War elephants tend to conjure up Iron Age battles, those archaic campaigns in which hordes dismembered other hordes with arrows and blades. They were exotic cavalry for long-dead empires: Carthage and Macedon, the Mughals and the Khmer.
But there is one corner of the planet — and only one — where war elephants persist into the 21st century.
That place is Myanmar. Not central Myanmar, where selfie-snapping tour groups get herded through golden temples.
War elephants trod through a more forbidding patch of the country: the northern Kachin State, where modernity is held back by war. There, in remote hilltops abutting China, mankind’s 4,000-year-old war elephant tradition is kept alive.