Wildlife Dept. says 190 elephants died this year

Wildlife Dept. says 190 elephants died this year

Wildlife Dept. says 190 elephants died this year

Written by Staff Writer

29 Dec, 2013 | 12:20 am

The Department of Wildlife Conservation says that 190 wild elephants died as a result of human activity so far this year. During this same time period, over 60 persons were killed in wild elephant attacks. These visuals depict the carnage caused on human settlments by wild elephants.

Wild elephants too paid the price with their lives, as result of human activity.

Director General of the Department of Wildlife Conservation H.D. Ratnayake said that the number persons killed by elephants and the number of elephants killed by humans has declined compared to the previous year.

Last year alone, the human- elephant conflict claimed the lives of 257 pachyderms, while that number had dropped to 190 this year.

Director General of the Department of Wildlife Conservation said that the assistance provided by the Civil Defence Force was a key factor to reduce the number of deaths reported as a result of the human- elephant conflict.

He added that, a special programme will be implemented next year, and will include the proper construction of electric fences, the construction of an elephant-pass and to make food and water available for the pachyderms in forest reserves. Data published on a social media website indicates that the highest number of elephant deaths reported until the month of May in 2013, which was 57 was reported from the North Central Province.

Meanwhile, until May this year seven persons each were mauled to death by wild elephants in the eastern and north western provinces.

Last year however, only a few elephant deaths were reported from the central and southern province while the lowest number of human deaths were reported from the Uva Province.

Prof. Devaka Weerakoon at Department of Zoology – University of Colombo says, ” Back then farming was only done during the Maha Season. After the cultivations are done, the elephants make their way to abandonded farm-land and Chena’s for food. However, this has changed as people are attemtpting to harvest during both the Maha and Yala Seaons.

The Irrigation projects have resulted in farmland and settlements being made in the lands which are the grazing grounds for the elephants. because of these two reasons, the elephants are losing their homes. Another fact is the the elephant-pass used by the elephants has also been compromised. That is why conflicts are reported between elephants and humans. There is an increase in this.”

Last month, several elephants died of electrocution after coming into contact with electric fences set up by persons to prevent the elephants movements.

Prof. Devaka Weerakoon at Department of Zoology – University of Colombo, says “There are other solutions to this issue rather than the construction of electricy fences. The government has formulated a number of policies for elephant conservation. Plans have also been drawn on what measures can be taken in this regard ..”

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