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Saturday January 28th, 2023

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 utility to continue power cuts, regulator says no

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s state-run Ceylon Electricity Board has decided to continue power cuts, as the dry season hits the country despite orders to give 24 hours of power.

The utility said its Board “has decided to continue the demand management programme” and it has informed the regulator of this decision on January 27.

The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka said it had not approved the power cuts “as it violate and affect the rights of 331,000 students sitting for the Advanced Level exams.”

Sri Lanka’s CEB has high running costs due to long term scuttling of planned coal plants by activists and lastly President Maithripala Sirisena.

‘CEB’s costs went up as demand went up since the last coal plant opening and steady collapse of the currency from 131 to 182 to the US dollar due to open market operations unleashed to suppress rates and operate a flexible inflation targeting by the central bank.

Even more aggressive liquidity injections after 2020 to target an output gap then busted the currency from 182 to 360 to the US dollar.

CEB has to use extra fuel from around February to April 2022 as the dry season hits reducing hydro power.

Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Commission has ordered the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation to supply fuel and banks to give credit for extra power.

Power Minister Kanchana Wijesekera has alleged that CPC officials agreed under duress and threat of jail sentence to supply fuel.

The CEB has to cut power in case demand outstrips supply to maintain frequency at 50 Hz to avoid cascading failures, according to sector analysts. (Colombo/Jan28/2023)

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Sri Lanka president suspends parliament till Feb 08

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe has suspended parliament till February 08, according to a gazette notice.

Parliament will re-convene at 1000 am on January 08.

President Wickremesinghe told party leaders that he would make a speech, officially declaring his intention to give effect to the 13th amendment to the constitution on provincial councils.

Provincial councils, a power sharing arrangement backed by India as a solution to the ethnic Tamil have not yet been given police and land powers. (Colombo/Jan28/2023)

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Sri Lanka expects influx of global twins

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s expecting thousands twins and non-twin visitors including at least thirty contestants for a Twins Miss and Mr World 2023 contest, where they will join their counterparts in the country.

“We expect upwards of 4000 participants to arrive in the country for the event,” Founder and Chairperson Vice President Global Twins Multiple Birth Forum, Upuli Gamage told reporters.

“And we very much hope that this number will keep going up in the years to come.”

The country amidst an economic crisis is celebrating the Twins Miss & Mr World 2023 for the first time in the World in Sri Lanka to grab the attention of more than 30 countries.

Prospective Sri Lankan twins can apply for the local contest to be held in May. Winners will go the international event in July.

Twins contests are being held in 30 other countries and three participants will come from each country, according to the organizers.

“This event helps to build a positive image of the country while grabbing the attention of 50 countries,” Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Chalaka Gajabahu said.

“And I heard this can be go as a World record to the genus book, that will give country free PR, free digital media marketing, free social media marketing.”

The Sri Lankan Twins Organization along with the tourism authority has initiated this program including twins of this country as a promotional campaign in hopes of bringing in foreign revenue.

There will be series of events commencing from July 24 to 31 including a business forum for investors to interact. Visitors fro 30 countries are expected.

“Countries like Japan do such programs often and we too should, to grab foreign attention,” Consul General to Japan, Sunil Gamage said.

“This will help to build International bonds. This is an opportunity to bring investors.” (Colombo/Jan27/2022)

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