jaguar will drink water or chase the cattle, the ambush hunters will set out with the dogs, and attack it. soon as the dogs discover its trail. After the shot, the hunter usually moves quickly from his post, because the jaguar jumps towards the smoke of his gun; if not lucky enough to avoid the enraged beast, the hunter is torn apart by the blow of the front claw, which the jaguar gives him, as it is mounted upon him. Many hunters have been saved from this danger of death by the presence of mind and skill of their companions, who shoot the jaguar in this risky position. Our attempts to obtain one of these beasts were wasted; most abundantly, we found the pigs of the bush and coatis (Nasua rufa, L.).

Nasua or Coati