Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/520

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

4. To lie down to be washed, first on one side and then on the other.
5. To open the mouth.
6. To "hand up" any article from the ground to the reach of a person riding.
7. To pull down an obstructing bough.
8. To halt.
9. To back.
10. To pick up the end of a drag-rope and place it between the teeth.
11. To drag a timber.
12. To kneel and with the head turn a log over, or turn it with the tusks if any are present.
13. To push a log into position parallel with others.
14. To balance and carry timbers on the tusks, if possessing tusks of sufficient size.
15. To "speak," or trumpet.
16. To work in harness.

In all, sixteen distinct acts.

Every working elephant in India is supposed to possess the intelligence necessary to the performance of any of the acts enumerated above at the command of his driver, either by spoken words, a pressure of the knees or feet, or a touch with the driving goad. For the sake of generalization I have purposely excluded from this list all tricks and accomplishments which are not universally taught to working elephants. We have seen, however, that performing elephants are capable of executing nearly double the number of acts commonly taught to the workers; and, while it is useless to speculate upon the subject, it must be admitted that, were a trainer to test an elephant's memory by ascertaining the exact number of commands it could remember and execute in rotation, the result would far exceed anything yet obtained. For my own part, I believe it would exceed a hundred, if not many times that figure. The performance in the circus-ring is limited by time and space, and not by the mental capacity of the elephants.

When we come to consider the comparative comprehension of animals under man's tuition, we find the elephant without a rival.

On account of the fact that an elephant is about eighteen years in coming to anything like maturity, according to the Indian Government standard for working animals, it is far more economical and expeditious to catch full-grown elephants in their native jungles than it would be to breed and rear them. About ninety per cent of all the elephants now living in captivity were caught in a wild state and tamed, and of the remainder at least eight per cent were born in captivity of females that were gravid when captured. It will be seen, therefore, that the elephant has derived no advantage whatever from ancestral association with man, added to the most careful selection and breeding which, all combined, have made the colly, the pointer, and the setter