Pair bond­ing

Down to Earth - - BOOK -

dif­fer on the mean­ing of musth. Mod­ern bi­ol­o­gist would call it “rut”, a pe­riod with en­larged tes­ti­cles, in­creased lev­els of male sex hor­mones and ac­tive skin glands. Tribal ele­phant peo­ple would agree, since they know that dur­ing his musth pe­riod, which lasts a max­i­mum of three to four weeks, an adult bull spends most of his time in search or in com­pany of es­trus fe­males. Later he will de­fend his mat­ing part­ners against po­ten­tial com­peti­tors and will scent-mark his re­spec­tive po­si­tion with urine drips and the se­cre­tion of his tem­po­ral glands and com­mu­ni­cate with in­fra­sonic sig­nals. How­ever, ele­phant train­ers and keep­ers in a tra­di­tional cir­cus or zoo would con­sider musth as a sign of men­tal dis­ease or mal­func­tion of the liver. And the priests in Bud­dhist and Hindu tem­ples would quote age old wis­dom of the re­la­tion be­tween du­ra­tion of musth and wealth of the king­dom and its ruler. Such ex­treme dis­crep­an­cies in in­ter­pre­ta­tion of a bi­o­log­i­cal phe­nom­e­non re­flect dif­fer­ent sources of knowl­edge for the re­spec­tive ex­pert and/or dif­fer­ent keep­ing sys­tems for the re­spec­tive ele­phants.As a mat­ter of fact,keep­ing sys­tem dif­fers ex­tremely. The au­thor is in­volved with the First Euro­pean Ele­phant Man­age­ment School in Ham­burg

Bud­dhist and Hindu tem­ples would quote age-old wis­dom of the re­la­tion be­tween du­ra­tion of musth and wealth of the king­dom and its ruler

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