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Sri Lanka ranks as the country which killed the largest number of Elephants in the world – COPA

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has earned the dubious ranking as the country where the largest number of Elephants are killed because of the Human-Elephant conflict, a Parliamentary Committee has heard as evidence of an increase in the intensity of the conflict was presented by experts.

This country is also ranked number two globally where humans have died in conflict with wild Elephants, testimony led before the Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) heard according to a statement released by the Parliament’s Office of Communications said.

This information was provided to COPA which had ordered a special audit into the Human-Elephant conflict by renowned Elephant expert Dr Prithviraj Fernando the head of the Centre for Conservation and Research.

The COPA Chair, Prof Tissa Vitharana disclosed that in the past 12 months the number of elephants killed in conflict with humans was 407 as against the previous annual average of 272. The number of people killed also increased from an average of 85 humans to 122 per year

Vitharana reflecting the opinion of the other members of the committee instructed the Wildlife Department and other associated bodies to come up with a plan as whatever has been done over the past sixty years has only served to exacerbate the conflict.

The Chairman also called for report on how the allocation of LKR150 million for the Civil Defense Department to assist with the Human-Elephant conflict has been spent. He ordered the report submitted within 3 weeks.

The electrified Elephant fences were also discussed as many villagers believed that the fences were also marking the village borders. The resistance from these people had to be overcome by discussion and persuasion, the committee said.

The committee members also noted that a large number of Elephants were injured, some fatally, by attacks by humans. Punishments for people against such acts was slow. The committee also noted that although a large number of Elephants were killed by people the records do not reflect that.

The committee session presided by Vitharana also included State Ministers Dayasiri Jayasekara and Lasantha Alagiyawanna as well as MPs Tissa Attanayake, Gunapala Ratansekara, Dr Upul Galappaththi and Prof Ranjith Bandara.
Senior officials of the Ministry of Wildlife were also present.

(Colombo, December 10, 2020)





Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

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  1. More committees, more reports and more dead elephants, while the members of these committees continue to draw their per diems.

  2. Naturally the population has grown more in size and distribution compared to the elephants and animals, and as a result encroaching of natural habitat has contributed to the issues, and is heading towards the precipice of final disaster, if not firmly controlled. Many years ago, the drive, to take an example, from Puttalam to Kurunegala was like going through an open zoo, and the air was clean and the vegetation dense. The rivers were flowing with crystal clear water alive with fresh water marine life.

  3. Elephant population is growing. Elephants are developing taste on human garbage; human are expanding into elephants territories. Hard issue to control. In Sweden when animal population such as wolf grew and attack people swedes were allowed to kill them. But situation is different When other countries do it. It’s a dilemma one has to do what one has to do.

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