Wild elephant movement to be tracked using GPS tags – wildlife minister

Wild elephant movement to be tracked using GPS tags – wildlife minister

Wild elephant movement to be tracked using GPS tags – wildlife minister

Written by Staff Writer

02 Jun, 2020 | 10:28 pm

COLOMBO (News1st): A programme to track wild elephant movement using GPS tags will begin from Anuradhapura, wildlife minister S.M. Chandrasena said, amidst a longstanding battle between villagers and wild elephants.

“The people will be able to know the whereabouts of these elephants using their smartphones,” the minister told reporters, adding that tags will be attached to at least 100 wild elephants as part of the project.

He noted that these tags, which would cost Rs 1 million to import, would be manufactured locally at a cost of Rs 100,000.

“Through this, we will be able to identify when the elephants encroach on these villages,” Chandrasena explained.

Residents of several villages have blamed authorities over massive infrastructure projects that have been carried out at the cost of taking over elephant habitats, resulting in animals entering villagers in search of food.

On Tuesday, wild elephants attacked a house in Nikaweratiya, occupied by an elderly couple, and had eaten sacks of rice at their home.

Both elephants and humans have been affected due to the long-standing dispute, that authorities have been accused of failing to resolve even in the long run.

A five-year-old elephant calf had been injured in Nikaweratiya after consuming an explosive identified as a jawbreaker, locally known as hakkapatas, which causes massive damage to the animal’s mouth.

Wildlife officers who are treating the animal said that the animal is in a critical state after its mouth had been wounded badly due to the explosive.

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