With reference to the note, 'A Curious Protective Device Among Wild Elephants' by Sri. K.V. Lakshminarayan in the Journal, 60 (1): 250-251, I narrate below an experience I had on 1 April 1964 in the Periyar Wild Life Sanctuary.
The announcement in the Berlin papers of the tragical end of M. Tourniaire's Elephant*, certainly renders it desirable to know some means of preventing similar misfortunes, which have already occurred so frequently in Europe. The state of the Elephant which drive it to madness it termed by the Indians Mosti, literally, intoxicated by sexual stimulus or by spirituous liquors, and as soon as the keeper of the Elephants observes the symptoms of the mosti coming on, he has a never-failing means of restoring the animal confided to his care immediately to his senses.
Four years ago, when I wrote about the Sea-Elephant of South Georgia*, the question arose in my mind whether the Sea-Elephant inhabiting the widely separated islands in the southern subantarctic seas all belonged to one and the same race.
During our field studies at the Periyar Tiger Reserve two instances of unusual sexual behaviour were observed in wild elephants.
By far the greater number of the Elephants for the supply of the Bengal markets are now caught in Assam; the Dooars of Bootan are so iniquitously misgoverned that the Elephant-catchers nearly shun them altogether.
The Nipal Tarai furnishes Elephants for the marts of the central and western provinces; Mymunsingh and Sylhet for lower Bengal, &c. &c.
One third of Asian elephants born in European zoos circusses are stillborn (16.0%) or killed or refused by their mothers (15.7%). Stillbirths and infanticides are rare in extensively kept and wild-living elephants. Infanticide could be related to life history of the mothers: Females which had grown up in the company of an older, motherly female adopted their offsprings without complications. Those having lacked such affection, tended to kill or at least not to adopt their neonates.