Royal Elephant Hunt, Siam

Special Collections > Keystone Slides
tiff scanned file from original glass slide
How would you like to go hunting for elephants? If you should go on such a hunt in Africa, it would be to kill the elephants for their tusks of ivory which are very valuable. If, however, you should hunt elephants in Siam or Burma, your purpose would be to capture the animals in order to train them to do useful work. Sometimes elephants are captured singly by the use of decoys. Often a whole herd is taken at once, and that is the method shown here. A great number of men surround a given territory in which are wild elephants. Slowly contracting the circle, the animals are driven toward a very strong enclosure. This takes weeks and even months. Finally hemmed in on every side by men with long spears, some of them on tame elephants, the animals enter the enclosure. Here they are tied with ropes. At first their rage is terrible, but when an animal has exhausted himself and begins to suffer from hunger and thirst, the operation of taming him is begun. In an incredibly short time he is working. Elephants are very intelligent and quickly understand what is wanted of them. They reach their full growth at the age of twenty-five, and some live to be a hundred or more years old. The so-called white elephant is never entirely white. There are light-colored spots on his body and his ears are light. A white elephant in Siam is a sacred animal, as the natives believe he is inhabited by the soul of some great saint or good king who has died. Siam still retains a form of serfdom; that is, the people must give two or three months each year to labor for the king who is absolute monarch. Where is Siam? What climate has it? Keystone ID: 23500 Note: All titles, descriptions, and location coordinates are from the original Keystone Slide documentation as supplied by the Keystone View Company. No text has been edited or changed.
Copyright by the Keystone View Company. The original slides are housed in McConnell Library's Special Collections.