|As various members of the team were picking off the last resistant tiger leeches that had doggedly clung on to arms, stomachs and backs from the day before, Farina, our elephant detective, had already hit the Kinabatangan river in search of the elusive elephants. We all waited with baited breath for news of their whereabouts, and at ten o'clock word reached us that they had been sighted beyond a palm plantation and heading along a track parallel to a narrow river feeding off the Kinabatangan.
Meanwhile a group who had left early morning to follow a nature track close to the river, returned with news of various exciting plant and fungus specimens found on the route. Together the entire team set off in a flotilla of boats in anticipation of finding our flappy-eared friends. A sadistic sun beat down as we finally headed down the feeder river in the direction of our quest. Would we reach our goal? Would victory be ours?
We formed groups and walked for several arduous hours through thick rain forest, hot on the scent, close to elephant tracks newly created, piles of dung and aware of a distant roar in the distance but still they evaded us. Then, when we returned to our boats in some exhaustion, word reached the team that about 50 elephants had emerged down river. We shot off in tandem and to our utter delight, were able to witness bathing time in the river with a baby elephant in tow and a line of pachyderms, led by the matriarch guiding her baggy grey troupe across the river.