Introduction

One sometimes felt that the whole of the elephant catching industry deserved the appellation of a brutal and cruel business; but we were part of a system which had persisted for thousands of years and mere cogs in a machinery which had to be kept in motion. Our function was to take all unnecessary cruelty and suffering out of the trade and that is what we tried to do”

Stracey p. 141


Traditional methods of capturing elephants have only historical significance in the modern world of drug immobilisation. However, various techniques of the traditional methods such as noosing, tying and post-capture restraint are being used even today. In this chapter an account of the traditional methods of elephant capture is given in brief as a general introduction to the history of elephant capturing in Asia. All these methods are confined to the respective regions or countries and strong prejudices still prevail against any innovations. Over the years, rules and regulations were introduced by the governments to improve capturing operations mainly to reduce the incidence of elephant injury and mortality. Each method of capture, however skilfully performed, has merits as well as demerits.