Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/204

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174
SAWDUST AND SPANGLES

his work. The answer which my trainers have invariably returned to questions on this point of animal nature has been: The wild animal is afraid of man, recognizes him as a strange, dangerous enemy, and is willing to make a safe retreat from him. The carnivorous beast born in captivity is accustomed to the daily sight of man, and has not the wholesome and instinctive fear of him that dwells in the breast of the free-born denizen of the jungle. On the other hand, the cage-born creature seems to retain all the mean, treacherous and savage traits of its race.

Then the trainers declare that the jungle-reared animals are more intelligent and active, and therefore make better performers. This I have no reason to doubt. Leopards are the least in favor among trainers, and the latter prefer to undertake the education of lions rather than tigers, as the former have more stability of disposition, and lack the element of treachery which seems so universally a characteristic of cat nature.


THE EDUCATION OF A YOUNG JAGUAR

The first active step which a trainer takes in the education of an animal which has never been handled is to test its temper. I recall very