Catalogue - Reprints (Africana - Hunting)
of an Elephant Hunter
By James Sutherland
Macmillan & Co. Ltd., London, 1912.
Reprint: xx + newly contributed Introduction and Bibliographical Note by Prof. James a. Casada, 324pp., 53illus.
ISBN (Std) 0 86920 248 0, (Dlx) 0 86920 274 2
James Sutherland, born in Scotland in 1872, is remembered
among the greats of Africa's professional elephant hunters, and
as the author of one of the finest of the continent's hunting
classics, his one and only venture into authorship. His stamping
grounds were the territories of south-east Africa stretching
between Mozambique and southern Sudan.
He came to South Africa aged twenty-four without any fixed ideas of a career. For a while he thought of becoming a professional boxer; instead he ran African trading stores and later took on a job as a labour overseer on the construction of the Beira-Mashonaland railway. On the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War in 1899 he moved into the African hinterland to hunt elephant professionally. This he did continuously for the latter thirty-odd years of his life. Despite the fact that his arrival in the hunting fields came at a time when Africa's elephant population was already in serious decline, and that he was twice involved in military service - in 1905-1906 and 1914-1918 - his career kills, counting bulls only, were estimated to total over 1000 elephants.
Professor James A. Casada says of Sutherland in a newly contributed Introduction, "... we have an extraordinary first-hand account of what the lives of many who cared only for the chase was like. ... Once you become immersed in Sutherland's pages, realisation rapidly dawns that for him - as was widely true of ivory hunters - the wealth to be derived from 'white gold' was strictly incidental. Their real motivation was the thrill of the chase, the sheer joy of adventure..."
He hunted to the end, death coming to him at the Yubo Sleeping Sickness Camp in the heart of the southern Sudan on June26, 1932, in his 60th year. His remains were interred in the land of elephants he so loved. Friends later erected a bronze tablet on the spot, engraved with two elephants standing beneath a palm tree. It reads, in part, " To the Memory of that great elephant Hunter - JIM SUTHERLAND."
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