Befriending the elephants, offering them ways of communicating has resulted in breeding birth rates of between 60-80%, a huge leap from just 5-10% in the 1970s. Some research suggests that up to 99% of the elephants who live in the wild are captured and successfully adopted. Recently I joined a group of villagers called the Remote Elephants, led by a farmer named Udit Chatterjee, to visit some of the orphaned elephants,, especially those in the Kunzilai reserve, just an hour’s drive from Mumbai. We saw emaciated elephant calves, struggling to get up, clear the high grass of the ramparts and stand still, where they have been sitting for long periods to nurse from their mothers. We are no longer able to get to them with the equipment we normally use.”
In his response, Davis expressed a rare disinterest in the tragic situation facing his army. “The only way for them to survive would be for the soldiers to sacrifice their lives,” he wrote. “Many troops will simply succumb to starvation.” The proposal to employ 200 ex-guerrilla fighters, “considered the least-hassle troop group,” was subsequently dropped.