Daily Progress, Charlottesville, Virginia, Oct. 1, 2013

CONCERNED ABOUT ELEPHANTS' PLIGHT

Your marvelous article : His lens, their anguish, drives home Man's selfishness and stupidity in destroying magnificent and caring elephants in Africa. Having made 8 trips there from the sixties to the mid eighties, I too am very troubled by their increasing slaughter. How thrilling it was particularly on 4 separate trips to Zambia, to travel on foot in the early seventies, along and wading across the Luangwa River--- loaded with crocodiles; we were reassured by our guide that with the size of our groups of 5-10 we were "safe." Although the grazing was better on the hunting side of the Luangwa, the elephants were smart enough to move to the non-hunting side about 6:30 A.M. daily.

In 1975 our gun bearer prevented, at a distance of 50 yards, our being trampled by firing a warning shot over the head of a charging female elephant, protecting her young.

Later we traveled by elephant at various tiger sanctuaries in India and Nepal; even made a 2 hour trip in Nepal by elephant from the airport. But now, decades later, I have developed more concern for the plight of these elephants as well-not slaughtered but captured and enslaved for decades.

William J. Rowe
Albemarle County