Nearly 60-70 people and more than 250 elephants die owing to Human Elephant clashes


Every year around 60-70 persons are killed as a result of human-elephant conflict and about 250 elephants die due to various reasons, the Wildlife Resources Conservation Minister Gamini Vijith Vijayamuni Zoysa said in parliament .

According to the Minister, the Department of Wildlife Conservation is taking action to minimize the deaths of the people as well as the elephants.

The Minister responding to a query raised by UNP Matara District MP Buddhika Pathirana in parliament said the elephant deaths are due to various reasons.

Some of the elephants die when the villagers use a locally made explosive device hidden in animal fodder to kill the elephants or some fall in to the animal traps. In some areas people install illegal electric fences which electrocute the elephants. Also some of them are run over by trains and killed on rail tracks, the Minister said.

According to the Minister, the main reason for the human-elephant conflict is the lack of food resources in the wild for the elephants and they come out of jungles seeking food.

He said the Wildlife Department is taking steps to minimize the number of human-elephant conflict incidents but the Department has a severe shortage of wildlife officers.

Vijayamuni Zoysa told parliament that a competitive examination had been held to recruit 200 new cadres to the Department of Wildlife Conservation.

The Minister said the wildlife officials are taking measures to remove invasive plants and increase the number of plants that could be animal fodder inside the jungles to prevent the elephants coming to villages in search for food.

Sri Lanka's wild elephant population has dwindled in the recent years and an elephant census conducted by the Wildlife Department in 2011 found that 5,879 elephants are roaming the jungles.

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