The lions, for example, were safely kept in cages which they could have broken with a blow rightly placed. Monarch discovered the weak places of such a cage within a few hours and wrecked it with swift skill. When inveigled into a movable cage with a falling door, he turned the instant the door fell, seized the lower edge and tried to raise it. When placed in a barred enclosure in the park, he began digging under the stone foundation of the fence, necessitating the excavation of a deep trench and the emplacement therein of large boulders to prevent his escape. Then he tried the aerial route, climbed the twelve foot iron palings, bent the tops of inch and a half bars and was nearly over when detected and pushed back.
He remains captive only because it is physically impossible for him to escape, not because he is in the least unaware of his power or inept in using it. Apparently he has no illusions concerning man and no respect for him as a superior being. He has been beaten by superior cunning, but never conquered, and he gives no parole to refrain from renewing the contest when opportunity offers.
Mr. Ernest Thompson Seton saw Monarch and sketched him in 1901, and he said: “I consider him the finest Grizzly I have seen in captivity.”
[Illustration: Monarch, The Biggest Bear in Captivity.]
Note.—Without doubt the largest captive grizzly bear in the world, may be seen in the Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. As to his exact weight, there is much conjecture. That has not been determined, as the bear has never been placed on a scale. Good judges estimate it at not far from twelve hundred pounds. The bear’s appearance justifies that conclusion. Monarch enjoys the enviable distinction of being the largest captive bear in the world.—N. Y. Tribune, March 8, 1903.
Chronicles of clubfoot.
The most famous bear in the world was, is and will continue to be the gigantic Grizzly known variously on the Pacific Slope as “Old Brin,” “Clubfoot,” and “Reelfoot.” He was first introduced to the public by a mining-camp editor named Townsend, who was nicknamed “Truthful James” in a spirit of playful irony. That was in the seventies. Old Erin was described as a bear of monstrous size, brindled coat, ferocious disposition and evil fame among the hunters of the Sierra. He had been caught in a steel trap and partly crippled by the loss of a toe and other mutilation of a front paw, and his clubfooted track was readily recognizable and served to identify him. Old Brin stood at least five feet high at the shoulder, weighed a ton or more and found no difficulty in carrying away a cow. He seemed to be impervious to bullets, and many hunters who took his trail never returned. A few who met him and had the luck to escape furnished the formidable details of his description and spread his fame, with the able assistance of Truthful James and other veracious historians of the California and Nevada press.