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Monday April 15th, 2024

Shambolic mitigation methods worsening Human-Elephant Conflict

Uncoordinated and unorganized methods of mitigating the Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC), has resulted in increasing the conflict rather than providing a solution, one of Sri Lanka’s foremost elephant experts Dr. Prithiviraj Fernando said.

Addressing a lecture on HEC in Colombo last evening (14), Dr. Fernando pointed out how mitigation methods such as elephant translocation, elephant drives, holding grounds, electric fences and elephant thunders which Sri Lanka has been practicing for years, had been extremely detrimental to the elephants.

Speaking of elephant translocation, which is done with the intention of moving the problem causing adult male elephants to another place, Dr. Fernando said that it has not given the expected outcome.

“We have monitored around 20 -25 elephants who were translocated. They were translocated to a park. But there was one thing that all the elephants really did. They left the park and not a single elephant stayed in the nice beautiful park to where they were released. We also saw that some of the elephants who were released got killed. Therefore, the translocation of the problem causing adult males actually creates HEC and can be detrimental to the elephant,” Dr. Fernando said.

Dr. Fernando further said that the elephant holding grounds, introduced by the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC) in order to avoid the shortcomings of elephant translocation, has not provided a viable solution to HEC either.

“DWLC came up with a new idea and it is an elephant prison. It is not called a prison but that is what it is. We monitored an elephant that was put into the holding ground in Horowpathana that was a very big male and he died of starvation in the holding ground. And if you talk to the people around this holding ground they claim that HEC has gone up drastically in the Horowpathana after the holding ground was built,”

Explaining further, Dr. Fernando pointed out that elephant drives, which involves removing all elephants from their habitats for irrigation development, has caused adverse effects on elephants.

“Elephant drives are done to remove all elephants and are usually done in conjunction with irrigation development projects. In elephant drives, we observed that you cannot chase the problem causing adult males. what you can drive are the female and young ones. But females and the young ones are not the ones that cause the problems. So one of the main reasons we have such a high level of conflict in Sri Lanka are these elephant drives,”

“Which of these mitigation methods address the problems the elephants have? None. These only address the problems the people face. Although there are two sides to the conflict we only focus on one side only on the people’s side. As a result of this conflict mitigation, elephants are harassed out of their lives. They lead a life of fear.”

Expressing his opinion on the possible ways of minimising the HEC, Dr. Fernando said that first of all the perspective of the people.

“The biggest question is how do we perceive it? If we only perceive it as a conservation problem, we will never be able to address it. We need to think of it as a development problem because it is development that causes conflict. Elephants have very few needs. They want to live and that’s all that they ask for. If we take the proper road, we change the human-elephant conflict into human-elephant coexistence,” Fernando added.

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Sri Lanka to discuss two contentious points with bondholders: report

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka and sovereign bondholders are to discuss two matters in the near future which the two sides failed to reach agreement at March talks in London, a media report quoting a top aide to President Wickremesinghe as saying.

Sri Lanka and bondholders had discussed four matters on restructuring international sovereign bonds in late March and agreement had been reached on two, President’s Chief of Staff Sagala Ratnayake was quoted as saying on state-run ITN television.

A restructuring proposal by bondholders was not in line with IMF requirements, and Sri Lanka had sent a counter proposal, he said.

The matters will be discussed at round of talks in the near future.

Sri Lanka was optimistic of reaching an agreement with the bondholders before June, officials have said.

According to matters already in the public domain, sovereign bond holders are keen to get a bond tied to dollar gross domestic product, as they feel IMF growth projections are too low.

In past re-structuring so-called value recovery instruments, a type of warrant, gave their owners extra payments if a country did better than expected and were tied to items like oil prices.

Bondholders had initially proposed bond which would have a lower hair cut initially, and it will have additional hair cuts if growth is low (about 3.1 percent) as projected in an IMF debt sustainability analysis. (Colombo/Apr15/2024)

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BIMSTEC Secretary General visits Sri Lanka, discusses regional cooperation

ECONOMYNEXT – The Secretary General of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), discussed measures to enhance regional cooperation, during his visit to the island last week.

Ambassador Indra Mani Pandey, Secretary General of BIMSTEC visited Sri Lanka from 07 – 12 April 2024, following his assumption of office as Secretary General of BIMSTEC in January this year.

The Secretary General “met with senior officials of relevant Ministries/Agencies to discuss measures to enhance regional cooperation under various BIMSTEC initiatives,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Several BIMSTEC countries have bilateral trade agreements, such as Sri Lanka and India, Thailand and Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand, but no collective regional agreement to enable intra-regional leverage.

During the visit, Secretary General Pandey held discussions with Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials and paid courtesy calls on the President and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Secretary General Pandey participated at an event on “Regional Cooperation through BIMSTEC” organized by the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute (LKI) on 9 April. (Colombo/April15/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes weaker at 299.00/10 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 299.00/10 to the US dollar in the spot forex market on Monday, from 298.50/55 on Wednesday, dealers said, while bond yields were broadly steady.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed stable at 11.30/35 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed stable at 11.90/12.00 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2028 closed at 12.10/20 percent up from 12.10/15 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed stable at 12.20/40 percent. (Colombo/Apr15/2024)

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