The hunter ran silently through the woods. He didn’t makea sound. He couldn’t. One single mistake and his pray would hear him and escape. He couldn’t afford that. In the last few weeks he hadn’t found any food, and was now starving. Today, on the other hand, he had been lucky. A fresh deer-trail led him north, and he was determined on catching one. The distance between him and satisfaction was decreasing rapidly with every cautious step he took. The only thing that was between him and his pray was a large, green shrub that would camouflage him perfectly... He could almost smell the warmth of the animal’s blood, the sweet taste when he would sink his teeth into its neck. The enormous, tiger made a swift, graceful leap, and all the scared animals ran in every direction to get away. All but one, which lay on the ground, eyes wide open and the tiger feeding from its stomach.
When he had satisfied his hunger, the tiger disappeared into the shadows. If anyone had seen him feeding, then looked in another direction for about five seconds, they would have been shocked to find that the only trace after the tiger, was the remains of its meal. Apart from that, nothing could tell that the secretive animal had been there.
For days the tiger hid in the forest, until he once again had to hunt. He knew the forest inside out. Every corner of it was familiar to him. He knew every hideout, every cave, and most importantly he knew where the deer-herds came to drink or eat. Simply by sniffing the air, he would know where to find them. Created for survival, he was the king of the forest. His sharp teeth allowed him to easily cut through a deer’s skin, his deadly claws made him able to grab a lethal hold on its body. His massive, muscled body, strong legs and quick reflexes made him the perfect predator.
Once again he lured in the bushes, concentrating on nothing but his pray that was yet unaware of his presence. Just as he was about to launch forward, he was interrupted by a sound he’d never heard before. It was deafening and seemed to come from many places all at once. What could this new interference be? Cutting off the hunt, he stopped and sniffed. The smell was different than those he was used to. Not tiger, not deer, not anything. He saw the beautiful stag run away, heard the monkeys screech out in panic, and then the tropic forest went dead silent.
A group of 13 middle-aged men made their way through the forest. They had come by boat, travelling up the muddy channels of themangrove coast.Whenfinally getting away from the swamp, they had now entereda rainforest-looking environment. It was here they hoped to find the well known, but rarely seen Bengal-tiger. One of the men had come across a print in the forest floor, telling that a tiger was near. With a quick command to his fellow hunting-friends, he started to follow the tiger’s footsteps. If anyone could have read the men’s minds, they would find nothing but one single thought: to have the trophy and sell the rest. 10 of them had done a similar hunt before, and some of them had a tiger’s fur and head on the wall at home. This was sport for them. The excitement of the hunt was reward enough.
At lastthey spotted it. A large male standing in a clearing, looking in their direction, but none could tell if the animal actually had seen them. Some in the group were a bit too eager and fired at the tiger without aiming properly.
By now the tiger was in no doubt; this was danger. An ancient instinct woke inside him, and he ran like he’d never done before. Behind him he heard load sounds, splashing from the puddles and a clicking-sound that hurt his sharp hearing. These intruders clearly did not belong here. Moving in a quick pace, he was soon many meters ahead of the new danger. Every nerve of his body told him to keep on running, and with a surprisingly strong will, he increased the speed even more. He had never ever been in this situation before; the great hunter was taken by surprise, and was now the one being hunted. How was he going to get rid of his pursuers?
As he ran he looked for a get-away, somewhere he could hide till the strangers had passed. Unfortunately no such place was to be seen, and the former hunter felt his pulse accelerate to a new level, his heart beat extremely fast and he moved his large paws in such rapid paces that they didn’t seem to even touch the ground. He felt more and more scared; not having complete control over the situation was a new experience to him. Usually every creature in the forest feared him, and stayed out of his way – not even the rude scavengers challenged him when he had taken down a deer. The boars, which were the rudest of all, always let him finish without interference.
Suddenly he heard a new ear-splitting, high pitched, sound that echoed in the forest. Then pieces of a tree right in front of him scattered on the ground. He came to a halt, and looked around to find a strange creature on two legs standing to his left. It didn’t smell very good, and didn’t appeal to the hunter in him. This was not food, only a threat. Something reflected the sunlight and he was blinded for about a second. Then the creature moved slowly towards him. He growled, but the intruder didn’t stop. With all his strength he let a fierce roar escape from deep in his chest. He showed all of his sharp, white teeth and snarled. That made the stranger stop, but only briefly. The tiger realized he was trapped, and crouched into an attack position. His body was tense, every muscle ready for the leap and the jaw muscles ready to break the creature’s spine. For a second he closed his eyes, taking in the smells around him, listening to the forest, but he couldn’t hear any other sound than the creature’s heartbeat, its heavy breath, his own panting and the rustling of the wind in the treetops. Then he opened his eyes and leaped.
At the same time as a tiger’s fierce roar could be heard in an area of many kilometres, the sound of a gun being fired echoed in the forest. Once again the tropic forest was dead still...