Where elephants roam: Ampara residents speak of destruction and disappointment

Where elephants roam: Ampara residents speak of destruction and disappointment

Where elephants roam: Ampara residents speak of destruction and disappointment

Written by Staff Writer

19 Nov, 2015 | 6:36 am

A herd of elephants on a rampage in the 26th Settlement in Ampara have stomped and destroyed the cultivations of farmers. At times like this, the wild life officers would be called in to chase the elephants back in to the wild.

However, on Wednesday, November 18 locals took matters in their own hands to chase these dangerous beasts back to the wild.

This herd of elephants take a daily stroll across these paddy fields.

News 1st, on a several occasions, reported on the issues faced by the locals, because of the stroll by the entire herd of elephants.

These elephants step in to the paddy fields from the 26th Settlement in the Uhana Divisional Secretariat area and travel across the field for ten kilometres. They exit from the paddy fields located in the Samanthurai Divisional Secretariat area.

According to the locals, the removal of the electric fence by the Department of Irrigation to raise the banks of the Walathapitiya Tank had resulted in this situation.

A farmer of the area stated that the elephants had crossed fields on seven to eight occasions. He added that they have to sow seeds and they do not have money.

He went on to note that they should either refrain from farming and give these fields to the elephants.

When the wild elephants reached the government seed farm after crossing the paddy fields, wild life officers took measures to chase them back the way they came.

However, the locals opposed the move as the way back, was through the paddy fields.

Our correspondent said that, following the tense situation the wild life officers stopped the operation and left the locations.

A group of youth from the area then took matters in to their own hands to chase the elephants away, casting aside concerns for their own safety. The herd of wild elephants that traveled on the border of the fields attempted to enter the Walathapitiya Tank.

However, the electric fence was in their way. The elephants that made several valiant attempts to cross, finally did so after confirming that the fence was inactive.

Residents of the area stated that the department remains idle until all the all the fields are destroyed.

He added that the department states that they ought to form groups of ten to protect the fields. They stated however that they cannot do so without an electric fence.

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