Pilate (Pilot) an Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) at Great Wallace Brothers

☨ Pilate (Pilot)
ID nr:
Species: Asian elephant (Elephas maximus)
Sex and age:Male ♂
Dead date: 1899-04-11
Death reason: disease: died after unsuccesful castration
Location:Great Wallace Brothers
ArrivalGreat Wallace Brothers 1895-00-00
from Cook and Whitby Shows (Ben Wallace)
Cook and Whitby Shows (Ben Wallace) 1892-00-00
from Wallace and Co Circus
Wallace and Co Circus 1886-00-00
from Sells Brothers Circus
Born:* wild
Document updated2009-11-14: updated dead link
2012-08-27: text
2012-08-28: corrected prev locations
Records about Pilate (Pilot) from Bob Cline
Male Asian 1885 - Sells Bros. Circus
1886 to 1891 - Wallace & Co.
1892 to 1894 - Cook & Whitby
1895 to 1899 - Great Wallace Circus
Died - April 11, 1899 during a castration operation

No animal is quicker to resent an injury or insult, or supposed insult. Charles Alderfer, now manager of the Alderfer Circus, began his life as a showman with the elephants of the Wallace menagerie. One day in winter quarters the head painter wanted some wagons moved and Alderfer volunteered to bring out an elephant. He brought out Pilate, notoriously surly in disposition. In backing one of the wagons, the pole, or tongue, struck Pilate on the side. He thought it was Alderfer’s fault and started for him, his ears spread out like the sails of a yacht. The painter said for a few minutes he would not have given fifteen cents for Alderfer’s life. The latter ran at top speed and jumped over a fence. Then he put the hook into Pilate, climbed back, led him to the elephant house, chained him up, and whipped him severely. Pilate apparently recognized the injustice of his suspicion for after that he was always the friend of Alderfer.

No animal hates more intensely, or avenges himself more cruelly on his enemy, be that enemy human or of his own species. In October 1892, there was an exciting elephant fight at the Wallace winter quarters. It occurred on Sunday evening. The show had been in from the road only a few days. There were five elephants in the herd, four of them big bulls. After an early supper, the keepers left their charges, each chained to the floor by the left foreleg, and went to town. In some unaccountable way, four of the elephants got loose. Pilate and Diamond had always had an antipathy for each other and at once began fighting. Their trumpeting made the night hideous. The lions and tigers in a near-by building added their roaring and screaming to the awful chorus and the neighbors for miles around thought bedlam had been turned loose. The two vicious brutes fought savagely until Pilate had one of his tusks broken, whereupon Diamond put his head against his antagonist’s side and pushed him clear through the outer wall of the building, a solid brick wall fourteen inches thick. They had gored each other until the building looked as if a river of blood had flowed through it. But, strange to relate, neither of them was seriously hurt and in a few days, barring Pilate’s broken tusk, they appeared to be in as good condition as ever.

W. Henry Sheak, The Elephant in Captivity, Natural History, September-October 1922

Reference list

Koehl, D., (2020). Pilate (Pilot), an Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) at Great Wallace Brothers in United States. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 21 October 2020 at https://www.elephant.se/database2.php?elephant_id=2366. (archived at the Wayback machine)

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