Written by Staff Writer
15 Sep, 2016 | 6:30 am
Hambantota, in the far south, saw rapid development in the recent past. However, locals are now faced with numerous issues – with the human elephant conflict being one of the main issues that they face.
Following the identification of movement patterns of elephants who travel through the Udawalawa, Lunugamvehera and Bundala National Parks, a proposal was made to create a managed Elephant Reserve which spans an area of 14,000 hectares, in-order to curb effects of the Human Elephant Conflict.
Around 450 wild elephants now call this area their home according to the Wildlife Department.
According to environmentalists, rapid development in the area and illegal cultivations had attributed to a loss of 3000 hectares of land from the reserve.
A visit to the location proved, that the board which identifies the area as a reserve, has only been limited to the sign board.
Since 2010, 16 lives were lost due to the human elephant conflict in Hambantota alone. During the same time period, 48 wild pachyderms paid with their lives.
Environmentalist are of the view that development drives have destroyed many elephant passes.
As a result of this situation, our correspondents report that frequent wild elephant attacks are reported from areas surrounding Bandagiriya, Beragama, Katuwewa , Walsapugala and Sooriyawewa
Recently, News 1st observed the grounds in which these elephants tend to roam in.
Last evening, our cameras captured the manner in which a group of elephants were roaming in the premises of the Hambantota Port.
Environmentalists warn that the failure to gazette the Managed Elephant Reserve would lead to serious issues.
Who is being left helpless due to the rapid development in Hambantota ? Is it the people or the elephants ?
Why is this not being taken into consideration by the policy makers? Is it because they are not faced with this issue ?
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