Two main techniques have been used for training elephants

Two main techniques have been used for training elephants, which we may call respectively the tough and the gentle. The former method simply consists of setting an elephant to work and beating him until he does what is expected of him. Apart from any moral considerations this is a stupid method of training, for it produces a resentful animal who at a later stage may well turn man-killer. The gentle method requires more patience in the early stages, but produces a cheer- ful, good-tempered elephant who will give many years of loyal service.

The first essential in elephant training is to assign to the animal a single mahout who will be entirely responsible for the job. Elephants like to have one master just as dogs do, and are capable of a considerable degree of personal affection. There are even stories of half-trained elephant calves who have refused to feed and pined to death when by some unavoidable circumstance they have been deprived of their own trainer. Such extreme cases must probably be taken with a grain of salt, but they do underline the general principle that the relationship between elephant and mahout is the key to successful training.

The most economical age to capture an elephant for training is between fifteen and twenty years, for it is then almost ready to undertake heavy work and can begin to earn its keep straight away. But animals of this age do not easily become subservient to man, and a very firm hand must be employed in the early stages. The captive elephant, still roped to a tree,plunges and screams every time a man approaches, and for several days will probably refuse all food through anger and fear. Sometimes a tame elephant is tethered nearby to give the wild one confidence, and in most cases the captive gradually quietens down and begins to accept its food. The next stage is to get the elephant to the training establishment, a ticklish business which is achieved with the aid of two tame elephants roped to the captive on either side.

When several elephants are being trained at one time it is customary for the new arrival to be placed between the stalls of two captives whose training is already well advanced. It is then left completely undisturbed with plenty of food and water so that it can absorb the atmosphere of its new home and see that nothing particularly alarming is happening to its companions. When it is eating normally its own training begins. The trainer stands in front of the elephant holding a long stick with a sharp metal point. Two assistants, mounted on tame elephants, control the captive from either side, while others rub their hands over his skin to the accompaniment of a monotonous and soothing chant. This is supposed to induce pleasurable sensations in the elephant, and its effects are rein- forced by the use of endearing epithets, such as ‘ho ! my son’, or ‘ho ! my father’, or ‘my mother’, according to the age and sex of the captive. The elephant is not immediately susceptible to such blandishments, however, and usually lashes fiercely with its trunk in all directions. These movements are controlled by the trainer with the metal-pointed stick, and the trunk eventually becomes so sore that the elephant curls it up and seldom afterwards uses it for offensive purposes.

训练大象主要运用两种方法:一种是粗暴法,一种是温柔法。简单说来,第一种方法是让大象干活,并不断地打它直到它按照要求来做为止。
除了道德上的考虑之外,这种训练是一种愚蠢的方法,因为粗暴的训练方法会使大象愤怒,日后很可能称为人类的杀手。
温柔法要求在训练的早期阶段要有更多的耐心,但是,这样训练出来的大象愉快、温顺,能够多年忠心地服务。

训练大象的第一个关键步骤是指派一名专职的看象人。大象和狗一样,只接受一个主人,并能同主人产生相当深厚的感情。据说,甚至有训练到
一半的大象,由于不可避免的因素离开自己的训象师,而拒绝进食,以致于饥饿消瘦而死。这样极端的例子也许不能全信,但是,这些例子
确实强调了大象和训象师之间的关系是训象成功与否的关键这一基本原则。

捕捉大象来训练最经济的年龄在15到20岁之间,因为这时的大象几乎可以马上干活挣回饲料钱。但是,处于这个年龄段的大象不是那么容易
就对人很顺从的,早期阶段必须采取强硬手段。捕捉的大象,还被栓在树上的时候,每次有人接近它,它都会又跳又叫,
也许会一连几天由于愤怒和胆怯而绝食。有时,在旁边栓一头驯服的大象来给刚捕捉的还带有野性的大象一些信心。在大多数情况下,
它会越来越平静,并开始进食。下一步就是将大象赶往训练场。这是一个需要特别小心谨慎的活计,可以把两头已经驯化的大象用绳子绑在
这头大象的两边来完成。

当同时训练几头大象的时候,通常的做法是,新来的大象被安置在两头已经高度训练的大象的畜棚中间。然后,一点也不要打搅它,给它足够
的食物和水,让它感受一下新家的气氛,并且让它看到它并没有怎么惊动周围的同伴。当它正常进食后,训练就开始了。训象师站在大象的面前,
手拿一根金属头的长木棍。两名助手骑在驯服的大象身上,从两边控制它。其他人则伴随着单调而柔和的歌曲不断地用手抚摸它的皮肤。一般认为,
这样能够使大象感觉愉快,如果能够根据不同的性别和年龄再用上一些悦耳的称呼,如“宝贝!”或“妈咪!”效果就会更好。这样奉承的
称呼不会马上对大象产生影响,而且,它通常会猛烈地舞动着鼻子,朝四面八方乱抽。这时训象师就会用带有金属头的木棍来控制它。
最后,大象的鼻子被木棍的金属头碰得如此之痛,它不得不卷起鼻子,以后再也不用它来攻击人了。

发表评论

您的电子邮箱地址不会被公开。


*