Thursday, October 18, 2018

10 elephants killed in train accidents in last 10 months


In the last 10 months, 10 wild elephants died after being hit by trains

The Railway Department stated that last year 7 wild elephants died in train accidents.

The most recent accident took place last night where A wild elephant was hit by a train travelling from Poonewa and Welikanda.

In a separate incident that took place on september 18th , 4 elephants were killed after being hit by a moving oil tanker between Habarana and Palugaswewa.

On the night of the 6th of October, Another three elephants were killed when a moving train hit them between Namalgama and Polonnaruwa.

The wildlife officials charge that wild elephants are being hit by moving trains as the locomotives travel at excessively high speeds, through elephant habitations.

Officials have complained that though signboards display the speed limit as being 40 kilometres per hour, some drivers do not obey these limit.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Constable dies after motorcycle collides with elephant


One person has died after the motorcycle he was riding crashed into a wild elephant near the Gnanikkulama Bridge on the Kandy-Jaffna (A9) Road.

The accident has taken place near the Gnanikkulama Bridge when the motorcyclist, who had been travelling to Kekirawa from Anuradhapura, crashed into a wild elephant crossing the road.

The motorcyclist, who sustained critical injuries in the accident, passed away following admission to Maradankadawala Hospital.

The deceased has been identified as a 32-year-old police constable attached to Modara police station, residing in Ulagalla area in Tirappane.

The body of the deceased is currently placed at the mortuary in Tirappane and the postmortem examination is scheduled to be conducted today (17).

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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

* Ali Roshan and six others summoned before Special High Court over illegal possession of elephants

Oct 16, Colombo: The three-member Special High Court-at-Bar has issued summons on seven defendants including Niraj Roshan alias 'Ali Roshan' to appear before the court on October 26.

The defendants are charged with illegal possession of four elephants without valid licenses and racketeering.

The three-member Special High Court order issued the order after considering the indictments filed by the Attorney General.

Among the other suspects are a former Deputy Director of the Wildlife Department Upali Padmasiri and the officer in charge of registering elephants at the Wildlife Department Priyangika Sanjeewani.

The Attorney General has filed a case against the seven defendants on 27 charges under the Public Properties Act, with regard to the possession of four elephants without licenses and racketeering

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Wild elephant captured in Aselapura


Colombo (News1st): Wildlife officials have captured a wild elephant who was roaming in Aselapura last evening (October 15).

Officers stated the elephant who had been roaming around the villages of Aselapura and Welikanda was also reponsible for the deaths of four individuals.

The News1st correspondent in the area said that an operation was carried out for over three days to capture this wild elephant. Wildlife Officials from Welikanda, Ampara, Polonaruwa and Giritale took part in the operation.

Steps have been taken to relocate the elephant to the Horowpathana Elephant Sanctuary.

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Wild elephant captured in Aselapura


Colombo (News1st): Wildlife officials have captured a wild elephant who was roaming in Aselapura last evening (October 15).

Officers stated the elephant who had been roaming around the villages of Aselapura and Welikanda was also reponsible for the deaths of four individuals.

The News1st correspondent in the area said that an operation was carried out for over three days to capture this wild elephant. Wildlife Officials from Welikanda, Ampara, Polonaruwa and Giritale took part in the operation.

Steps have been taken to relocate the elephant to the Horowpathana Elephant Sanctuary.

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Rouge elephant captured



A rogue elephant that caused much havoc in several villages in Welikanda and its environs
was captured early yesterday by the Wildlife Conservators.

A team of Wildlife officials under the guidance of Veterinary Surgeon Dr. Sameera Kalingu

Arachchi carried out the raid and captured the rogue elephant roaming in Aselapura in Welikanda.

Wildlife officers said that the beast that roamed into the human habitats had
claimed the lives of several people and destroyed houses and property.

Officials said the rogue elephant would be released into a wildlife zone away from human
habitats.

The rogue elephant would be released into a wildlife zone away from human habitats

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She elephant saved from poachers


A she elephant in the Yala sanctuary caught in a trap laid by poachers to kill other animal
was saved and released to the forest by the wildlife conservators in Monaragala.

A team of wildlife officials of the Udawalawa Elephant Transit Home under Veterinary Surgeon

Dr. Malaka Abeywardene had rushed to the scene on information from the Monaragala
wildlife office and saved the jumbo and released it after providing treatment to the injuries
caused by the trap.

Dr. Abeyratne said the pregnant she elephant was about 15 years old. He said the poachers
had laid the trap to kill other animals for meat but the she elephant had been caught causing
injuries to its front left limb.

A senior wildlife officials said they would monitor the movements of the she elephant until
it recovers.

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Sunday, October 14, 2018

Group searches ways to end elephant carnage on rail tracks


Members of a committee appointed to prevent elephants being killed by speeding trains
are now on the field trying to identify places from were elephant herds cross the rail
tracks, the general manager of the Railways Department, Dilantha Fernando, told the Sunday Times.
The committee is made up of members of the Department of Wildlife and Railways as well
as an engineer.
The most recent tragedy was last Saturday night when three elephants were dismembered
by a night mail train running from Batticaloa to Colombo. The deaths took place at nearby
Welikanda railway station. Last month, at Palugaswewa area, an oil tanker train killed four
elephants including a calf. One elephant was pregnant.
Mr Fernando said panel members are on the ground at the northern and eastern railroad
tracks to identify elephant passes that overlap rail tracks.
“On Thursday, they covered the railway line between Giritale to Batticaloa and continued
to travel to Trincomalee on Fr i d ay,
’ ’ he said. Inspections will continue on the JaKna rail line up to Maha Wewa area.
Mr Fernando said an early warning system developed by engineer Iresh Perera who is on
the committee, will be considered.
“That will announce to the train operator at a distance of a kilometre that an elephant is
approaching the tracks while deterring the animal using low-frequency sound,
” he said.
A unit could cost Rs 1 million, he said.
Mr Fernando said a proposal will be submitted to the ADB calling for a grant to fund the
project.
The Railway is also xing speedometers and a mech a n i z ed drive r response system to
automatically slow down, or stop trains if the train operator fails to respond in time.
He said that the new system would log critical details of accidents, footage, and braking
speed in a black box tted in the locomotive cabin.
Engineer Iresh Perea, who has built a system that repels elephants by activating infrasound
( low- frequency sound), said it will be installed at a few locations.
But this is just one solution, he said. They also identied areas that require overhead
passes.

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Don't drive our jumbos to death


Humans and wild elephants have lived ‘together’ for aeons in Sri Lanka. In fact, the country
has bestowed upon elephants, domesticated ones of course, an honour not given to any
other creature – that of carrying the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha around the streets
of Kandy to be venerated by large crowds.

As a country we are also unique – drawing in precious dollars as tourists converge here to
see the largest land animal, the elephant in the wild and a little distance away the largest
marine animal – the blue whale in the seas surrounding the country.

Where on earth, except in Sri Lanka, can one see a majestic elephant peacefully feeding in
the jungles sandwiching the Dambulla-Habarana Road sending ripples of excitement
among motorists and passers-by or as many as 300, mostly cow elephants and their babies,
picking at the tasty morsels of tender grass which carpet the Minneriya and Kaudulla
tankbeds, as “oohs” and “aahs” emanate from both locals and foreigners at such a “spectacular
sight?

Over the years though, with unplanned expansion of human habitats and development
into the homes of these animals, there has been conflict between human and elephant.
How, as a nation, should Sri Lanka go about mitigating the Human Elephant Conflict
(HEC)?

The answer is simple and obvious – go by evidence-based knowledge gathered over the
years and learn through bitter lessons from previous actions which have had disastrous
consequences.

So the humble plea from all those lovers not only of wild elephants but all animals is:

“Let’s not repeat the tragic mistakes made earlier. Let’s not go back to square one, as we

Don't drive our jumbos to death have enough evidence to move forward where both humans and wild elephants can live together, with a little adjustment.”

And such a plea is for selfish reasons as well – because we need to keep the ecosystem balance
for the very survival of humans!

In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Times on ‘HEC Management – Will we ever
learn from our past mistakes?’ the former Director-General (DG) of the Department of
Wildlife Conservation (DWC), Dr. Sumith Pilapitiya stressed that studies in Sri Lanka have
shown that ‘translocation’
‘drives’ and ‘concenement’ are not a viable management strategy
and will jeopardize the survival of Sri Lanka’s elephants, both within and outside the
Protected Areas (PAs).
“There will be no benent towards reducing the HEC,
” Dr. Pilapitiya was emphatic, just a
few days before he was scheduled to give a public lecture. Govt. should implement cabinetapproved
policy, former DWC DG, tells

Elephant habitats are declining and the frequency and severity of the HEC are increasing,
calling for alternative approaches to HEC management, he said.
Continuing to attempt to restrict elephants to PAs of the DWC will not reduce the HEC because
it requires reducing their current habitat to about 30 percent of what they use at
present. This cannot be done without killing over 4,000 elephants, it is learnt.
Dr. Pilapitiya is crystal clear in his explanation: “Most National Parks (which are part of
the PAs) are already at or even beyond carrying capacity and hold the maximum number of
elephants they can support. Additionally, National Parks are generally primary or mature
forests providing only sub-optimal habitats for edge species, such as elephants. Elephant
density in primary/secondary forests is 0.2 elephants per square kilometre, while savannah
grasslands and scrub jungle can retain around 3 elephants per square kilometre. Since
the DWC’s PAs have minimal human intervention, biological succession results in the conversion
of degraded lands within PAs into secondary forests. Therefore, the DWC’s PAs are
unable to carry a high density of elephants.”

The situation in Uda Walawe National Park is a case in point, he says citing an example.
Minneriya, Kaudulla and Maduru Oya are National Parks that are exceptions due to their
habitat being largely grasslands.

The primary reason for elephants to gather in such large numbers on the Minneriya
and Kaudulla tank-beds is for the fodder they get from the grasslands, which are nourished
by nutrient-rich sediments deposited there during the period of inundation. With the
water from the reservoirs being released for agriculture, a growth of new and succulent
grass emerges on the exposed tank-beds. This is why there are 300-400 elephants during
‘The Gathering’ in August and September, Dr. Pilapitiya points out. However, such parks
also already carry the number of elphants they can support.

According to him, since the 1950s the strategy for HEC Management in Sri Lanka has been
three-fold:
Capture and translocate problem ele
phants;
Conduct large-scale elephant drives in an attempt to move all elephants from the areas
earmarked for development into PAs; and
Concene the elephants within the PAs with barriers.

Had this strategy been successful, the HEC should have been solved or be on the decline.
But the data indicate the opposite. Despite implementing this strategy for more than 50
years, a survey conducted by the Centre for Conservation and Research (CCR) has shown
that there are elephants in 44% of the country that is outside PAs, says Dr. Pilapitiya, explaining
that basically, these elephants are co-existing with humans, albeit with some
level of conflict.
“While it may appear that humans and elephants can be separated, with elephants being
concerned to PAs, after more than 50 years of trying, if we realize that it cannot be done,
there seems to be merit in re-evaluating and revising that strategy. The main reasons elephants
cannot be limited to PAs are due to the PAs being at their carrying capacities. Elephants
are also an ‘edge species’ and there is better elephant habitat outside. So it is not
surprising that over two thirds of ele- phants live outside the areas controlled by the DWC.

Dr. Pilapitiya is quick to point out that research has shown that elephant drives, conducted
mainly in response to political and social pressures have failed to eliminate crop raiding
elephants from the drive areas. While herds composed of females and young tend to be
driven, the crop raiding males often remain behind.
Communities have confermed that elephants remaining after drives become more aggressive
and develop into a bigger threat to people. Construction of electric fences along the
administrative boundaries of the DWC PAs has failed to yield the expected outcome of HEC
mitigation, since DWC PAs are often surrounded by elephant habitat. Therefore, this results
in elephants being on both sides of the fence and fence breaking by elephants, it is
understood.

Realizing this, the DWC led a multistakeholder process to develop a National Elephant
Conservation Policy, says Dr. Pilapitiya, adding that it was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers
in 2006. The policy states that “when elephants lose their range, they die”.
It further adds: “The prospects for long-term survival for the elephant in Sri Lanka are
good. There is already a well-established PA network, which supports a proportion of the
elephant population. However, a significant proportion of the elephant population ranges
outside of the PAs. Ensuring the future survival of elephants that range inside and outside
PAs is both central and crucial to the conservation of elephants.”
Dr. Pilapitiya stresses that if Sri Lanka is serious about the conservation of elephants in the
wild, we should learn from our mistakes and past experiences and implement the provisions
of the Cabinetapproved policy and not try to limit elephants to the DWC PAs.

The former DWC DG Dr. Sumith Pilapitiya will deliver a Lecture on ‘Human Elephant Con-
flict Management – Will we ever learn from our past mistakes?’ on October 18 (Thursday)
at 6 p.m. at the Jasmine Hall, BMICH, Colombo 7.

Organized by the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS), the lecture is open to
members and non-members and entry is free of charge.
Prior to the lecture next week, when asked by the Sunday Times as a former DWC DG, what
he thinks of the DWC need to procure 2,567 AK 47 assault rites, Dr. Pilapitiya said: “I feel
that DWC officers need weapons more sophisticated than the repeater shot guns they have
at present, for anti-poaching operations because currently some poachers are better
armed than DWC officers. The DWC has lost officers in battles with poachers. However, I
am no weapons expert. So, I am not sure whether the most suitable weapon is an AK 47.”

To the query that the Cabinet Paper of July 18, 2018 is not on anti-poaching, but requests
that these weapons be procured for HEC management and what his views are, he said that
the HEC has two participants -- humans and elephants. As officers of the DWC whose
mandate is to conserve wildlife, no officer should be shooting an elephant.
“This means that the weapon could be to deal with the other stakeholder, who is a human.
DWC officers cannot shoot people either, so I am at a loss to understand why such a sophisticated
weapon is needed. For personal protection, DWC officers may need a weapon
but in my opinion, it should not be a weapon that could kill an elephant instantly,
” added

Dr. Pilapitiya who is an Environmental Scientist.

Dr. Pilapitiya briefy held the post of DWC DG before resigning on “matters of principle”.

He is researching elephant social behaviour in the Yala, Minneriya and Kaudulla National
Parks and their surrounding landscapes.

Echoing serious concerns about suggestions to restrict all wild elephants to PAs, the Head
of the Centre for Conservation and Research (CCR), Dr. Prithiviraj Fernando said that such
was the thinking about 50 years ago, which led to an increase in the HEC and “killed lots of
elephants”.

Modern research has shown the way and that’s why the National Elephant Conservation
Policy was developed in 2006, says Dr. Fernando, painting grim images of the results of
‘limiting’ wild elephants to PAs.
“The elephants driven and restricted to PAs, which would mostly be non-problem causing
cow elephants and their babies, as well as elephants that were in the PAs, starve to death
due to exceeding of the carrying capacity,
” he said with emotion, pointing out that the elephants
which are left behind in human habitation areas after drives, become very aggressive
because they were very fearful of humans after being severely harassed by humans in
their bid to relocate them. Hence, the HEC increases in drive areas.
Going back to attempts to restrict elephants to PAs will severely escalate the HEC and kill
lots of females and young ones, reasons Dr. Fernando, appealing to the authorities not to
revisit such disastrous attempts. “It will also nullify all the forward steps taken in mitigating
the HEC and send Sri Lanka down a very slippery slope, having a severe adverse impact
on elephant conservation.”

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Friday, October 12, 2018

Elephant killed after falling into a canal


Colombo (News1st): An elephant died after it fell into a canal in Muhunuketha, Welikanda last evening (October 12).

The elephant that had a wound on its leg was treated by the wildlife officials a few days ago.

The 8.5 meters tall elephant was frequently seen at the Somawathiya forest reserve and was around 30 years of age.

The postmortem examination was conducted by the Ggirithala veterinary office.

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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Example Title


Oct 11, Colombo: The committee appointed to make recommendations to prevent the deaths of wild elephants by plying trains has begun observing the movements of elephants at points along rail tracks frequented by them.

From today until this Sunday (15), the committee will conduct observations along the rail tracks from Maho Junction to Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Anuradhapura, Thalaimannar and Kankasanthurai, the state radio reported.

Once observations are complete, within the five days, they will draw plans on the specific course of action to be taken to prevent elephants being hit by trains.

The final draft of the plan will be submitted to Minister of transport Nimal Siripala De Silva on the 25th of this month.

Earlier this week three young elephants were killed when they were hit by a passenger train plying to Colombo in the North Central Province. Four elephants including pregnant elephant were killed when a fuel tanker train plying from Orugodawatta, Colombo to Batticaloa collided with a herd of elephants crossing the Colombo-Gal Oya railway line in Puwakpitiya, Habarana last month.

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Fight between elephants leaves one dead


A fight between two elephants resulted in the death of one that sustained severe injuries
and broke its hip joint.
Hambantota Wildlife Officer J.A.P. Wijayakumara said the two male elephants at Katuwewa
in Hambantota had fought each other during the mating season to attract female elephan…
from their herd.
He said the wildlife officers even lit elephant crackers to stop the fight but couldn’t prevent
the tragedy. He said the elephant died while receiving medical treatment.

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Heartbreaking moment officials treat elephant struck by train in Sri Lanka


Heartbreaking moment officials treat elephant struck by train in Sri Lanka

This is the moment officials and villagers desperately tried to save an injured elephant that had been hit by a train in Sri Lanka.

Footage captured on October 10 in Welikanda shows the stricken elephant in a pit of mud as curious locals watch on.

The animal had been hit by a train on the Colombo-Batticaloa line on Tuesday night (October 9) and discovered the following morning.

Veterinary surgeons of Giritale Wildlife Office arrived on the scene and treated the critically injured elephant.

The animal thrashed around in the mud but was unable to right itself.

There has not been any update on the elephant's condition as of Wednesday (October 11).

A report for Sri Lanka's parliament showed that in 2016, almost 90 people were killed by elephants, while 279 elephants were killed by people.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Elephant injured in collision with ‘Meenagaya’ dies


The wild elephant which was in critical condition after colliding with the ‘Meenagaya’ Batticaloa-Colombo express train has died, stated Ada Derana reporter.

The accident had occurred at around 9.45 pm last night (09) and wild life officials have been treating the elephant for its injuries.

However, the critical condition of the elephant and massive internal bleeding had caused the elephant to die, stated Wildlife officials.

The Veterinary Unit of the Wildlife Department will be conducting the postmortem of the elephant tomorrow (11).

The accident had occurred in Monarathenna-Welikanda area on the Batticaloa-Colombo railway track.

No damage to the train or to the railway track has been reported.

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Speeding train collides with another elephant


A speeding train on the Colombo-Batticaloa railway line has collided with a wild elephant near Welikanda area last night (09) and the elephant is currently in critical condition, said Ada Derana reporter.

The Meena Gaya intercity express train, which had been en route to Batticaloa from Colombo Fort, had collided with the elephant last night at around 9.45 p.m.

However, no damages have been caused to the railway track or the train due to the accident, according to Ada Derana reporter.

Reportedly, veterinary surgeons of Giritale Wildlife Office have arrived at the scene and commenced giving treatment to the critically wounded elephant.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Retired soldier killed in elephant attack


A retired army soldier had died this morning (03) due to an attack by a wild elephant in Indigahawewa area in Eppawala, according to Ipalogama Police.

The deceased is identified as S.M. Ranjith Rathnayake, a 48-year-old retired army soldier and father of three residing in Walayakulam village, Indigahawewa of Tirappane Divisional Secretariat.

The deceased had been travelling on a motorcycle to ‘Ali Sthanaya’ junction in Tirappane with his uncle at around 05.30 a.m. today when two wild elephants had obstructed their path.

The two individuals had then fled the scene to save their lives leaving the motorcycle behind.

Assuming that the two elephants had left the location, the deceased and his uncle had returned to the location where they had abandoned the motorcycle.

One of the two elephants had then charged towards the two individuals and attacked the retired army soldier.

He had died on the spot after sustaining critical injuries in the attack, the police said.

The residents charge that their village is constantly under threat due to wild elephants and the lack of proper maintenance of the elephant-proof fence has caused a casualty in this manner.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Female elephant electrocuted in Puwakpitiya


COLOMBO (News 1st) – A female elephant died after coming in to contact with an unprotected electricity cable in Puwakpitiya, Habarana last afternoon (October 01).

The News 1st correspondent in the area said the elephant had roamed into the area from the Hurulu Eco park.

Wildlife Officers said the elephant had come in to contact with an electricity cable that was set up for the protection of crops.

Investigations into the incident are underway.

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After An Elephant Herd’s Leader Was Killed, Hundreds Of The Animals Paid An Astounding Tribute


Seeing a deceased elephant is enough to bring a tear to the eye of many animal lovers. However, there’s a related spectacle even more powerful than that: the reaction of its herd. That’s what onlookers witnessed at this gathering, as the animals joined together to pay their final respects.

The fallen elephant in question was the leader a herd just outside the Kalawewa National Park in Sri Lanka. The area, which is close to the city of Anuradhapura and bordered by forests, received National Park status in 2015, and for good reason.

The Kalawewa National Park is a stomping ground for herds of Asian elephants. Unlike their African counterparts, few female Sri Lankan elephants have tusks. Even a large portion of the male elephant population don’t have them, but the Kalawewa herds are different.

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Monday, October 01, 2018

This Village in Sri Lanka Produces Paper from Poop and it’s Profitable AF


Yes, We are right. In Sri-Lanka, Maximus is a company manufacturing handmade paper from Elephant dung.

While Elephant poachers are only interested in the animal’s tusks, these people are more interested in the elephant poop. While some people might be a bit sniffy about the thought of elephant poop turning into paper, it is fact that this small but growing industry is exporting paper to almost 30 countries.

An adult African Elephant produces 50kg of dung from every 250kg of food consumed. 124 A4 sheets of paper can be produced by 50kg of dung.

Who are they?

They introduced the world the art of paper making out of elephant dung in 1997. Started with only 7 employees now they are responsible for the employment of more than 300 people.

The production process is labour intensive which is ideally suited for exploiting local talent ranging from unskilled to semi-skilled. It initially started in Kegalle and later on, it is shifted to Colombo, but produce a bulk of their work in Kegalle.

Production of Paper.

Elephants are not carnivores, so they consume a diet of fruits, vegetables, and leaves. The faeces, which is full of grass and other plant fibre that has been broken down by the elephant’s digestive system, is first thoroughly washed.

“After that, the fibres are cleaned, boiled and the rest of the process is the same as paper making”

Variations in the elephant’s diet, age, and dental state give each batch of a paper a unique colour and texture. Colour depends on the type of food consumed. Texture depends on whether the Elephant is able to chew the food or not. Fully digested fibre gives the paper smooth texture.

This is how they are running their business. Their main aim is to Save Animals and Trees.

Check out there product on Maximus

They have won many awards such as Winner of the World Challenge, Excellence in Social Responsibility.

They have targeted 3 major issues:

Saving Animals
Saving Trees
Producing Employment.

Kenya does the same thing. They are responsible for taking care of 7000 Elephants.

Not only in Sri-Lanka but many other countries like Africa, India has also started using elephant poop to make paper.

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Injured elephant discovered in Panwewa forest reserve


COLOMBO (News 1st) – Following a search operation that was carried out by Hambantota wildlife officers, an injured elephant was discovered in the Panwewa forest reserve in Hambanthota.

The wildlife officers confirmed, that the elephant had sustained injuries on his left hind leg due to a gun shot.

The News 1st correspondent in the area stated that the elephant will be taken in for treatment today (October 01) by the Udawalawa wildlife veterinarian officer.

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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Two hospitalised after elephant attacks three-wheeler


Two persons were wounded and hospitalised after a wild elephant attacked the three-wheeler they were traveling in at Menikdeniya in Welikanda this morning (8).

Ada Derana reporter said that the incident has occurred at around 7.00am today when a 52-year-old man, his daughter (27) and son (15) were traveling towards Embilipitiya.

The teenage boy had managed to flee and save himself as the elephant suddenly attacked the three-wheeler, however his father and sister were still stuck inside the vehicle.

They were both later rescued by residents in the area and admitted to the Welikanda Hospital.

It has been reported that the three-wheeler had been damaged to such an extent that the woman was stuck inside the vehicle for around half an hour.

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Death toll of wild elephants trapped in bog reaches 9

The number of wild elephants who had died after getting bogged down in a marshy land in the Thummodara section of the Periyaaru River had increased to nine by yesterday. Asst. Director of Wildlife Conservation, Polonnaruwa Zone, W.m.d.j.wickremesinghe said.

He said the carcass of an elephant calf was found when clearing the rank swampland that created a death-trap for wild elephants that roam the jungle in search of fodder. He said the calf was about two years of age and that it would have been part of the herd, the carcasses of which had been found earlier.

He said when the carcasses of the seven elephants were discovered earlier, Minister of Wildlife and Sustainable Development Sarath Fonseka and Deputy Minister

Palitha Thewarapperuma visited the scene and instructed the officials to remove the rank vegetation that camouflaged the swamp that looked like bare land covered with plants. The official said the wild elephants had stepped into the marshy land which looked deceptively like a bare land that was covered with plants.

The Wildlife Zonal Director further said clearing the rank vegetation was a temporary measure and pointed out that the authorities need to prevent the recurrence of a similar incident in the future.

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Gota has also kept an elephant illegally !


Information has surfaced that former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had been keeping an elephant illegally, said Wildlife and Sustainable Development Minister Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka.

Addressing a media conference yesterday, Fonseka said that Gotabhaya had kept two elephants and had returned them after their defeat.

The minister said that information has surfaced that the former President had got five elephants through a special decree.

Although the former president had given an elephant to the Kataragama Devalaya its custody was handed to Shashindra Rajapaksha. Another elephant was under the custody of his Chief Security Officer while another elephant was given to a temple under the custodianship of a relative of his.

Fonseka said that all details regarding this issue would be got and measures would be taken to initiate legal action against them.

He noted that during the previous regime 39 elephants had been caught from the wild and brought for various purposes and so far 17 legal cases have been filed pertaining to arrests.

Bail granted to three elephant racketeers

Meanwhile, notorious elephant racketeer Niranjan Roshan alias Ali Roshan of Pannipitiya, Pelenwatte Gemunu Mawatha was arrested by the CID yesterday for the illegal sale of captured wild elephants.

The officer in charge of registering wild elephants at the Wildlife Department Priyangika Sanjeewani and former Wildlife Department Deputy Director (legal) Upali Pathmasiri were also taken into custody.

They face charges of possession of wild elephants using forged licences.

However, the Kesbewa Magistrate Ruchira Weliwatte ordered the three suspects to be released on cash bail of Rs. 100,000 each and two personal bails of Rs. One million each, yesterday.

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* Pinnawala elephant orphanage earns Rs. 68 mn in August from visitors


Sept 09, Colombo: Sri Lanka's world famous elephant sanctuary at Pinnawala has attracted over 138,000 local and foreign tourists in the month of August, according to the management.

Accordingly, the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage has earned Rs 68.2 million from the sale of tickets in the last month.

The Assistant Director of the orphanage Mihiran Medawala said local tourist arrivals increased during August due to school vacations and a large number of foreign tourists have also visited the sanctuary.

According to the travel agents, about 80 percent of foreign tourists to the island visit the elephant orphanage. Because of the increase in arrivals to Pinnawala, the income of the hotels and other businesses has also increased.

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80 farmers killed by elephant attacks every year

About 80 farmers were killed every year due to wild elephant attacks around the country, it was revealed in a discussion held at the Ministry of Agriculture last week.

Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said that it was revealed when the review committee meeting held to prevent damages by wild animals.

The Minister said the proposals had been asked from experts to be submitted to prevent such damages by animals.

“But no such proposal had been fruitful,” he said.

This review committee meeting was held on the instructions of the President to provide a report and take measures to minimise the damages caused by wild animals, mainly elephants.

The Minister stated that wild beasts were killed in some countries as they damage cultivation and no such decision had been taken as Sri Lanka upheld Buddhist Principles.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

PETA urges tourists to boycott elephant rides in Sri Lanka

An international animal rights group is urging tourists visiting Sri Lanka to refuse to ride elephants, avoid visiting any attraction that offers or endorses elephant rides, and also to steer clear of festivals in which elephants are paraded.

The UK website of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) published an article on Thursday titled ‘Sri Lanka’s Shameful Elephant Abuse’ condemned the used of elephants for tourist rides and other similar activities while urging tourists visiting the island nation to boycott them.

It said that Sri Lanka is a fast-growing holiday hotspot, thanks to its stunning beaches, surf spots, and national parks, but for the country’s captive elephants, this rapid increase in tourism means only more suffering.

“Elephants used for tourist rides – which are widely advertised across the country – are typically kept tightly chained and isolated from other elephants. Forced up and down the same busy roads day after day, they’re often worked to exhaustion in the sweltering heat – as soon as one group of tourists gets off, the next one gets on.”

“Humans sit atop elephants in a howdah, a type of metal seat, which is strapped to the animals’ delicate backs. Elephants have sharp, bony protrusions that extend upwards from their spine, so the combined weight of the howdah, the tourists, and the mahout (handler) can cause them permanent, agonising spinal damage,” the article said.

PETA said that these elephants live in constant fear of the mahout, who controls them using a bullhook– a spear-like instrument with a sharp hook that’s commonly used to strike and injure them.

Elephant “attractions” that chain the animals, use bullhooks, and offer elephant rides often describe themselves as “sanctuaries” or “orphanages” in order to dupe tourists into believing that they’re ethical, the animal rights group charged.

It said that until tourists stop paying to ride them, elephants will continue to face exploitation and abuse.

“If you’re visiting Sri Lanka, please refuse to ride elephants, avoid visiting any attraction that offers or endorses elephant rides, and steer clear of festivals in which elephants are paraded. This includes the Pinnawala Elephant “Orphanage”, Dehiwala Zoo, and Kandy Esala Perahera festival,” it said.

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Elephant strikes Gr.5 student and her mother in Mahiyangana

A schoolgirl, who was taken in a bicycle by her mother to sit for the Grade 5 scholarship examination
at Haddattawa Secondary School in Mahiyangane, had been attacked by a wild elephant
yesterday morning, the police said.
They sustained injuries in the attack, and were rushed to the hospital for treatment. The victims
are Sayuri Sathsarani and her mother D.M. Sepalika Kumari. After initial treatment, the
child was discharged from the hospital to sit for the exam. The education authorities of the
area with the police had encouraged the victim to sit the scholarship examination.
The wild elephant that was on the wayside had attacked them when they were riding to the
school yesterday morning.

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Three arrested for possession of Elephant Pearls

Three persons have been apprehended at Polgolla area in Kandy for the possession of Elephant Pearls aka ‘Gajamuthu’.

The Police Media Spokesperson stated that the Law Enforcement Unit in Kandy has found an Elephant Pearl weighing 5030 mg on a raid.

Reportedly, the arrested are from Polgolla, Ukuwela and Ampitiya area.

They will be presented at the Kandy magistrate today (19) and the Kandy Police will conduct further investigations on the matter.

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Elephant Steals Bananas From A Bus In Srilanka


Elephant Steals Bananas From A Bus In SrilankaKulalampur(July 20, 2018): A driver got clobbered by an elephant’s trunk as it stole bananas from a bus along a road in Kataragama, Sri Lanka.In the video, a bus approaches an elephant that’s standing in the middle of the road.A driver gets clobbered by an elephant’s trunk as it steals bananas from a bus along a road in Kataragama, Sri Lanka. pic.twitter.com/FfzFIKPGvz— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) July 11, 2018When the bus is next to the elephant, it immediately sticks its trunk into the window to grab a bunch of bananas in the bus, walloping the driver in the process.The driver speeds away after the elephant pilfers the bananas.Related News:Michigan Twin sisters Run for County Seat as OpponentIndonesian Mob Slaughters Nearly 300 CrocodilesSpread the loveabbtakk Abbtakk english Abbtakk News Abbtakk Pakistan Abbtakk Updates AbbTakk World abbtakktv Elephant Steals Bananas From A Bus In Srilanka English English News Pakistan Pakistan News pakistani news World World News

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Two remaining jumbos to be kept in ‘safe’ area: SF

Wildlife Minister Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka said that the two elephants that remain in the
Sinharaja Forest Reserve would be kept in an area measuring 80 acres within the forest reserve
in order to mitigate the issues with regard to the elephant-human conict
that had
arisen.
Minister Fonseka told a news conference on Wednesday that there was nothing wrong in it
statutory wise and added that the Director General of wildlife had all the powers provided by
the legislation on wildlife conservation to take decisions that help to safeguard elephants.
“We are doing this not only to protect humans but also for the sake of the elephants.
Presently we are treating four elephants that were injured by trap guns used by poachers,” he
said.
“When people feel unsafe they use trap guns and ‘hakkapatas’ to drive away elephants, which
in turn end up killing them. Earlier, there were 17 elephants in the We are doing this not only
to protect humans but also for the sake of the elephants. Presently we are treating four elephants
that were injured by trap guns used by poachers Sinharaja Forest Reserve, but now
only two are left. Most of them have perished as a result of the humanelephant conict,”
he
added. He said the two elephants that remain were reported to have killed at least 15 people
and 200 cattle while also destroying 300 coconut trees, adding that the only solution was to
isolate the two animals in order to keep them safe and by doing so give the villagers peace of
mind. Earlier, President Maithripala Sirisena instructed ocials
to suspend the transfer of
these two elephants from the Sinharaja Forest Reserve until a proper remedy to the humanelephant
conict
was found.

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Saturday, August 18, 2018

Young elephant dies at Seoul Grand Park

A beloved 14-year-old elephant at Seoul Grand Park has died of unknown causes.

Zoo officials said Monday that the Asian elephant named Gazaba died suddenly at around 7 p.m. on Sunday. It was the only male elephant at the zoo.

Born in 2004 in Sri Lanka, Gazaba was brought to the zoo with Sugela (female, born in 2004) in 2010. Former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa reportedly gave the two as a token of gratitude to pastor Kim Hae-sung, who offered to help him and other Sri Lankans about 20 years ago when they were in Korea as foreign workers.

Eventually, Kim donated the elephants to the zoo.

According to the officials, Gazaba became sensitive and aggressive toward other elephants in late June as his mating season approached.

The officials said they were still looking into samples of Gazaba's organs to determine the cause of death.

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EFL granted Special Leave to Appeal to challenge unlawful electric fence in Ehetuwewa

EFL was granted Special Leave to Appeal by the Supreme Court on 1 August in SC (Spl) LA 289/2017, relating to an illegal forest clearing and the subsequent erection of an electric fence within the immediate vicinity of the Nakolagane Purana Raja Maha Viharaja in Ehetuwewa, in the Kurunegala District.

Over the years, EFL has been ardently involved in combating the clearing of forest land in Sri Lanka while ensuring complaints of such regard are brought to the notice of relevant Government officials. Since early 2015, EFL received various complaints from the Ehetuwewa Division relating to deforestation and/or use of forest land. The complaints received were associated to a large-scale clearing of approximately 15-20 acres of forest-land and the subsequent institution of an electric fence in the immediate vicinity of the Nakolagane Purana Raja Maha Viharaja, in Ehetuwewa. According to the information received, the large scale clearing and the subsequent mango plantation surrounding the temple premises were carried out by the Nakolagane Purana Raja Maha Viharaja in collaboration with funding by private investors.

In order to comprehend the severity of the issue, it is vital to shed light on the significance of the geographic placement of this electric fence. The Ehetuwewa and Galgamuwa Divisional Secretariat areas are known to have the highest number of human-elephant conflicts in the North-West of Sri Lanka. The forest clearing and the subsequent institution of the electric fence were carried out by the temple against the instructions of the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) and the provisions of law. The fenced and cleared area was once one of the few natural forest patches left, forming a refuge for elephants crossing the region regularly in search of food and water. It was a critical part of their home-range. According to the GPS tracking data of radio collared elephants, this area falls within the home-range for over 200 elephants using the natural neighbouring forest for movement.

The clearing/developing of this area will result in blocking the seasonal movement of elephants while leading to loss of critical resources and habitat. Inevitably, this will force the elephants to move to surrounding villages looking for food, increasing the destruction of crops and cultivation. When elephants are prevented from accessing natural forest land, they are compelled to use areas inhabited by humans leading to the escalation of the human- elephant conflict. At present, herds of elephants consisting 100-200 individual elephants are seen in the mornings and evenings accessing the Palukadawala and Atharagalla water tanks, blocking the Ehetuwewa main road.

Given the severity of the possible jeopardy caused to human lives and the environment, EFL together with two affected villagers in Ehetuwewa, who are members of a local group called ‘Parisara Surakum Ekamuthuwa’, filed a Writ Application in 2017. However, the Court of Appeal refused to issue notice for this case on technical grounds. Subsequently, EFL filed a Special Leave to Appeal application to the Supreme Court.

The Special Leave to Appeal application was heard before Justice Eva Wanasundara, Justice Prasanna Jayawardena and Justice Nalin Perera. The Court issued a bench order to set aside the Court of Appeal Judgment dated 07.11.2017. With the consent of all parties, the Judges of the Supreme Court ordered the Court of Appeal to rehear this case. Ananda Lal Nanayakkara appeared on behalf of the Petitioners.

Through this litigation, EFL intends to prevent further aggravation of the existing human-elephant conflict in Ehetuwewa.

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Shock treatment as Sri Lanka battles wild elephants


Sri Lanka Wednesday announced plans to substantially extend electric fencing after marauding elephants killed 375 people in the past five years and villagers retaliated by slaughtering nearly 1,200 of the beasts.

The Government said the toll marked a clear escalation of the human-elephant conflict and urgent steps were needed to protect both people and wildlife.

Government spokesman Gayantha Karunathilaka said authorities would begin constructing 2,651 kilometres (1,556 miles) of new electric fencing to keep elephants away from villages bordering wildlife reserves.

The cabinet also approved a plan to upgrade the existing 4,349 kilometres of electric fences — which repel elephants but do not seriously hurt them — and ensure better maintenance.

There was no immediate estimate of the costs.

The announcement came two days after President Maithripala Sirisena called for urgent action, saying elephants were straying from national parks, raiding villages and destroying crops.

Sirisena said wildlife, including elephants, destroyed about 35 percent of the country’s agricultural produce.

A monkey population of one million in the island of 21 million people was responsible for wiping out much of the coconut harvest earlier this year and driving prices up, the president said.

He also said there were almost daily reports of elephants attacking villagers or destroying property.

Official figures show 5,800 incidents of elephants attacking property in the past five years.

Elephants are considered a Buddhist symbol and protected by law. Killing wild elephants is an offence punishable by death, but there were regular reports of angry villagers poisoning or shooting them.

Sri Lanka also bans the capture of wild elephants, although many people have illegally raised baby jumbos — seen as a status symbol.

Official records show there were about 200 domesticated elephants in Sri Lanka before the recent ban on capturing them. The population in the wild is estimated at 7,500. (Courtesy AFP)

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Death toll from human, elephant conflicts in Sri Lanka hits record high

COLOMBO, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- The death toll from Sri Lanka's human-elephant conflict has hit a record high with over 375 people killed by wild elephants and over 1,100 elephants killed by humans within the last five years, cabinet spokesperson Gayantha Karunathilleke said on Thursday.

In a local media report, Karunathilleke said in order to find a solution to the bitter battle, the government had decided to extend electric fences near national parks and vulnerable villages as part of a new drive to protect people and wild elephants.

The minister added that the government would also increase the length of electric fences by over 50 percent and also upgrade the existing protective fencing to ensure that marauding elephants did not raid villages for food and water.

He explained that these fences would repel elephants and prevent them from entering villages and would not seriously harm them.

The announcement came two days after President Maithripala Sirisena called for urgent action, saying elephants were straying into human habitat and were also destroying crops in addition to inflicting a heavy toll on humans.

Sirisena said wildlife, including elephants, destroyed about 35 percent of the country's agricultural produce.

Elephants in Sri Lanka are protected by law. Killing wild elephants is an offence punishable by death, but there have been regular reports of angry villagers poisoning or shooting them.

Official records show the population of wild elephants in Sri Lanka is estimated at 7,500.

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Sri Lanka to launch a new program to resolve human-elephant conflict

Aug 09, Colombo: As the human-elephant conflict over the past five years took the lives of 375 people and 1,177 elephants, the Sri Lankan government has focused its attention to find an imminent solution to the conflict and save lives of both humans and elephants.

The government has received the cabinet nod to implement a new program to resolve the human-elephant conflict that is currently a major problem.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena recently drew attention to the problem presenting a special proposal to the National Sustainable Discourse to obtain all stakeholders' ideas and suggestions on resolving the human - elephant conflict.

Under the new program the government had decided to construct 2,651 kilometers of new electric fences in areas recently identified as vulnerable to elephant attacks, especially near national parks and villages to prevent the elephants entering villages in search of food and water.

In addition, measures will be taken to repair the malfunctioning segments and connect the inactive sections of the already established 4,349 kilometer long electric fence, to enhance the human resources and facilities required for a special program to protect and maintain elephant fences, and to properly maintain the new elephant fences.

Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal made by Sustainable Development, Wildlife and Regional Development Minister Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka to obtain necessary funds for the implementation of these programs in 2018.

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Death toll from human, elephant conflicts in Sri Lanka hits record high

COLOMBO, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- The death toll from Sri Lanka's human-elephant conflict has hit a record high with over 375 people killed by wild elephants and over 1,100 elephants killed by humans within the last five years, cabinet spokesperson Gayantha Karunathilleke said on Thursday.

In a local media report, Karunathilleke said in order to find a solution to the bitter battle, the government had decided to extend electric fences near national parks and vulnerable villages as part of a new drive to protect people and wild elephants.

The minister added that the government would also increase the length of electric fences by over 50 percent and also upgrade the existing protective fencing to ensure that marauding elephants did not raid villages for food and water.

He explained that these fences would repel elephants and prevent them from entering villages and would not seriously harm them.

The announcement came two days after President Maithripala Sirisena called for urgent action, saying elephants were straying into human habitat and were also destroying crops in addition to inflicting a heavy toll on humans.

Sirisena said wildlife, including elephants, destroyed about 35 percent of the country's agricultural produce.

Elephants in Sri Lanka are protected by law. Killing wild elephants is an offence punishable by death, but there have been regular reports of angry villagers poisoning or shooting them.

Official records show the population of wild elephants in Sri Lanka is estimated at 7,500. Enditem

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Elephants attack farmers in Alyadivembu


Two farmers who sustained serious injuries in an elephant attack at Alayadivembu, Pattimedu
in Amparai early yesterday were admitted to the Akkaraipattu Base Hospital, the Police said.

The attack took place at about 2 a.m in a paddy eld
with ripe crops in Pachchayadi vaddai
where four farmers from Akkaraipattu kept watch on their crop when two elephants attacked
them.

Two farmers sustained serious injuries while the other two managed to escape by eeing
from there. One of the victims Mohamed Asanar Gafoor (52) sustained serious injuries on his
limbs and body as he was hurled by an elephant. while the other victim, M.A. Kalanthar Lebbe
(62) sustained a serious head injury.

Both of the victims were being treated in the emergency ward of the Akkaraipattu Base Hospital.
hospital sources said.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Wildlife circuit bungalows to be closed for elephant survey


The Wildlife Conservation Department today said all circuit bungalows of the department would be closed for three-days in September for tourists due to a survey of wild elephants.

It said the country-wide survey would be carried out on September 23,24 and 25.

The department informed that it would not be reserving any circuit bungalow for the tourists on the three days.(TK)

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Hobbling elephant calf found to be genetically deformed


The Wildlife Department says that the wild elephant calf found in Suriyawewa with a disability had been diagnosed as congenitally deformed.

A group of Wildlife officers found the 1-year-old calf on Sunday during a mission in Suriyawewa to chase away wild elephants that are encroaching the surrounding villages in Hambantota.

The calf which had external wounds was hobbling using the trunk because of its deformity.

Later, the calf was taken away by the wildlife staff to be treated.

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Now, a hanging fence to prevent human-elephant conflict

The fence, designed in Sri Lanka, will be tried out on a 3-km stretch
The Forests Department will now try out a solar-powered “hanging fence” to deter elephants from entering human habitations and raiding crops in a village on the fringes of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve.

For long, the residents of Thorapalli have been complaining of elephants raiding their farms, and this has prompted the Forests Department to try out on a three-km stretch the new fence that was first designed in Sri Lanka.

The department staff said that over the last few months, three elephants – two tuskers aged between 15 and 18, and a single makhna (tuskless elephant), known to locals as “Bharathan,” and said to be aged between 35 and 40 frequently entered the human settlements and the farms surrounding Thorapalli.

Though the elephants have posed no threat to humans so far, with many of the local residents co-existing with the animals, the three elephants have started raiding crops in the area.

Residents apprehensive

Many residents fear that this could worsen into a human-elephant conflict.

The fear heightened a couple of weeks ago, when four persons, including three children, crossed paths with one of the three elephants.

They fell and sustained minor injuries while trying to flee the spot. A.K. Ulaganathan, Field Director of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, told The Hindu that the department would begin installing the fence in the coming days.

Till then, anti-depredation squad members posted in the area would chase the elephants away when they entered the human habitations after dusk. The fence is designed in such a way that stainless steel wires hang from a post or a similar structure.

Hanging 3 ft apart from each other, the wires sway gently in the wind and make it difficult for the elephants to get through without receiving a small shock, said N. Mohanraj, environmentalist and honorary wildlife warden, who is assisting the forest department in setting up the fence.

The need to redesign fences has come up as the elephants have found ingenious ways of getting through them in the Gudalur area, including slamming the fence with broken tree branches. Elephant trenches in the area are also to be strengthened, officials added.

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PETA urges boycott of famous Sri Lanka attractions

The international animal rights organisation PETA has urged tourists to avoid Sri Lanka’s elephant attractions, including the famous state-run Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage and celebrations of the Buddhist festival of Esala.

Sri Lanka’s rapid increase in tourism has led to a massive rise in the “shameful abuse” of elephants in the country, PETA said,

Elephant “attractions” that chain the animals, use bullhooks, and offer elephant rides often describe themselves as “sanctuaries” or “orphanages” in order to dupe tourists into believing that they’re ethical, PETA said.

“Until tourists stop paying to ride them, elephants will continue to face exploitation and abuse. If you’re visiting Sri Lanka, please refuse to ride elephants, avoid visiting any attraction that offers or endorses elephant rides, and steer clear of festivals in which elephants are paraded. This includes the Pinnawala Elephant “Orphanage”, Dehiwala Zoo, and Kandy Esala Perahera festival.”

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Thursday, August 09, 2018

Young Elephant Saved From Starvation


This young disabled skinny elephant cannot take care of itself very well, it is very difficult to move properly. People who performed field missions found this one-year-old elephant in Hambantota, Sri Lanka. It is almost impossible to cure the forefoot's natural deformation. The elephant is sent to the Udawalawe National Zoo in Sri Lanka for treatment.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2018

* President directs to expedite erecting 2500 kilometers of electric fence to minimize human-elephant conflict


June 30, Colombo: Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena has instructed relevant authorities to expedite the construction of of new fences island wide through a systematic program to keep the elephants away from the villages.

The President has given the order during a discussion at the Presidential secretariat yesterday (29) on maintaining the existing elephant fences.

Pointing out the need to maintain the elephant fences properly in preventing the human-elephant conflict, the President instructed the officials to renovate the inactive electric fences and fix the shortcomings.

It has been pointed out at the discussion that 1860 Civil Defense Force have been deployed for maintaining the electric fences but that force is not enough to maintain the 4000 kilometers of fences island wide.

Accordingly, the President instructed the relevant authorities to take steps to fill the vacancies soon.

The President also gave instructions to continue giving the daily allowance for food expenses to the members of the Civil Defense Force, and pointed out the need to initiate training programs for them.

Minister of Sustainable Development, Wildlife and Regional Development Sarath Fonseka, Ministry Secretary APG Kithsiri, Secretary to the Ministry of Defense, Kapila Waidyaratne, Chief of Defense Staff Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne and other senior officers of the Security Forces were also present at the meeting.

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Wild elephant flees from Kurunegala to Rambukkana

A wild elephant that had fled during a mission in Kappetigala, Kurunegala, has spotted in Halagiriya, Rambukkana.

Our correspondents said that a special operation by Wildlife Conservation Officers and Special Task Force is underway since this morning to chase the wild elephant away.

The Operation Director of the Wildlife Conservation Department, Manjula Amararathna urged the general public to refrain from visiting the area to witness the elephant.

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Person nabbed for possession of elephant tusks


An individual has been arrested for illegal possession of elephant tusks, in Daulagala, Pilimathalawa area.

The arrest was made at a raid based on a tip-off received by the Architectural Conservation Division in Kandy, stated the Police Media Spokesperson.

Subsequently, the police have been able to take four tusks into custody which were found on the suspect.

The suspect has been identified as a 35-year-old residing in Pilimathalawa area.

The suspect will be produced before the Magistrate’s Court in Kandy and the Architectural Conservation Division in Kandy is conducting further investigations regarding the incident.

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Fonseka raises concerns over use of elephants at pageants


Fonseka says new ways must be looked at on using elephants for temple pageants without hurting them.

“We see elephants moving from side to side at peraheras and are really happy to see that. We assume they are dancing as the dancers in the perahera are also dancing,” he said.

However Fonseka says after visiting the elephant orphanage and other locations where elephants are kept and after speaking to experts, he found that the elephants move from side to side at peraheras as they are in pain.

Fonseka said that while there is a need to protect Sri Lankan culture there is also a need to protect the animal.

The Minister said that the shortage of elephants for temple pageants must be addressed but it should not be done so to meet the personal agendas of some individuals. (Colombo Gazette)

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Wild jumbo enters human habitat for the first time Human -elephant conflict escalates;



Residents of the Rambukkana area were in for a shock when a wild elephant roamed into the human habitat for the first time last morning. The wild elephant was noticed first at the Kansalagamuwa area on the Rambukkana- Mawanella Road.

The jumbo that entered the Koslanda forest reserve across the railway line had moved through the paddy fields in Gondewala in Udugama into the Halagiriya forest reserve. However it was seen frequenting the Kansalagamuwa area again at noon.

On information from the Disaster Management Officer in the Rambukkana Division, a team of Wildlife conservation officers from the North Western Wildlife Zone who rushed to the scene said that the Halagiriya forest reserve and the surrounding area were within the purview of the Central Zone Wildlife office and that they could not take any step to drive the animal away. Thereafter the Rambukkana Police and the STF provided protection to the people.

The jumbo that entered the Koslanda forest reserve across the railway line had moved through the paddy fields in Gondewala in Udugama into the Halagiriya forest reserve

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Elephants cause further trouble to livelihood




COLOMBO (News 1st) – Wildlife officers said that the elephant who was roaming in the Kos Kale forest reserve in Rambukkana is now close to the Deduru Oya. The officers urged the general public to refrain from gathering in the area to spectate. According to the residents of the area, the elephant was roaming in […]



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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

31 injured as elephants go on a rampage in Kahawatte


 31 injured as elephants go on a rampage in Kahawatte

31 individuals admitted to hospital after they got injured as elephants went on a rampage at the Mihindu Perahera in Kahawatta.

The Police Media Spokesperson noted that 19 women and 12 men were injured in the incident.

An on-duty police officer at the Perehera was also injured and admitted to the Ratnapura hospital.

One of the elephants taking part in the Perehara had first gone berserk and few other elephants joined it creating a chaotic situation.


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Wild elephant who killed four persons captured in Puttalam

Wildlife Minister Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka yesterday (2) visited the site in Kaladiya, Puttalam where wildlife officers were keeping a captured wild elephant.

The elephant, who had allegedly killed four persons, including two women within the Puttalam wildlife zone, was tranqulized and captured by wildlife officers in the early hours of yesterday.

The captured elephant is due to be taken to a secure location.

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ROGUE ELEPHANT CAPTURED BY WILDLIFE OFFICERS



Arogue elephant that caused much havoc in Kaladiya area roaming into human habitats was captured by the Wildlife Conservation Officers and handed over to the Elephant Conservation Centre in Horowpathana.

The elephant that entered a home garden in Kottukachchiya area and trampled to death a 65-year-old woman who had come out of the house. Residents of the area were living in constant fear of the rogue elephant that frequented the villages after dusk destroying home garden crops.

Wildlife Veterinary Surgeon Dr. Chandana Jayasinghe said the 9ft. tall elephant was between 25 and 30 years old.

A team of wildlife conservation officers under Veterinary Surgeon of the Department Dr. H. A. Isuru Lokuhetti carried out the raid to capture the rogue elephant.

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Elephant attack in Mattala reserve claims life of one

COLOMBO (News 1st) – A wild elephant attack in the Mattala reserve claimed the life of one person. The deceased was a father of two named S.R. Chaminda who was a resident of lower Mattala.

The victim had left his house on the morning of 7th July, in search of two of his cattle who had gone missing. News 1st correspondent reports that as he did not return the area residents had launched a search for him and his body was later found in the Mattala reserve.

Meanwhile, locals in Daaranpalawa, Potuwil had informed the Lahugala Wildlife office of an elephant who had fallen into a well in the area. The elephant was later rescued by the wildlife officers and released to the Daaranpalawa reserve.

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Sinharaja elephants to be transferred to protection center

A project to establish a protection center to translocate the two rare elephants in the Sinharaja forest Reserve is in progress.

The Minister of Sustainable Development, Wildlife and Regional Development Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka has proposed the exaction of sixty-two hectares of land from the Parugala area in Dolekanda Grama Niladhari division of Kalawana, which consists of adaptable environmental conditions for the two elephants.

The proposal has also received the Cabinet approval.

The attention of the government has been drawn to the recent damages to lives and properties in vicinity of Sinharaja Forest Reserve, and the protection of the two wild elephants.

Meanwhile the proposal to establish a protection centre for the two rare elephants in the Sinharaja forest reserve has received massive backlash from environmentalists.

The environmental organizations oppose the confinement of the two elephants, roaming in the Sinharaja forest reserve that spreads over 11,189 hectares, to an area of 50 acres with an electric fence.

They point out that the authorities should heed to implement more practical solutions to the human-elephant conflict.

Last month, the President instructed the Secretary for the Ministry of Environment and the Director General of the Department of Wildlife Conservation to keep the two rare elephants in the Sinharaja Forest Reserve, a World Heritage site, until a decision is taken after formulating a proper procedure.

He instructed that further steps should be taken after consulting a group of experts in the regard and following a scientific study by those experts, if there is any need to relocate these elephants.

Authorities had planned to translocate the two elephants to the Horowpathana elephant protection centre, however environmental conservationists had vehemently opposed the  move.

The ‘Protect Sri Lanka’ national movement had claimed that UNESCO has notified Sri Lanka’s Department of Wildlife Conservation that the Sinharaja Forest Reserve will be at risk of losing its status as a World Heritage Site if the two wild elephants roaming the reserve are translocated.

It also charged that if the government follows through with that decision, the public will have to suffer the dangerous consequences.

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Madunagala elephant operation a success

COLOMBO (News 1st) – Wildlife officers managed to successfully complete an operation to drive out a group of wild elephants in the Madunagala area in Sooriyawewa, Hambantota.

Elephants regularly roam the Madunagala area due to the availability of food sources. In some instances, their actions have claimed the lives of area residents and caused damage to their properties.

Wildlife officers drove out 4 elephants into the reserve during the operation that was launched at 8 last night. The operation that had been launched by the wildlife officers lasted for a grueling 10 hours.

Earlier this week the Deputy Minister of Wildlife, Palitha Thewarapperuma also got involved in the operation.

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Police Constable dead trampled by elephant

A police constable has been killed due to unrest of three elephants at a procession held at Kahawatta, Ratnapura.

The constable has died last night (11) according to the Police Media Spokesperson.

On the 01st July, 30 people were injured at a Mihindu Perahera when 3 elephants participating in the procession caused unrest.

The deceased Constable had been receiving treatment at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Ratnapura General Hospital as he had been severely trampled by an elephant at the said incident.

The deceased is a 51 year old constable attached to the Udawalawa Police Station and had been sent on duty to Embilipitiya Police Division that night

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Monday, July 30, 2018

2 dead in Ambanpola wild elephant attacks

COLOMBO (News 1st) – Two people have been killed in separate wild elephants attacks which occurred in the area falling under the purview of the Ambanpola Police Division.

Police said a 34-year-old man was killed in a wild elephant attack in Paththinigala Ambanpola last night (July 11). The victim was attacked when he came out of his house to answer a phone call.

A 62-year-old woman also died in Nelumpathwewa, Ambanpola after being attacked by a wild elephant. Police said she fell victim to the attack while she was on her way to the temple.

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Protest in Lunugamvehera against proposed elephant fence

Residents from four villages in Devramvehera and Lunugamwehera staged a protest this morning (Jul 13) saying that authorities are planning to erect an elephant fence across their farmlands.

The protesters blocked the Matara - Wellawaya road at the 70th Post in Devramvehera this morning.

Our correspondent stated that the protesters dispersed after Lunugamwehera Divisional Secretary promised to find a solution.

Meanwhile, the operation launched to drive away elephants from Suriyawewa was successful.

But Walawa Left Bank Joint Farmers' Union stated that there are defects in the electric fence, which was erected to prevent the return of elephant to human habitat.

The farmers' union, President S.K. Mahinda said that the wildlife officials are responsible for the defects.


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3 men arrested for attempting to sell Gaja Muthu

COLOMBO (News 1st) – Three residents of Beruwala were arrested while attempting to sell a bracelet which contained Gaja Muthu or elephant pearls.

The arrest had been made after luring the suspects into a sale using an undercover agent. The suspects had attempted to sell the bracelet for Rs.12 Million.

The suspects are due to be produced before the Kalutara Magistrates Court today (July 13).

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Wild life officers corner wild elephants

COLOMBO (News 1st) – Wildlife Officers have successfully cornered around 40 wild elephants in an operation launched in the Katuwewa area in Hambantota.

An operation to chase away the wild elephants terrorizing the Hambantota and Sooriyawewa areas over a period of time was launched on the 09th. Personnel from six Wildlife Offices including the Assistant Director of Wildlife for the Southern Province Prasanna Wimaladasa were involved in this operation.

Deputy Minister of Sustainable Development, Wildlife and Regional Development Palitha Thewarapperuma was also seen getting involved in the operation.

During the past three days, wildlife officers were successful in moving five wild elephants in the Madunagala area to the Wild Elephant Management Reserve in Hambantota. The operation to drive away the elephants in the Katuwewa area commenced last afternoon (July 13).

It was reported that the operation was supported by the local police and the area residents as well.  Wildlife Officers said these wild elephants will be driven to the Wild Elephant Management Reserve this evening (July 13).

Meanwhile, another herd of around 40 wild elephants roaming in search of water and food reached the Mahakanadarawa Reservoir in Mihintala last evening (July 12).


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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

People live in fear due to elephant threats in Mihintale



The villagers of the up-stream of Mahakanadarawa wewa in Mihintale live in fear and suffer due to elephant threats on these days.

The people who live in many villages such as Pothana, ihalagama, Netiyagama, neesiyagama, Weruppankulama, pudukkulama, Surukkulama, Nochchikulama, Maradankalla, Mudewa,welankulama and Karadikkulama are suffering and living in fear.

A lone elephant that roamed into a house in Surukkulama village last Friday (13) had destroyed the cultivated crops of the people and eaten several bags of ‘kurakkan’ and gone back to the forest after destroying the brick walls of the house. An adult couple had lived in this house when the elephant had come and attacked their abode.

When the elephant had attacked the house the woman had fled the house and escaped. The victim K. Wimalawathi (68) said the couple was engaged in agriculture and that her husband(71) had gone to a nearby village for work due to prevailing drought. According to her, the elephant had destroyed everything that they earned during their lifetime.

They said that Mihintale Pradeshiya Sabha had used the government forest reserve to dump garbage and the elephants are attracted to the household garbage. Therefore, the villagers request the Minister of Wildlife to take steps to drive away the elephants to a distant forest.


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Protest in Lunugamvehera against proposed elephant fence

Residents from four villages in Devramvehera and Lunugamwehera staged a protest this morning (Jul 13) saying that authorities are planning to erect an elephant fence across their farmlands.

The protesters blocked the Matara - Wellawaya road at the 70th Post in Devramvehera this morning.

Our correspondent stated that the protesters dispersed after Lunugamwehera Divisional Secretary promised to find a solution.

Meanwhile, the operation launched to drive away elephants from Suriyawewa was successful.

But Walawa Left Bank Joint Farmers' Union stated that there are defects in the electric fence, which was erected to prevent the return of elephant to human habitat.

The farmers' union, President S.K. Mahinda said that the wildlife officials are responsible for the defects.


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* President directs to expedite erecting 2500 kilometers of electric fence to minimize human-elephant conflict



June 30, Colombo: Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena has instructed relevant authorities to expedite the construction of of new fences island wide through a systematic program to keep the elephants away from the villages.

The President has given the order during a discussion at the Presidential secretariat yesterday (29) on maintaining the existing elephant fences.

Pointing out the need to maintain the elephant fences properly in preventing the human-elephant conflict, the President instructed the officials to renovate the inactive electric fences and fix the shortcomings.

It has been pointed out at the discussion that 1860 Civil Defense Force have been deployed for maintaining the electric fences but that force is not enough to maintain the 4000 kilometers of fences island wide.

Accordingly, the President instructed the relevant authorities to take steps to fill the vacancies soon.

The President also gave instructions to continue giving the daily allowance for food expenses to the members of the Civil Defense Force, and pointed out the need to initiate training programs for them.

Minister of Sustainable Development, Wildlife and Regional Development Sarath Fonseka, Ministry Secretary APG Kithsiri, Secretary to the Ministry of Defense, Kapila Waidyaratne, Chief of Defense Staff Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne and other senior officers of the Security Forces were also present at the meeting.


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Two rare elephants in Sinharaja to be shifted to new detention centre



Two rare elephants in the Sinharaja forest reserve are to be shifted to a new detention centre.

Cabinet has approved the establishment of an elephant detention centre for the two elephants.

The cabinet approved the Proposal presented by Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, Minister of Sustainable Development, Wild Life and Regional Development to take over 36 hectares of land in the Parugala area (in Dolekanda Grama Niladhari Division) for this purpose.

Fonseka had earlier threatened to resign from his Ministerial portfolio over the Sinharaja elephant issue.

Fonseka had said that his duty is to resolve the human-elephant conflict resulting from the elephants in Sinharaja.

The Minister had said that if anyone attempts to pull his leg when he looks to resolve the issue he will resign.

Earlier, a decision taken to shift the two rare elephants from the Sinharaja forest reserve had been suspended on the instructions of the President. President Maithripala Sirisena had instructed the Secretary to the Ministry of Environment and the Director General of the Department of Wildlife Conservation to keep the two rare elephants in the Sinharaja forest reserve, a World Heritage site, until a decision was taken after formulating a proper procedure.


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* Wildlife Minister expects to end Sri Lanka's human-elephant conflict in a year and a half



July 09, Colombo: Minister of Sustainable Development, Wildlife and Regional Development Field marshal Sarath Fonseka says that he expects to eliminate the threat of wild elephants across the country by 95 percent within the next 18 months.

He made this observation yesterday speaking at a meeting held at the Naula Divisional Secretariat.

The Minister recently visited the Matale district and remained there for two days to inquire into the destruction to the people's lives and properties by the wild elephants that had come to the villages due to the acquisition of land to construct the Moragahakanda Reservoir and deforestation.

During the visit Minister Fonseka held a meeting at the Naula divisional secretariat with the state officials, wildlife officers and the representatives of the villagers.

Many representatives of the villagers expressed their views on the human-elephant conflict at the meeting.

The Minister noted that last year 280 elephants and 80 persons have died due to the human-elephant conflict and the population of elephants in the country has exceeded 6,000.

Minister Fonseka said that the only solution for the human-elephant conflict is to install highest quality electric fences and that 4500 kilometers of electric fences have already been installed.

He said the Ministry has received funding to erect another 2500 kilometers of electric fences and to hire 5000 people to maintain those fences.

The Minister said the Wildlife Department has around 50 billion rupees and he expects to utilize the money to end the human-elephant conflict within the next year and half.

He said President's approval has been received to provide an appropriate uniform to the wildlife officers and also to provide a firearm similar to a T56 imported from China instead of the firearm they are using now. He said the firearm is for the officer's protection and no for shooting the elephants.


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Friday, July 06, 2018

Wild elephant electrocuted in Wellawaya (Photos)

A wild elephant was electrocuted inside a private land in Neluwagala, Wellawaya, last night (Jun 13).

Our correspondent said that the elephant had got contacted with a live power line that connected to a water pump.

Investigations are underway to ascertain whether that the power line was laid purposely to harm the animals.

A wildlife official said that the wild elephant was aged around 25 to 30 years.

Our correspondent said that human-elephant conflict has affected the Wellawaya area and many cultivated lands have been destroyed by encroaching wild elephants.


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President instructs to keep two rare elephants in Sinharaja Forest Reserve at the same place until a decision is taken after formulating a proper procedure



President Maithripala Sirisena has instructed the Secretary for the Ministry of Environment and the Director General of the Department of Wildlife Conservation to keep the two rare elephants in the Sinharaja Forest Reserve, a World Heritage site until a decision is taken after formulating a proper procedure.

The President further instructed the Secretary for the Ministry of Environment Mr. Anura Dissanayake and the Director General of the Department of Wildlife Conservation Mr. Anura Saturusinghe if there is any need to relocate these elephants, further steps should be taken after consulting a group of experts in the regard and following a scientific study by those experts.

President Sirisena has given these instructions during a meeting held with the officials of the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment, yesterday (14).

President Maithripala Sirisena further instructed the officials to take steps to conserve the animals within the lands that belong to them in order to protect the wild elephants.

The President also showed the importance of the responsibility behind protecting the Sinharaja forest which has a bio diversity valued by the entire world.

In order to prevent the harm caused by these two elephants to the people residing in the area, President Sirisena advised to complete the construction of a protective elephant fence as early as possible.

Mr.Ajith Mannapperuma who was newly appointed as the Deputy Minister of Environment started his duties in his position and President Maithripala Sirisena also joined this event.

Then the President also held this discussion with the officials of the ministries.
Deputy Minister Ajith P.Perera and other officials were also present in this discussion.


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Wild elephant attack in Girandurukotte claims the life of wild life officer



COLOMBO (News 1st) – A wildlife officer was attacked and killed by a wild elephant in the Viranagama area in Giradurukotte.

Police said the incident occurred during an operation to drive away a heard of wild elephants from the area last evening.

The victim was 53-year-old M.A. Wasantha, a resident of the Palathuruwella area in Padiyatalawa and was serving as a Guard for the Department of Wildlife.

The victim’s remains have been placed at the Girandurukotte Regional hospital.


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Wild elephant attacks in Nawula and Horowpathana



COLOMBO (News 1st) – Two people has been killed in a wild elephant attack in the Lihinipitiya area in Nawula. Police said that the incident occurred while the two victims, aged 29 and 30, were returning home from a relative’s house.

Meanwhile a Buddhist monk was attacked by a wild elephant in the Wewalkatiya area on the Medawachchiya – Horowpathana road early last morning.Our correspondent said the Thero who was initially admitted to the Rathmalgahawewa Hospital was attacked by an elephant from the Olandawa Reserve in Horowpathana.

The Thero was thereafter transferred to the Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital for further treatment.


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Two rare elephants confined to Sinharaja


Sinharaja: Last vestige of primary tropical rain forest
Extinction due to changes in feeding patterns
Lack of historical data a major drawback
20 out of 26 endemic birds in Sinharaja
A recent attempt to relocate two rare elephants from the Sinharaja Forest Reserve created a controversy within environmentalists as the UNESCO would de-list the area as a world heritage site. This led to the intervention of the President who issued a directive that the move to relocate the elephants should be suspended until a proper scientific study was done on whether this transmigration would lead to the extinction of this rare species.


The UNESCO in 1978 designated the Sinharaja Forest Reserve as a biosphere reserve and a world heritage site.

SINHARAJA FOREST RESERVE
Sinharaja is a national park and a biodiversity hotspot in Sri Lanka and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has identified it as the last vestige of primary tropical rain forest with more than 60 per cent of the trees are endemic or rare.


This hilly virgin rain forest is only 21kms (13mi) from East to West and a maximum of 7kms (13mi) from North to South, but it is a unique area of endemic species including trees, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Wildlife is not seen easily because of the dense vegetation as in the dry-zone national parks like Yala. According to Wikipedia, there were three elephants and 15 leopards, and the common mammal is the endemic purple-faced Langur. One elephant cannot be accounted for at present.
There are 26 endemic birds in Sri Lanka, of which 20 rain forest species occur in Sinharaja. Reptiles include endemic green pit viper, hump-nosed vipers and also rare variety of amphibians, especially tree frogs. There are also invertebrates like common bird wing, butterfly and leeches.




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Two Sinharaja elephants will suffer same fate as the leopard: Thewarapperuma



The two elephants in the Sinharaja forest will suffer the same fate as the leopard which was killed recently if they remain in the Sinharaja forest, Wildlife Deputy Minister Palitha Thewarapperuma said yesterday.

Wildlife Minister Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka and Deputy Minister Thewarapperuma initially attempted to take the two animals out of the forest reserve but President Maithripala Sirisena stopped them from doing it, he said.

Deputy Minister Thewarapperuma said this during an adjournment debate moved by Joint Opposition MP Wimalaweera Dissanayake who urged the government to resolve human- animal conflicts.

“The villagers are planning to kill the two elephants and therefore they will suffer the same fate as the leopard which was killed recently. This is why Minister Fonseka and I decided to take them to an elephant transit home. We were going to keep the two animals in the transit home temporarily,” the Deputy Minister said.

“We went into action even without veterinary specialists and had to get the two from Sri Lanka Air force. President Maithripala Sirisena who called us as soon as we started the operation to transfer the elephants advising us to do it carefully. However seconds later the Air Force Commander informed us that the President had ordered the two air force specialists to leave the place. The President also called us soon after and advised us to tie the two elephants and keep them,” he said.

Mr. Thewarapperuma said the two animals will be kept in a hundred acre land within the Sinharaja. “Both Minister Fonseka and I will personally attend to the needs of these animals,” he added.

He revealed that villagers in Kalawana tortured the mother of the two male elephants which he and his minister tried to move.

The Deputy Minister stressed on a joint effort to resolve the human animal conflicts. He said politics has prevented resolving this conflict. “The human animal conflict had become a national issue because of politics,” he said. (Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana)


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