The accompanying plate illustrates two stages, before and after the tragic, natural end of an elephant. The upper of the two photographs appeared in the Phoenix Magazine under the title of a Dying Elephant, and was submitted by Major P.B. Leahy. The photograph was taken in the Travancore jungles. Mr. F. Connell drew our attention to this fine picture and we tried to get in touch with the author for further details. Owing to the absence of Major Leahy from India. Mrs. Leahy kindly replied and sent us the following details as well as the photos:
While out shooting wild elephants in 1919 on the west of Payagale, about 20 miles north-west of Pegu, Burma, I chanced to witness a unique sight, and was sorry to be without a camera at the time. It was the mating of a wild bull-elephant and cow-elephant. I was searching for a tusker that morning and came upon a herd of wild elephants which were scattered grazing.
The manner in which elephants mate has long been a moot point. Owing perhaps to the position of the generative opening in the Cow it has been suggested that during congress she lies on her back - some have held that she digs a hole. The question if there yet remains any doubt as to the manner of fecundation may definitely be set at rest by the authentic photograph which I enclose.
In connection with a recent note of Mr. N.G. Pillai's relating to the age of elephants (J.B.N.H.S. 48: 356), I have a recollection of reading that the elephant ridden by the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) in 1876 in Delhi was the same as was used in 1803 by Lord Lake in his triumphal entry into the Imperial Mogul-Maratha capital. Is this a fact?
Professor Henry F. Osborn has recently (Amer. Mus. Novitates, No. 41, July 8, 1922) issued a paper in which he deals with the Pleistocene elephants of North America. I Venture to discuss his important conclusions.
The majority of the elephants being young ones, below thirty years of age, no useful estimate regarding the average period of captivity nor the age to which an elephant lives in captivity can be made. The oldest, 'Peri', age 67, was captured in 1889, when she was 15 years old, and has a record of 42 years' service, whereas 'Eva' age 56, of the South Coimbatore Division, purchased in 1885, when she was 9 years old, has a longer record of 47 years.