Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Sri Lankan Mission To Save Endangered Elephants

Deforestation, poaching and civil war have had a devastating impact on Sri Lanka’s elephant population. One orphanage for elephants is working to bring the species back from the brink of extinction.

SABARAGAMUWA — As the sun rises over the lush mountains in the Sri Lankan province of Sabaragamuwa, a team of veterinarians prepare very large bottles of milk. The babies, Pandula and Migara, are orphans and they are definitely hungry. Once presented their breakfast, they impatiently consume it.

The babies are two calves at the Pinnawala Elephants Orphanage.

Chandrika Priyadhashani, the research and education assistant at the orphanage, says, "They come from the wild, so we have to look after them during their lifetime. And their ages are below five."

Pandula and Migara were rescued from the Ritigala forest several years ago.

Over recent decades, massive development has seen elephant habitats in Sri Lanka shrink. Thousands of acres of thick forest have been cut down to make way for residential areas and agricultural land.

"So many wildlife animals lives were damaged, especially the elephants. They need big forests," Priyadhashani says. "So many of our elephants’ babies were orphaned."

As their habitat has been drastically reduced, elephants now wander into farms in search of food. Hundreds have been killed by people in surrounding communities because they are seen as a nuisance even though they are endangered.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Four elephants were hoisted from a well, using ropes and a digger in a dramatic rescue.

The elephants were spotted by locals after they had fallen into a well in Kombuvaittakulam, an area in the Sri Lankan town of Omanthai.

It is believed that the two adult elephants and two calves had come to drink water from the well.

After villagers raised an alarm, a rescue team arrived at the spot to get the giant animals out from the well.

A forest official said: “First, we rescued the elephant calves with ropes as it was difficult to bring in a digger to the area.

“But when we were unable to rescue the adult elephants using ropes, we somehow managed to bring in the digger and managed to pull them out,” he added.

In the video, the frightened elephants can be seen trying to attack the digger, however, the wildlife officials blasted water bombs to chase them away.

The elephants ran towards the nearby forest after the rescue operation.

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Sri Lankan court case against gifting elephant to New Zealand shifts focus to conservation

On a writ petition filed by animal rights activists and Buddhist and Christian organisations, the Court of Appeal has stayed the export of the baby elephant “Nandi” and fixed May 26 as the next date for hearing the case.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General had appointed two committees to revise the regulations relating to the export of baby elephants to other countries. The committees are expected to give their reports before May 26.

It was in 2016, when the then New Zealand Prime Minister John Key visited Sri Lanka, that President Sirisena had announced that he would gift to New Zealand the baby elephant Nandi kept in the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. But opposition to this rose both in Sri Lanka and in New Zealand. The grounds were similar.

The New Zealand animal rights organisation SAFE said in a statement that it was “deadly opposed” to bringing another elephant into the country.

The first of many reasons for this being that transporting and caring for an elephant in captivity is extravagantly more expensive than maintaining them in the wild.

However, the most important reason is that female elephant often never leave their mothers or mother figures. Even though Nandi was orphaned, she will be brutally ripped away from her family and sold to solidify foreign relations.

'Nandi' is not the first elephant to be sent to New Zealand from Sri Lanka, as another was sold to them last year,” SAFE said.

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Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Pair of elephant tusks seized

Wildlife officials Keerthi Bandarapura and Hasalaka on Tuesday seized a pair of tusks made out of a bone of an elephant from the residence of the Basnayake Nilame of Kandy Kataragama Devalaya, Gemunu Tikri Banda Walisundera.

The wildlife officers found two tusks 2 feet and 7 inches in height and some bones from the Ganegoda Walawwa of the Basnayake Nilame at Butewatta in Thalathuoya.

Following the seizure, a furious Basnayake Nilame allegedly showed the Wildlife officials the permits he holds for tusks and told them that the two feet of tusks which had been bought from a former Basnsayake Nilame.

He asked whether he was not allowed to possess elephant bones.
Basnayake Nilame Wallisundera told the ‘Daily Mirror’ that there are unlicensed Tuskers, young and old, then there are elephant skeletons in houses without licenses.

“Why are Wildlife officials overlooking for them come after me? Is it because I am doing a ‘clean’ job at the Kandy Kataragama Devalaya?,” he asked.

He also told the ‘Daily Mirror’, that he is filing a “Rights petition” as his Human Rights had been violated by these officials.

However, it was reported that the pair of tusks had been seized since the Nilame was not in possession of a licence or any other document to keep the tusks with him. Wildlife officials said it was a punishable offence to keep tusks or bones of an elephant without a valid licence.

They said the tusks were produced in the Kandy Magistrate’s Court the previous evening and the Nilame was ordered to appear in Courts on March 27. He had been released on Wildlife bail.

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Endangered Asian Elephant Found With a Nail Hammered in Its Leg in Sri Lanka

A heart-wrenching video of an injured elephant in in agonizing pain in Sri Lanka recently emerged on social media. The male elephant reportedly collapsed in a puddle of mud near a jungle and was unable to get up.

In the touching footage, rescuers from Kottukachchiya in Sri Lanka are seen comforting the hurt elephant as it lays in the mud. Locals who responded to save the poor animal reportedly discovered that a nail was hammered on one of its legs, according to the Daily Mail.

Concerned villagers tried to ease the elephant’s condition by offering it some fruits to eat. Others cleaned its wounds by washing it with saline water.

It was not reported if poachers had caused the injury to the animal which is typically hunted down in the country for its valuable ivory tusks.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Friday, March 24, 2017

Elephant runs on a rampage in Matara Perahera

An elephant that was participating in the annual Duruthu Perahera in Gandara Wijeyaratnarama Viharaya in Matara has gone on a rampage last night.

The incident has caused panic among the spectators.

However, several mahouts, wildlife officials and police has given anesthesia to the elephant and controlled the situation.

The angry elephant has damaged four tree-wheelers and a car, Gandara police said. It has also damaged four electricity poles and three telephone poles.

Few people were also injured when the group panicked.

It is believed that the elephant was provoked by flashing lights.

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Wildlife Department nurses polythene-ingested elephant to heath

The Giritale Wildlife Department nursed to health an elephant that was found to have consumed vast amounts of polythene.

The elephant was found lying in a swamp at Manampitiya, Nelumwila on January 29.

The Giritale Wildlife Department said the elephant was moved out of the swamp with a backhoe and treated with 30 bottles of saline.

Giritale Wildlife Department veterinary surgeon said the elephant had discharged 40 kilogrammes of polythene, after being given 40 litres of water and 3 litres of coconut oil.

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Friday, March 10, 2017

Elephant uses backside to show safari group her disapproval

An elephant in Sri Lanka showed her displeasure with a safari group's proximity to her herd by rubbing her backside against a safari vehicle.

The video, filmed by a person on a private safari earlier this year at Yala National Park, shows the elephant approach the safari vehicles after apparently becoming displeased at their proximity to her herd, which included at least one baby.

"One of the young females got a little uncomfortable with our presence near the baby and came towards the Jeeps," the filmer wrote online.

"She passed my Jeep very closely and then used her backside to push against the other (which was full of local tourists). The tour guides sprayed water at her to dissuade her from damaging their vehicle. She pressed hard against the truck and then walked away," the filmer said.

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‘Displaced’ wild elephants evicted from Hambantota Port

Officers from the Hambantota Office of Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) launched an operation on Monday evening to evict a herd of wild elephants that had entered the premises of the Hambantota Magampura Port.

The operation lasted from 5.30pm to about 9.00pm and DWC officers were able to chase away some 15 elephants who had made their way into the port.

Officials from the China Harbor Engineering Corporation had told the DWC that about 40 wild elephants were roaming around the port premises and were causing damage to property on a daily basis.

Environmentalists however, point out that the main reason for such incidents is the continued reluctance on the part of officials to declare a separate reserve for wild elephants in the Hambantota region who have become displaced due to the construction of the Magampura Port and the Mattala Airport. They note that the former regime ignored the recommendation to declare an elephant reserve despite it being explicitly stated in the Enviornmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) of the two projects. The tragedy is that the present Government is adopting the same approach as the former, they notee. This has resulted in about 350 wild elephants in the region being evicted from their natural habit which has been taken over for development work.

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Friday, March 03, 2017

Cabinet approves hike in compensation for victims of elephant attacks

The Cabinet of Ministers has recently approved the increase of compensations paid for damages caused by wild elephant attacks on individuals and properties.

Accordingly, amending the amounts further, the proposal made by Minister of Sustainable Development and Wildlife Gamini Jayawickrama Perera, to increase the compensation paid for human deaths and permanent disabilities from Rs. 200,000/- to Rs. 500,000/-, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.

During the past 12 years, an estimated 1,464 elephants have been killed, while 672 persons have lost their lives in elephant attacks.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

11 hour operation to detach trunk from tusk

A tusker whose trunk had gotten stuck inside one of its tusks, rendering it unable to intake food for two days, was rescued by veterinary surgeons of the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC). The elephant, a 25-year-old tusker by the name of 'Nandimitra,' is known to frequent the area of the Sithulpawwa Rajamaha Viharaya.

After receiving information that the tusker's trunk had been stuck inside one of its tusks, wildlife officers launched a two day search operation to locate the animal. They were finally able to locate 'Nandimitra' last evening. The trunk was finally detached from the tusk after an operation lasting 11 hours.

DWC officials say Nandimitra had attacked and damaged about 107 vehicles along the Sithulpawwa road, mainly due to pilgrims trying to feed the tusker.

According to the most recent DWC census conducted in 2011, there are just 120 tuskers left in the wild.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Bee keeping to prevent elephants encroaching villages in Hambantota

Hambantota District Secretary W.H. Karunarathna says that steps have been taken to set up bee colonies along the borders of forests to minimize wild elephants encroaching to villages in the district.

He said this project could help prevent wild elephant rampage in vulnerable villages to a certain extent.

Plans are afoot to set up bee colonies in Sooriyawewa as the village is constantly attacked by wild elephants.

District Secretary said this project will be expanded to other vulnerable areas later.

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Speeding truck kills elephant in Kenyan capital

A vehicle passes by a wild elephant on Colombo-Trincomalee road of Sri Lanka, April 4, 2016. (Xinhua/Gayan Sameera)

NAIROBI, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- A speeding truck hit and killed an elephant along a highway in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Friday, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said.

KWS said the adult female elephant died from the accident along Nairobi-Mombasa highway in the early morning.

"KWS is saddened that in the early hours of this morning, an elephant died arising from a hit by a canter lorry at Kanga station area of the park along Mombasa-Nairobi highway," the organization said in a statement.

The statement said the three people travelling in the lorry were reported to have sustained minor injuries while the lorry heading for the port city of Mombasa had some damage.
The carcass of the animal has been removed from the road and the tusks have been recovered by the KWS for safe custody.

Police and the KWS have launched investigations into the incident.

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Sri Lankan elephant Kaavan donated to Pakistan affected by chill weather

The Dawn newspaper published in Pakistan reported that the elephant ‘Kaavan’ donated by Sri Lanka to Islamabad Zoo has been affected by the chilled weather developing in the winter.

The newspaper pointed out that the zoo authorities have not arranged a suitable environment for the elephant to spend winter.

It also reported that the mahout has failed to take control of the elephant.

Kaavan’s mate Saheli died in Marghzar zoo in 2012 and the death of the cow elephant drawn attention of wild life enthusiasts worldwide.

The newspapers further stated that requests have been made to zoo authorities to shift the elephant to suitable zoo and appoint a qualified mahout to look after it.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Sri Lanka bans use of young elephants for work

Colombo - Sri Lanka unveiled tougher laws Wednesday, including a ban on using young elephants for logging and other physical work, as part of a crackdown on cruelty to domesticated wild animals.

Wildlife Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera said the cabinet approved new regulations imposing tough conditions on owners of elephants, which are considered sacred by Buddhists in Sri Lanka.

The animals are also legally protected but are often subjected to cruel treatment by some owners.

Under the new regulations seen by AFP, owners are banned from using working elephants below the age of 10 years while those under five years cannot be used in parades, even at religious festivals.

There are 41 new conditions aimed at ensuring minimum standards of care, including the daily diet that should include fresh fruit in addition to leaves and vegetables.

Owners must also take their elephants for daily walks of not less than five kilometres and the animals must be allowed two and a half hours for bathing.

The minister is also seeking to regulate the use of elephants in movie productions.
Baby elephants stolen

To read the full article, click on the story title

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Sri Lanka Cracks Down on Owners of Elephants Taken From Wild

Capturing wild elephants has been banned for decades here. Registration records indicate there should be only 127 elephants in captivity, most of them older. Yet they are a staple of the South Asian island nation's 400 or so yearly processions - traditional ceremonies honoring a marriage, calling for peace or praying for rain - and in each there are always a few young elephants clumsily cantering to keep up.

"In Sri Lanka, people measure the success of the processions by the number of elephants," said the Rev. Magalkande Sudantha, a Buddhist monk.

Despite concerns that the animals may be abused, spectators always expect a parade of elephants wearing jangling ornaments, and babies are a special attraction.

"There is no beauty in processions without elephants," said Janaka Alwis, a 48-year-old city council employee in Gampaha, north of Colombo. "People go to watch because of the elephants, and to count them.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Wild elephants invade Ampara villages

Wild elephants damages are increasing in villages in Ampara.

It has been brought to the notice of the officials that wild elephants have found their way interior to the villages of Irakkamam, Ampara, Valathapiddy, Kuduvil, Dheegawappi, Nintavur, Pottuvil, Akkaraipattu, Addalaichenai, Kalmunai. The elephants have damaged paddy fields and other crops, home gardens.

The elephants enter villages and consume paddy stocks and household goods. Some elephants have entered Sambunagar and Meelath Nagar in the Addalaichenai Divisional Secretariat Division.(Daily News)

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800 km long electric fence around villages to keep wild elephants away

Colombo: Sri Lankan government has decided to build another 800 kilometers of electrical fence to prevent elephants from entering into villages.

According to the government, about 60-80 human lives and lives of more than 200 wild elephants are lost annually due to human -elephant and cost-effective electric fencing has been identified as the only viable solution and most productive measure to control this long-standing conflict in the country. -

About 3300 km long fences have been constructed so far in this regard. Construction of 275 km of fences are under way for 2016.

It has been planned to erect 800 km long fences in 2017 in seven wildlife zones according to a proposal made by Minister of Sustainable Development and Wildlife Gamini Jayawickrama Perera, and the Cabinet of ministers has granted approval to purchase required material for the project.

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Ailing elephant gives birth to male calf in Tamil Nadu

NK Tamil Nadu, Chennai , Oct. 25 : An ailing 45-year-old female elephant gave birth to a male calf in Tamil Nadu's Coimbatore city on Monday.

Forest officials and veterinarians were catering to the animal ever since she was spotted by villagers lying on a ground near a temple last Tuesday.

The animal's condition was not very encouraging as she kept lying on her side. In their bid to revive her, the doctors gave her vitamins and food to which it responded positively.

Later, she was shifted to the Chadivayal elephant camp for proper treatment.

Veterinarian Manoharan said the pachyderm had a normal delivery.

"Today morning around 4:30 a m, she delivered a male baby in lying posture, normal delivery. So probably, the strength, vitamins, minerals, all the support which we gave, gave her the strength to deliver a normal baby. So, now the mother is taking care," said Manoharan.

Manoharan added that they were checking on her health and giving her treatment.

It is believed that the elephant may have strayed from her herd.

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Baby elephant found tied to tree in Hambegamuwa

Residents and wildlife officials have released a baby elephant that was tied to a tree in Hambegamuwa area.

Residents who saw this elephant has informed the wildlife officials in the area.

It is believed that the baby elephant was to be transported to another place at night.

Police has commenced an investigation into the incident.

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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Gal-Oya residents reach out to Gammadda as elephants continue to wander

News 1st , which keeps it word and fulfills it promises to the people, visited the Gal-Oya Settlementon Friday.

News1st made a promise that the Gammadda 100 Day Initiative would look into the issue in Gal-Oya Settlement, which has been neglected by authorities over the years.

Upon arrival at the village this morning we heard of the tragic story.It has become a common sight in the area to see houses that were constructed to ensure the safety of it’s residents, being destroyed like mere toys.. The lone elephant, that was terrorising the area for days destroyed this house today, taking away their only assets, the harvested paddy.

The tussle with wild elephants has become a regular activity in the lives of these people, as the fence that was set up to protect them is malfunctioning.Not a single house had been spared by  wild elephants in this village. Similarly, not a single fruit tree too had been spared.

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Elephant rushes into river to save drowning man

A short video out of Chaing Mai, Thailand showing an adorable young elephant "rescuing" a man in a river has gone viral after it was posted to Youtube.

Darrick Thompson, co-founder of the Save Elephant Foundation, was going for a dip in a river, and Kham Lha, one of the foundation's rescued baby elephants, was standing on the shore.

She mistook him calling out to her from the water as a cry for help and charged into the water to save him by offering her trunk.

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Sunday, October 09, 2016

Killing an elephant in Sri Lanka carries the death penalty

The Sri Lankan elephant population has fallen almost 65% since the turn of the 19th century. Today, the Sri Lanka elephant is protected under the Sri Lankan law and killing one carries the death penalty.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Saturday, October 08, 2016

2 killed by wild elephants in Galgamuwa and Thanthirimale

Six deaths have been reported due to various accidents that occurred in several parts of the island.

Reports indicated that the deaths have been caused by wild elephant attacks, motor accidents and drowning.

A 27 year old woman was killed early this morning at Kudagama area in Thanthirimale after being attacked by a wild elephant.

The two children of the victim, aged seven and three, were also admitted to the hospital in critical condition.

Reports indicated that the incident occurred after the wild elephant invaded a vegetable cultivation near the residence of the victim.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Friday, January 11, 2013

Relocating elephants fails to decrease human–wildlife conflict

Human-elephant conflict in Sri Lanka kills more than 70 humans and 200 Asian elephants every year. One of the most common tools in combating these conflicts is moving the elephants into ranges away from humans, often into national parks. This is done in hopes of avoiding problems that include elephants raiding crops, breaking into homes and injuring or killing people. But according to a new study to be published Dec. 7 in PLOS ONE by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, the Centre for Conservation and Research in Sri Lanka and the Department of Wildlife Conservation Sri Lanka, moving problem elephants can actually lead to more conflict and more deaths of both humans and elephants.

To read the full article, click on the story title

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Lost in captivity

The baby elephant at the resort hotel in Bentota on July 13 was present to welcome guests. An animal lover visiting the hotel was aghast. For here was an animal that should still be in the wild or in a safe haven, instead entertaining tourists. But thankfully Sanju (as the animal’s current owner calls him) is no longer at work. No longer there: Baby Sanju at the hotel Bentota Beach Hotel General Manager Sanjeewa Perera said Sanju is about six years old and this was confirmed by Sanju’s current owner. The hotel had an elephant as a tourist attraction for about 30 years, usually leased, he said. To read this article in full, please click on the link at the top.

New measures to protect Pinnawala elephants

The death of a young elephant due to the cruelty of four workers at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage has prompted authorities to introduce measures to ensure safety of the pachyderms. Among the new measures will be the installation of closed-circuit TV cameras that will monitor how elephants are looked after at the orphanage, a world famous tourist attraction.
Other measures, according to outgoing National Zoological Gardens Director Bashwara Gunaratne, include training for mahouts on the latest methods in animal care.

To read this story in full, please click on the link at the top.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Wild jumbos run amok in new habitats

Daily News
May 6, 2009

Wild elephants, that lived in the Buttala, Kataragama and Wellawaya areas in the Pahala Uva region of the Monaragala district have come to the forests off Ambarangala, Koslanda, Makaldeniya, Puunaagala and Seeriyabedda in the Haldummulla Divisional Secretariat of the Badulla district, say the Haldummulla public.

These jumbos have become a menace to the peasants of the villages in and around these forests.

Against this background, peasants in these villages have to live in fear of the wild elephants. Some of these elephants have dared to come to the villages even during the day time.

Occasionally, wild elephants could be seen in the town of Koslanda too, the Haldummulla public states.

Wild elephants in school playground

Palitha Ariyawansa, Daily Mirror
May 5, 2009

The school children, of the jungle area of Kandeketiya, got a surprise when they saw four wild jumbos frolicking in the school playground.
The elephants, noticing the children, had stopped playing and started running towards them. The frightened children ran helter-skelter and some ended up getting into a bus parked near the school and had stopped only after creeping under the seats.
According to the Divisional Secretary Gamini Mahindapala Jopeas, the children could come into the school only after the teachers and the elders of the village had managed to chase the elephants.

Why do elephants come back home?

Kumudini Hettiarachchi, Sunday Times

April 5, 2009
Human settlements have expanded and forests have been cleared, invariably leading to conflicts not only with elephants but other wild animals as well. As soon as there is a human-elephant conflict in some area, the traditional answer has been to “translocate” the elephant, uprooting it from its habitat and placing it in a new environment, with the expectation that it would settle down there and not cause conflict.

But is this the best answer, looking at it from both the human and elephant points of view? This is what the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC) is trying to find out, after several instances where elephants translocated many km away have come back to their very own “gama” or home, like humans who keep going back to their ancestral villages.

Such “homecomings” have been easy to detect in recent times because some of the elephants have been “collared” by the DWLC in collaboration with the Centre for Conservation and Research.
The latest “walkabout”, however, has been by an elephant which is easily identifiable even without a radio collar as it is a majestic one-tusked adult male.

Tranquillized and captured in the Ehetuwewa divisional area in Galgamuwa on February 14 due to complaints by villagers that the elephant was creating trouble, it had been released at the Somawathiya National Park at midnight on February 15/16, 93.4 km. away in a direct line.

To read the full article click on the story title

Tussle over tusks

Wildlife conservationists raise concern over an Environment Ministry
decision to give away tusks collected at the Wildlife Conservation
Malaka Rodrigo, The Sunday Times
April 19, 2009

During a voyage to Serendib, Sinbad the Sailor is said to have
discovered an ancient elephant graveyard, full of elephant tusks. That
maybe fictitious, but the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC)’s
store today resembles a modern elephant graveyard as all the tusks
belonging to elephants who die in the wild are kept here.

To read the full article click on the story title

Human-elephant conflict intense

Sri Lanka Daily News
April 20, 2009

Wild elephants infiltrating from Lunugamvehera National Park to Kataragama area is frequently resulting in human-elephant conflicts.

The Lunugamvehera National Park authorities say this is due to damaged section of the electricity fence at Wilamba Wewa area where there is a conflict between the authorities and farmers over a tank a paddy fields inside the national park.

The farmers claim the ownership of the lands while the authorities say that they cannot be released to farmer as these lands are within the national park.

Because of this reason heavy elephant tolls have been reported to the wildlife authorities.

Tusks donation creates uproar

By Risidra Mendis, The Sunday Leader
April 12, 2009

A pair of tusks presented to President Mahinda Rajapakse by Environment Minister Champika Ranawaka has created an uproar among environmentalists.

The presentation of the tusks to President Mahinda Rajapakse at Temple Trees two weeks ago though not illegal has been criticised by environmentalists and the public, who feel that the Minister should set an example to the public by not making such presentations.

Speaking to The Sunday Leader environmentalists said even though there are special provisions for the head of state, ministers and the wildlife director to present a pair of tusks with an authorised permit, the Minister should set an example to the public by not making announcements when presenting tusks to the President.

"The elephant population is rapidly decreasing in the country. According to recent surveys the elephant human conflict and killing these animals for their tusks are the main reasons for their dwindling population. A large number of elephants were killed during the recent past and their tusks used for decorative accessories in the country. At a time when animal welfare activists and environmentalists are fighting to save the dwindling elephant population in the country the Environment Minister is presenting a pair of tusks to the President," environmentalists said, requesting anonymity in view of the fact that the tusks had been donated to the President.

To read the full article click on the story title

Wild elephant threats increase

Daily News
March 22, 2009

The threats of wild elephants are increasing day by day causing immense hardships to farmers, Sports Minister Bandula Basnayake said at Galgamuwa Divisional Secretariat office recently.

The Wildlife Conservation Department has not taken any action about this pathetic situation, he alleged.

He pointed out to the officers present at the conference that under this situation, a number of houses were destroyed as well as chena cultivations around Galgamuwa area.

It has been found that the largest number of deaths and casualties in the human-elephant conflict are reported from the North Western Province. He said people are concerned about these problem in Wayamba.

They were not worried about the dwindling elephant population.

To read the full article click on the story title

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Elephant conservation to be improved

Official Government News Portal of Sri Lanka
Press Release
23 January 2009

The Government has taken a number of measures to improve elephant conservation. The elephant population which was only 1,967 in 1993 has increased up to 5,350 in 2008, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Patali Champika Ranawaka said at the Parliament yesterday (22).

The Ministry launching the Gajamithuro program, expects to protect the elephant population of the country, he said.

The Minister stated that Gajamithuro Coordination Centres have been established in Hambantota, Giritale, Ritigala, Thanamalwila, Koslanda, Kurunegala, Minipe, Walapane, Ampara, Valachchenai, Udawalawa and Vavuniya to protect wild elephants across the country.

A new elephant orphanage in Ritigala will be set up this year to protect baby elephants.
Twenty five elephant rehabilitation centres will also be set up islandwide. Two centres in Ritigala and Wasgamuwa are scheduled to be opened this year, the Minister added.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Wild life experts lock horns over baby elephant transfers

Kumudini Hettiarachchi, Sunday Times
January 1, 2009

As controversy surrounded preparations to transfer two “babies” from the Elephant Transit Home (ETH) at Uda Walawe to the Pinnawela Orphanage, opinion among activists was divided whether this was a good or bad move.

“We are hoping to move ‘Atlas’ and another baby elephant from ETH to Pinnawela on Sunday (today) or this week,” said W.A.D.A. Wijesooriya, Director-General of the Department of Wild Life Conservation (DWLC), when contacted by The Sunday Times.

The Sunday Times reliably learns that the transfer of baby elephants will take place today. (January 11)
When asked whether the transfer was to ensure that foreign tourists could see babies being bottle-fed milk at Pinnawela as alleged by conservationists, the Director-General was quick to reject it, saying that the ETH was overcrowded. “Whereas there should only be about 20-25 elephants there, we have about 35,” he said.

For the full story click on the title of the article

Electric fences to avoid human - elephant conflict

Mohammed Naalir, Daily News
January 15, 2009

Plans are afoot to erect electric fences surrounding the forests where elephants roam frequently considering the safety of villages while establishing a typical environment to elephants, North Western Province Wild Life Director Manjula Amararatne said.

He said that this project will be implemented in three stages and electric fences will be erected surrounding the forests in Anuradhapura, Kekirawa and Galoya areas, where the threat from wild elephants is high.

Amararatne said that due to attacks by elephants several persons were killed. Also a large number of elephants were killed by the villagers for various reasons. He expressed confidence that these measures will help to protect the human lives as well as the lives of elephants. A considerable sum has been set aside for this purpose, Amararatne added.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Wildlife Dept expedites payments to victims of elephant attacks

S.M. Wijayaratne Kurunegala, Daily News

November 18, 2008

The Department of Wildlife has now decided to pay compensation to all people who are victims of wild elephant attacks.

Earlier, victims of wild elephant attacks had to wait for years to get compensation, but now the department has planned to pay compensation within two or three months.

The Director of North Western Wildlife Zone Manjula Amararatne told the Daily News that if a householder faces death due to a wild elephant attack the dependants of that family will be entitled to Rs. 100,000 as compensation. A member of any family who faces death due to a wild elephant attack will get Rs. 75,000.

If a householder becomes totally in capacitated for life due to an attack of elephants he will get Rs. 100,000 as compensation.


Wild elephants destroy Kandaketiya crops

Daily Mirror
November 17, 2008

A group of wild elephants who escaped from the Randenigala reserve forest have destroyed a large number of crops in the adjoining villages of Kandaketiya, Kirivehera area last week, terrorising the local people in the area.
C. de Silva, a resident of the area said there were three wild elephants roaming the village and the fear of elephants had made the local people to remain sleepless at night.
“It was after a long time the elephants came back to the village. They destroyed a large amount of acres of paddy this time. They roam around the villages not allowing any person to step outside their houses even at daytime.
We remain awake ready with our fireplaces to be lighted as security measures. The villagers have become hopeless because all their crops have been destroyed,” he said.

For the full article click on the story title

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Humans and elephants on collision course in South Asia

World Wildlife Fund
17 Nov 2008

Kathmandu, Nepal: Massive international investment in large-scale infrastructure projects in southern Asia will increase human-elephant conflict and cause more deaths on both sides unless much greater care is taken.

A new report released today, funded by the World Bank as part of the World Bank-WWF Alliance for Forest Conservation & Sustainable Use, warns international investors that a clear strategy for keeping human-elephant conflict under control makes economic as well as environmental sense.

It is estimated that the economic damage caused by human-elephant conflict amounts to millions of dollars in some countries and in many cases it is those responsible for new land developments that have to foot the bill.

“Billions of dollars lined up for regional and national level infrastructural investments such as the Trans-Asian highway project and various hydro-power and irrigation projects are going to significantly increase human-elephant conflict across Asia,” said Christy Williams, Coordinator of WWF’s Asian elephant and rhino conservation program.

“Banks and investors need to show leadership when it comes to human-elephant conflict by adding mitigation options into their large infrastructure plans in places where elephants are found from the beginning.”

Human-animal conflict is exacerbated whenever land where the animals traditionally find food and living space is taken away as human population and aspiration increases. In this situation elephants frequently raid crop fields and break down houses to get at stored crops.

Chance encounters between elephants and people, as well as efforts of people to guard against elephants, result in injury and death of humans. Harmful methods employed by people in the process result in death and injury of elephants, thereby escalating the conflict.

The report – Review of Human-Elephant Conflict Mitigation Measures Practised in South Asia – was compiled by WWF-Nepal, the Centre for Conservation and Research Sri Lanka (CCR) and the Nature Conservation Foundation.

It analyses case by case the methods local people are using to keep elephants away from their houses and finds that, in order to reduce the many costs of human-elephant conflict, a strategy that explains the most effective ways to mitigate the conflict is urgently needed.

The report notes that a comprehensive strategy could help investors planning infrastructure projects in south Asia to include human-elephant conflict mitigation options from the beginning, which would lead to both economic and conservation gains.

"Most mitigation measures currently being used are just akin to bandaging the wounds and not treating the root cause,” said Prithiviraj Fernando, chairman of CCR-Sri Lanka. “Good land-use planning that takes both people and elephant needs into account is the only long-term solution.”

See report, Review of Human-Elephant Conflict Mitigation Measures Practised in South Asia [pdf, 1.69 MB] by clicking on the blog title

Wildlife Dept expedites payments to victims of elephant attacks

S.M. Wijayaratne Kurunegala, Daily News

November 18, 2008

The Department of Wildlife has now decided to pay compensation to all people who are victims of wild elephant attacks.

Earlier, victims of wild elephant attacks had to wait for years to get compensation, but now the department has planned to pay compensation within two or three months.

The Director of North Western Wildlife Zone Manjula Amararatne told the Daily News that if a householder faces death due to a wild elephant attack the dependants of that family will be entitled to Rs. 100,000 as compensation. A member of any family who faces death due to a wild elephant attack will get Rs. 75,000.

If a householder becomes totally in capacitated for life due to an attack of elephants he will get Rs. 100,000 as compensation.

Amararatne added that the Government has already drafted a policy to save elephants and to minimise elephant human conflict in the future.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Wild elephants destroy Kandaketiya crops

Daily Mirror
November 17, 2008

A group of wild elephants who escaped from the Randenigala reserve forest have destroyed a large number of crops in the adjoining villages of Kandaketiya, Kirivehera area last week, terrorising the local people in the area.
C. de Silva, a resident of the area said there were three wild elephants roaming the village and the fear of elephants had made the local people to remain sleepless at night.
“It was after a long time the elephants came back to the village. They destroyed a large amount of acres of paddy this time. They roam around the villages not allowing any person to step outside their houses even at daytime.
We remain awake ready with our fireplaces to be lighted as security measures. The villagers have become hopeless because all their crops have been destroyed,” he said.

For the full article click on the story title

Monday, November 10, 2008

Elephantine misconceptions

From human-elephant conflict to human-elephant coexistence:
Sajitha PREMATUNGE, Sunday Observer
November 2, 2008

People and elephants have lived in harmony for nearly thousand years. So why have reports on human-elephant conflict escalated as of late?

With the liberation of the East, as more protected areas have become accessible and with the increased man power the records of conflicts have invariably increased, coupled with the undue publicity given by some media to such unfortunate confrontations giving the false impression that conflicts have increased in number.

Although there undoubtedly may be an increase in the number of incidents, there are many misconceptions about our gentle giants.
Apart from the irresponsible conduct of some media in providing unnecessary publicity to incidents of human-elephant, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Patali Champika Ranawaka identifies that, increased number of recorded elephant deaths due to the increase of vet surgeons, gives the false impression that conflicts have escalated.

“New counts in newly liberated areas like Batticaloa have helped to increase the numbers. But that doesn’t mean that the human elephant conflict has escalated. This has happened in these very same areas before, it’s just that nobody was there to record them.”

To read the full article click on the story title

Agro-wells: death traps for elephants

The Island
November 3, 2008

Recently the issue of unprotected agro-wells into which elephants frequently fall and die unless rescued in time, has come into sharp focus. Elephants, particularly in the Kalawewa area of the NCP, which has a large number of agro-wells, come into villages to feed on cultivations and frequently fall into these wells. Yet, successive Directors of the Department of Wildlife Conservation and Ministers have paid little or no attention to this problem, allowing elephants and young calves to continue to suffer a cruel fate. The present Minister, on assuming office, showed his concern for fauna and flora, by saying that in Sri Lanka not only people but the environment too was faced with violence. However, there seems to be a big gap between sentiment and action because with regard to the danger to elephants from open agro-wells, it has taken him three years to turn his attention to this problem.

In a recent incident at Kekirawa, a man was killed by a she elephant rescued from an agro-well into which she and her calf had fallen. TV viewers watched in horror how, getting out of the well, the mother elephant chased after the man and catching up with him, trampled and killed him. Apparently the mother elephant was enraged and agitated by the large and noisy crowd of people gathered there, fearing they would harm her calf.

To read the full article click on the story title

Friday, October 24, 2008

Elephant protection societies mooted to minimise human-elephant conflict

Sri Lanka Daily News
October 11, 2008

The Wildlife Conservation Department has planned to form 'Elephant Protection Societies' in the North Western wildlife preservation zone for minimising the elephant-human conflict.

Assistant Director in charge of the North Western Zone Manjula Amararatne which consist of five districts such as Mannar, Puttalam, Vavuniya, Anuradhapura and Kurunegala, said that villagers who live in areas where elephant invasions are rampant will be trained in strategical methodologies that could be practised in driving the elephant herds to forest reserves, without causing harm to them. Referring to the distribution of elephant crackers he said that in villages threatened by wild elephants, all villagers can apply for crackers.

When elephants enter the villages the limitless, aimless and unsystematic firing of ali wedi here and there agitate the jumbos and they start to play havoc in the locality in which the folks get injured or killed and their properties including cultivations devastated, the Assistant Director pointed out. Hence the Elephant Protection Societies are being established, he said to further curtail the damages.

He said that the monthly quota of ali wedi to the zone is 9,000 but the demands exceeds 20,000 each month. Through this concept of Elephant Protection Societies both waste and the unwarranted usage of ali wedi could be reduced thus minimising the danger.

Amararatne said that in the Kurunegala and Puttalam divisions, due to the scarcity of forest cover and reservations, elephants and people are compelled to live adjacently thus jeopardising the existence of both.

To read the full article click on the story title

Sri Lanka rescues five wild elephants during the last 5 days

October 6, 2008

Oct 06, Colombo: Despite the conflict between the two species Sri Lankans have managed to rescue the lives of five wild elephants fallen into agriculture wells in Kekirawa of the North Central Province during the last 3 days.

According to Wildlife Department, during a rescue operation that took place on October 3rd to remove two elephant calves and a female elephant, an onlooker was attacked by the female elephant and later succumbed to his injuries.

However, another female elephant died before being rescued on October 4th even though her calf was rescued.

Meanwhile an elephant and a calf fallen into an agriculture well on October 5th was taken out by using an earth moving machine.

Sri Lanka hopes elephants can revive tourism trade

Agence France Presse
October 6. 2008

MINNERIYA, Sri Lanka (AFP) — Asian elephants are renowned as highly social animals and the reservoir meetings demonstrate their complex group dynamics in action.
As evening falls, a female elephant and her pink-skinned baby emerge from the jungle for a leafy snack around an ancient artificial lake in Sri Lanka.

They are just two of hundreds of wild elephants that gather each evening along the banks of the Minneriya reservoir for food, water, shelter -- and match-making.
From July to October, "The Gathering" -- as it is known -- gives humans the chance to observe the elephants feasting and frolicking on the water's edge.

Mothers encourage their off-spring towards the water, making sure that no calf is left stranded. Young males use their trunks to wrestle each other, while adult bulls sniff the air to scent fertile females.

Tucked away in the island's north central province, Minneriya provides an ideal venue for hungry elephants during the dry season when waterholes in the forests evaporate into cracked mud patches

To read the full article click on the story title

The Fall of Ravana

By Malaka Rodrigo, Sunday Times
October 5, 2008

Among the many elephant deaths we hear of, this was particularly shocking. Not only because it was a majestic tusker being monitored through a satellite collar, but also because it was killed inside a national park.

Ravana died on August 25 in a muddy water hole inside Lunugamvehera National Park, from infected gunshot wounds. The post-mortem revealed that the jumbo– named after the powerful king of ancient Sri Lanka – was starving at the time of death - the wound on its cheek preventing it from taking food in its last days.

The Lunugamvehera park was supposed to have been a sanctuary for the animal which was translocated there last December. It had initially been moved to Uda Walawe National Park in September 2007 after crop-raiding in its home grounds of Anuradhapura and was radio-collared by elephant expert Dr. Prithiviraj Fernando before release in the park. But soon, it tried to make its way back leaving a trail of destruction in the villages of Aluthwewa, Handapanagala and Buttala. One man was killed and an elderly villager was saved only after a constable shot the elephant in its foot.

To read the full article click on the story title

Rescued Elephants Run Amok, Kill Saviour in Sri Lanka
October 4th, 2008

Colombo, Oct 4 (IANS) An elephant that had fallen into a jungle well with her calf and was rescued by villagers in Anuradhapura district of Sri Lanka ran amok and killed one of the saviours in the presence of helpless police and wildlife authorities.The incident occurred Friday at Kirirawa village in the north-central district of Anuradhapura, about 200 km from here.
“As they came out of the well, the elephants started chasing the villagers. The baby jumbo calmed down in a short while, but the cow elephant kept chasing a group of villagers and trampled one of them to death,” A. Bandara, a local reporter in Anuradhapura, told IANS over the phone.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Ranjith Gunasekara said a police team along with wildlife authorities rushed to the scene and helped the villagers rescue the elephants from the well.

However, he said it was unfortunate that the police team could not rescue the villager who was trampled by the cow elephant.

The situation turned ugly when angry villagers attacked the police team for not killing the elephant and saving the life of the villager.

“A police sergeant assaulted by the villagers was admitted to the hospital. We have arrested a villager for assaulting policemen,” Gunasekara said.

To read the full article click on the story title

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Who sanctioned the rape of a sanctuary?

Kumudini Hettiarachchi, Sunday Times
September 28, 2008

Absolute stillness, the stillness of the jungle, accentuated only by the call of birds from the lotus-studded wewa. Suddenly a humming and whining begin, shattering the stillness. A bulldozer is at work………up and down, leaving a large swathe of land cleared of everything.

What is left is only a trail of destruction – giant trees such as weera and myla on their sides, the scrub jungle no more and the tall grasses cleared. Some of the trees and shrubs have been set ablaze, with patches of areas still smouldering.

This is the fate, since Monday, of part of the Dahaiyagala sanctuary and animal corridor, covering about 2,685 ha, on the northern border of the Uda Walawe National Park, in clear violation of the large green boards of the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC).

To read the full article click on the story title

Is the Wild Life Department protecting its property or giving it away?

Kamini Meedeniya Vitarana, The Island
September 29, 2008

On Monday the 22nd September 2008, about a hundred or more people came with axes knives and other cutting instruments and proceeded to cut trees in what is known as the Dahaiyyagala Elephant Corridor which is situated on the north east of the Uda Walawe National park. This corridor runs through this sanctuary of Dahaiyygala to the mineral and salt deposits found in the proposed Bogahapattiya Sanctuary north of Veli Oya and was declared so by gazette notification on June 07 2002. gazette number 1239/28

What the invaders were trying to do is to close this corridor by building a fence across it and so preventing the elephants from going to Bogahapattiya . This will create a huge human elephant conflict as enraged elephants try to go to their source of salt and minerals through other land cultivated by human beings.

To read the full article click on the story title

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Update of the Uttarakhand Elephant Project from Dr Santosh Kumar Sahoo

Currently, I work on a USFWS-sponsored project on Human-elephant Conflict (HEC) issues in Uttarakhand, India. I focus on Mapping the HEC areas in the Shiwalik Elephant corridor in Uttarakhand and working with the communities on HEC mitigation strategies. At the present stage of the work It has been possible to gather significant amount of authentic information about the ground truth of HEC issue and the related problems associated with it across the elephant ranging areas spreading from the north western limit of the elephant range in Dehradun up to the Kilpura-Surai corrodor bordering Nepal in the eastern end of the Uttarakhand state. The problem of HEC in all the forest divisions in the Shivalik
Elephant Corridor not only concentrates in the fringe villages, but also its impact is seen inside many reserves where on many occasions either elephants have killed human beings or humans have killed elephants. The threats to elephant population in Uttarakhand are many but practical conservation efforts to save the elephants are NIL. The impact of habitat fragmentation in several parts of nearly 450 kilometer-long elephant corridor in Uttarakhand is so grave that growing incidences of HEC problem in recent months may give rise to greater community dissension in future over elephant related crop loss, human fatality and property loss unless a strategic plan for a community-friendly HEC mitigation and elephant corridor landscape management is implemented. Some of my critical observations on the HEC as well as elephant conservation issues in Uttarakhand are listed below:

1. In Uttarakhand state, the govt. considers HEC issue as one of the routine human-wiildlife conflicts and is trying to minimize it through a provision of a meagre ex-gratia comensation payment to the identified HEC-affected villagers, and by erecting solar powered electric fence at some locations along the fringes of the reserves. As of today, all these solar powered fencing lines are lying dead except at two locations- at Chhiderwala in Dehradun FD and at Jhilmill Jheel Conservation Unit in Haridwar FD. At Chhiderwala, it functions partially but with high risks of getting damaged unless new batteries are installed while at Jhillmill Jheel Conservation Unit, the fence encloses the Unit office premises.

2. The Solar powered electric fencing, as reported by most HEC affected villagers, could have been a success as an effective elephant detterent to minimize the HEC incidences, had there been proper line of maintainance activities under the care of trained personnel either from the communities or from the forest department staff. But unfortunately this remains to be a neglected part of the solar fencing plan of the govt and at most of my HEC survey sites communities openly accuse the state govt for ignoring the local communities before handing over the solar fencing responsibility to one solar fencing manufacturing company from Banglore. There is still a tussle between the forest department and local communities over the solar fencing mismanagement issue

3. Elephant related human deaths are on rise in Uttarakhand. During my current elephant project work, 8 people have been killed by elephants in different parts of the project area.

4. Elephant deaths are also on rise in Uttarakhand. During the last 11 months of this elephant work, we got reports of five tuskers being killed in different parts of the project area.. The major cause of these deaths was HEC related like electricution, poisoning and shooting. From the Govt record, there has been reports of 128 elephant deaths 34 tiger deaths in the last eight years in Uttarakhand.As many as, 20 elephants have been killed in the last eight years only in the Haridwar Forest Division. The Six-Kilometer long busy express highway in the Chilla-Motichur elephant corridor has been a major fragmented site blocking seasonal migration of the elephants. I believe this is one major reason why elephants from the Haridwar FD remain round the year at one or two locations, mainly in the Shympur range increasing chances of more HEC related incidences.

6. There was no elephant awareness programme by any agency in any village among any people in the whole elephant range areas in Uttarakhand. Through the current FWS sposored elephant project it was possible for the first time to reach nearly all villages in the HEC range areas with elephant conservation and HEC mitigation messages for the communities. HEC affected villagers appreciate the initiatives taken under the current elephant project to educate the villagers about the elephants and their conservation
issue in Uttarakhand and other habitats in Asia.

7. The communities strongly need a lasting solution to the growing HEC problems. They show interest to get involved in the HEC mitigation strategy, through a coordinated community-based training programme for capacity building, sustainable livilihood, and crop protection measures.

8. Grassroots level forest staffs (rangers, foresters and forest foresters) demand for a regular training on sensitive issues focusing on elephant conservation, elephant coridor landscape management, HEC mitigation. These staff need to strenghtened through elephant conservation stewardship and capacity building training in the field situation to handle the challenging field work in the elephant habitat.

Elephants trample two to death in Jharkhand

Economic Times
20 September 2008

RANCHI: Two people were trampled to death and one was injured as elephants entered a village in Jharkhand's Ramgarh district on Friday and went on the rampage, attacking people and damaging property, police said.

A herd of elephants entered villages that come under the Kuju police station of Ramgargh, around 70 km from here, in the morning. They then went on the rampage in Ratwe village and trampled Khirodhar Mahto and Gulab Mahto to death. The elephants also wounded another villager, a police official said.

Forest officials later reached the village and drove the elephants away. The animals also damaged four houses.

Elephants often venture into human inhabited areas in the region, attack people, damage houses and destroy standing crops.

According to the forest department, over 400 people have died in the last six years in this human-elephant conflict and more than 700 have been injured.

The elephant population in Jharkhand is on the decline. The state is now home to 622 elephants as compared to the 772 in the last census.

Increase in elephant population in Mahaweli areas

By Kelum Bandara, Daily Mirror
September 20, 2008

Despite the worsening of human-elephant conflict which has claimed the lives of both species, the elephant population has drastically increased from 673 in 1993 to 2423 this year in the Mahaweli areas of the country.

Environment and Natural Resources Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka made this observation yesterday while referring to a report of the census conducted covering the Mahaweli areas of Trincomalee, Polonnaruwa, Matale, Badulla and Ampara.

Addressing a ceremony held to mark the launch of the book ‘Wana Ali Samaga Dasa Wasarak’ (Ten-years in the company of wild elephants) by Veterinary Surgeon specialized in wild life Vijitha Perera.

Among the pachyderms encountered in this census, is a white elephant spotted in Ulhitiya, which the Minister cited as a sign of prosperity. Earlier, such an animal had been detected in the Yala National Park.

The highest number of 1552 elephants has been countered in Maduruoya. In Trincomalee, 219 elephants have been spotted, 211 in Kavudulla and 197 in Minneriya.

To read the full article click on the story title

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Villagers fume after wild elephant kills man

September 11, 2008

Nearly 1,000 villagers from Gomadiyagala in the Polpithigama police area launched an agitation campaign against Wildlife Officers on Tuesday after a 25-year-old man was killed by a wild elephant near the Hakwatuna oya reservoir in the Polpithigama Divisional Secretariat division.

The Divisional Secretary promised that he would take every possible action on this matter.

The villagers forcibly opened the gate of the Divisional Secretary's office and entered the premises and made a complaint regarding the wild elephant menace to Divisional Secretary, R.M.R. Rathnayake.

For the full article click on the story title

Friday, September 05, 2008

Nearly 120 jumbo deaths every year

S.M. Jiffrey Abdeen Kandy, Daily News
September 1, 2008

In Sri Lanka nearly 120 elephants are killed by humans and in return about 65 people die after being attacked by elephants every year.
The number of cases of elephants being killed or run over by trains could be reduced if the train staff take precautions by giving the elephants enough warning in advance when they spot the elephants close to the rail tracks, Managing Trustee of the Bio Diversity and Elephant Conservation Trust and leading expert on Asian elephants and former planter Jayantha Jayawardena said.
He was addressing the members of the Rotary Club of Kandy presided over by Rotarian Ayesha Wijeratne at the Queens Hotel, Kandy.

For the full article click on the story title

Abductions go to the wilds

Sunday Times
August 24, 2008

A jumbo baby-smuggling racket, centred around the wilds in Habarana, has wildlife officials concerned, Malaka Rodrigo reports
“Please find my baby. If someone has kidnapped him, please return my baby.” Remember the plea of the mother of baby Gavish who was kidnapped from Kalubowila Hospital last year? Fortunately that story had a happy ending but the mother of the baby elephant discovered recently in captivity may still be lamenting in the wilds of Habarana.
The baby abduction from Kalubowila led to the discovery of a baby smuggling racket that shocked the nation. At present, Sri Lanka’s Wildlife Department officers are investigating trails of baby elephants allegedly being abducted from the wild. The recovery of a baby elephant illegally held without a proper permit in an estate close to Colombo is probably only the tip of this iceberg, they feel. The elephant is now in the Uda Walawe Elephant Transit Home.

For the full article click on the story title

Let us not make this majestic gathering a thing of the past

By Srilal Miththapala, Sunday Times
August 24, 2008

It is late afternoon. The open plains of the giant Minneriya reservoir gradually cool as the sun slowly glides down to the horizon. The waters of the reservoir shimmer in the receding sunlight. Slowly from the surrounding scrub jungle a large dark shadow appears. The first matriarch slowly ambles on to the open plains, followed by her family group. They slowly disperse around and start grazing on the lush grass shoots growing on the damp earth, exposed by the receding water of the reservoir.

As if on cue, more dark shadows emerge, as matriarchs lead their herds out. In a short while there are over a hundred elephants, large and small, ‘strewn’ all over the plains, eating, playing, jostling , drinking , bathing…... The Gathering has begun.
A unique world phenomenon : A high concentration of elephants in a small area

For the full article click on the story title

Call to protect elephants

S. M. Jiffrey ABDEEN, Sunday Observer
August 24, 2008

Elephants live in herds are led by the oldest female elephant in the herd. The male elephant is driven away from the herd to prevent breeding. These are the strange ways of elephants said the Managing Trustee of Bio Diversity and Elephant Conservation Trust and leading expert on Asian elephants and former planter Jayantha Jayawardena.

He was addressing members of the Rotary Club of Kandy presided over by Rotarian Ayesha Wijeratne at the Queens Hotel, Kandy.

Jayawardena said that the elephants in Sri Lanka are highly threatened in spite of what anyone may say to the contrary. Explaining the reasons for the Human - Elephant conflict that have developed in the country and the efforts that are being made to mitigate these conflicts, he said that clearing forests to settle human beings is one of the main reasons.

For the full article click on the story title

Monday, June 23, 2008

Orphaned elephants back in the wild

June 20 2008
P. Karunakharan, Asian Pacific Post

As hundreds watched in silence, Sri Lankan mahouts shed tears as eight orphaned baby elephants they had raised for four years were released into the wild.

There was no hiding the love the mahouts felt for the young elephants as the eight animals were given a final dung bath to prepare for a new life in the Sri Lankan forests.

The dung bath rids them of the human smell, which would keep other herds away from the baby elephants.

As hundreds watched, the six male and two female elephants took their time making their way out of the Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home, about 200 km southeast of Colombo.

They were the eighth group of orphan elephants to be released into the wild in the last decade.

Over the years, Sri Lankan authorities have taken care of scores of orphaned baby elephants in sanctuaries.

To read the full article click on the story title

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sri Lanka releases eight orphaned elephants back into wild

By P. Karunakharan,
June 14th, 2008

Udawalawe (Sri Lanka), June 14 (IANS) As hundreds watched in silent admiration, Sri Lankan mahouts shed tears as eight orphaned baby elephants they had raised for four years were Friday released into the wild. There was no hiding the love the mahouts had developed for the young elephants over the years as the eight animals were given a final dung bath to prepare for a new life in the Sri Lankan forests.

The dung bath was given to get rid of the human smell, which would keep other herds away from the baby elephants.

As hundreds of journalists, government officials and tourists watched, the six male and two female elephants - Asha, Marga, Atlas, Nalaka, Baby Blue, Tharos, Minoli and Senani - took their time to make their way out of the Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home, located some 200 km southeast of Colombo.

For the full article click on the story title

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Elephants caught in Sri Lanka war

Roland Buerk, BBC News
June 3, 2008

"Gunshot wound, this is a gunshot wound, and this one, there are so many gunshot wounds," said Sri Lankan government vet, Doctor Chandana Jayasinghe.

He was standing next to the huge, slumbering bull elephant in a clearing in the jungle, hypodermic syringe in hand.

"It is normal, they all have gunshot wounds."

The men of the Wildlife Conservation Department had ventured into the tangled scrub to find the wounded elephant.

Treading carefully not to snap twigs and prompt a charge, they had moved up close, so near they could see his ears flapping behind the thick greenery, before one man shot him with a tranquiliser dart.

Now he lay on his side, slow, heavy breaths rattling in his trunk.

They gave him antibiotic injections and sprayed disinfectant on his wounds, some old and calloused, others new and raw.

To read the full story click on the blog title

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Elephant menace for village off Galneva

Daily News
April 9, 2008

Cliche is a feature of bad journalism, it is said, but when it comes to the reporting of stories about country folk living in the human habitats close to the natural habitats of wild creatures in rural Sri Lanka pouring out their troubles to the media over the infiltration of wild elephants or other smaller wild animals into their territories, a local reporter's poor vocabulary is not enough to compile reports again and again on the same monotonous themes sans a cliche-ridden style.

Well, here in Aachirigama in the backwoods of Oththapahuva, off Galneva, in the Mahaweli H zone - peasants are complaining of wild elephants that have become an acute nuisance to them and it is difficult to find out fresh terms in writing the story and it is to be regretted that the authorities may find cliches but it has to be noted that the poor 'Oththapahuvans - who are desperate for 'official help' - ought not to be neglected. Peasants in Oththapahuva say that their paddies in Aachirigama are vulnerable to the wild elephants menace.

To read the full story click on the blog title

Man-jumbo conflict again in A’pura

By Athula Bandara, Daily Mirror
March 24, 2008

The residents of several areas including Shravastipura, Siyambalawewa and Aluthwewa in Anuradhapura are facing problems from wild elephants.

They have complained to the police and the Wildlife Conservation Department that a herd of wild elephants that roam the human habitat after dusk had destroyed more than 400 acres of cultivated land and 15 houses.

They accused the Wildlife Conservation Department of not taking any steps to chase the elephants into a forest reserve.

However the Department’s Assistant Director, (NWP) Manjula Ariyaratne said they would be taking steps to issue elephant crackers to the villagers soon.

Wild elephants fall victim to Sri Lanka war strategy

Simon Gardner, Reuters
March 19, 2008

PIMBURELLEGAMA, Sri Lanka (Reuters) - Shaking his head at an elephant carcass rotting by a lush paddy field in north Sri Lanka, park warden J.A. Weerasingha counts the cost of a state initiative to arm villagers against Tamil Tiger rebels.

While Sri Lanka has long wrestled with a human-elephant conflict that kills dozens of animals and people annually, elephant deaths are up sharply -- and it's clear why.

In what the military says is a bid to protect villages in the far north as the government and its Tiger foes wage a new phase of a 25-year civil war, farmers have been given shotguns and a civil defense force semi-automatic weapons for protection.

But the plan has backfired. The recipients are turning them increasingly on pachyderms who stray onto their crops or damage their homes in search of food -- with elephant deaths up 13 percent in 2007 from a year earlier.

"They are shooting my animals," Weerasingha lamented on a visit to this remote village on the periphery of Wilpattu National Park in the island's northwest. "They had the chance to just scare the elephant away. It had only come to the boundary of the paddy field. Instead they shot it."

To read the full story click on the blog title

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Wild elephants hold up Sri Lanka vote

Agence France Presse
March 11, 2008

COLOMBO (AFP) — Security forces armed with loud hailers were deployed in eastern Sri Lanka Monday to drive away wild elephants blocking access to polling booths, police said.

Villagers in Wellaveli told the authorities that they were unable to vote at the first local elections in 14 years because a herd of elephants had blocked their polling booth, a police official in the area said.

"We sent a team of commandos in armoured personnel carriers and loud hailers and sirens to drive away the elephants," the official said. "The roads have now been cleared."

Security had been stepped up in the area with the deployment of over 6,000 police and soldiers amid fears that Tamil Tiger rebels could try to disrupt the council elections in an area from where they were driven out in July last year.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

No reasons to fear that elephant population is diminishing

A new transition from human-elephant conflict to human-elephant coexistence
Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Champika Ranawaka, Daily Mirror
March 5. 2008

News reports from Pretoria South Africa revealed that the South African Government was reversing the 1995 ban on killing elephants to help control their booming population. Environment Minister Marthinus Van Schalkwyk told reporters ‘Our simple reality is that elephant population density has risen so much in some southern African countries that there is concern about impacts on the landscape. The viability of other species and livelihoods safety of people living within elephant ranges.” It is also reported that South African elephant population has ballooned to more than 20,000 from 8,000 in 1995, when international pressure led to a ban on killing them.

It is evident that most parts of the African continent from time to time has used ‘culling’ as a mitigatory measure to control growing elephant population and thereby human elephant conflict. Hunting, sale of ivory and other elephant parts has been a lucrative business in Africa.

In Asian countries (Burma., Thailand, India etc.) capturing and domestication are used as instruments to control the elephant population.

In 1952, the then Director of the Department of Wildlife of Sri Lanka Mr. C.W. Nicholas issued 186 permits to kill wild elephants who were roaming in villages. It should be noted that those days Sri Lanka had a forest cover over 45% of the land mass and elephant population was reduced greatly due to mass killing by British colonials.

To read the full story click on the blog title

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Gaja Mithuro to protect elephants

Sri Lanka Daily News
January 2, 2007

The Wildlife Department has made arrangements to implement a special project called Gaja Mithuro (Elephants' friends) to protect wild elephants faced with the threat of extinction and also to uplift the living conditions of families displaced as a result of the human elephant conflict.

This project is implemented with the help of the Environment and Natural Resources Ministry. Under this project, it has been planned to allocate Rs. 118 million to erect electrified fences and complete the work within three years.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Crops devastated by elephants - Wasgamuwa

Sunil R.Pathirana, Daily Mirror
November 20, 2007

The residents of Minipe area recently staged a protest in front of Wilgamuwa Divisional Secretariat demanding an immediate solutions to the wild elephant threat in the area. Recently a herd of wild elephants from Wasgamuwa forest reserve roamed into Radunewewa village in Minipe colony destroyed 14 houses and caused serious injuries to several farmers. The protestors requested the Divisional Secretary A.B.Herath to take up the issue with the Wildlife Conservation Department. However their attempt to enter the Divisional Secretariat was prevented by acting OIC Wilgamuwa police .H.M.B.Herath who explained matters to the protestors. The farmers in Minipe farmer colony pointed out that devastation of crops caused by the wild elephants amounted to several millions of rupees. They stressed the need to launch a crash programme to prevent the human- elephant conflict.

To read the full story click on the blog title

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Asian jumbo project gets underway

L.B. Senaratne, Sunday Times
November 18, 2007
A project called "Managing the Health and Reproduction of Elephant
Populations in Asia" was recently initiated by the Faculty of Veterinary
Medicine and Animal Science of the University of Peradeniya, together with
partners in Universities of Thailand (Kasetsart and Chiang Mai), the
Netherlands (Utrecht) and the UK (Royal Veterinary College) with funding
from the European Union "EU-Asia Link Project".

To read the full story click on the blog title

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Nature also victim of war

By Malaka Rodrigo, Sunday Times
November 11, 2007

She is a tragic reminder of the cost of war. 'Sama', the Pinnawela elephant who lost part of her right front leg, below the knee to a land mine. Today she hops around on three legs to keep up with the other jumbos at the elephant orphanage. Veterinarians fear that her lifespan may be short as she may develop spinal problems due to her abnormal gait. Wildlife is an overlooked casualty in the country's two-decades-long civil war. Sri Lanka's elephant population in the war-torn areas has increasingly become victims of the war. Since the Mavilaru battle last year, nearly 15 elephants have suffered injuries after stepping on anti-personnel mines in the Eastern Province.

To read the full story click on the blog title

On the elephant trail

By Lakwimashi Perera, Sunday Times
November 11, 2007

Following the footprints of Asia’s majestic beast, Thusitha Ranasinghe, founder of Eco Maximus will be collecting elephant dung from intense human – elephant conflict areas to be turned into paper and sent to over 10 countries around the world. Eco Maximus is venturing into Dambulla trying to add economic value to the animal which is regarded as a pest and detested in the area.

“Dung from the elephants used in elephant safaris in Habarana will be used,” Ranasinghe, who is also the Managing Director of Eco Maximus, told The Sunday Times FT, adding that they will also look at buying

droppings of wild elephants that can be collected from the jungles by the villagers.

To read the full story click on the blog title

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sri Lanka elephant population grew within last 50 years

ColomboPage News Desk
September 18, 2007

Sept 18, Colombo: The Colombo University Senior Professor on Ecology Sarath Kotagama says that through the estimates in the past 100 years and the records on man – elephant conflicts, he can prove that the country’s elephant population grew despite the popular belief of decline.

He points out that the elephant population was less than 1,000 according to 1953 estimations. The 1973 estimates accounted the elephant population between 1600 – 2200. According to an estimate conducted by Dr. Nandana Athapattu and Mangala Silva in 1993, the elephant population was between 3,000 and 4,000.

According to current figures, 1,500 elephants live in Northwestern wildlife zone. There are 300 elephants in Udawalawe and 400 in Minneriya. In addition, 350 elephants were chased to Lunugamwehera in Walawe wild elephant management operation.

Scientists point out that there are around 1500 more elephants in other areas.

The majority of the elephants live in wetlands, discarded cultivation lands and small jungles where their natural food, short shrubs are found in abandon.

Around 50% of the elephants are believed to live outside the national parks.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Forty wild elephants killed in Trincomalee district in 2007

ColomboPage News Desk
September 12, 2007

Sept 12, Colombo: The Wildlife Department office of the Trincomalee district of the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka announced that 40 wild elephants were killed so far in this year in Trincomalee district alone.

Meanwhile, in the adjacent Sigiriya area Wildlife officers and villagers were working round the clock to rescue two wild elephants that had fallen into a cultivation well near Indugaswewa on Monday night.

Sri Lanka’s elephant population numbering around 3000 is facing rapid extinction due to manmade disasters. The Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Champika Ranwaka recently said that the Ministry needs Rs. 10 billion per year for the management of wild elephants in the country. However, the Ministry receives only Rs. 3 billion for all its work, the Minister says.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Rs. 10 billion needed to manage wild elephants of Sri Lanka

August 31, 2007

Aug 31, Colombo: Sri Lanka Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Champika Ranwaka says that the Ministry needs Rs. 10 billion per year for the management of wild elephants in the country. However, the Ministry receives only Rs. 3 billion for all its work, the Minister says.

The Minister also pointed out that the shortage of tamed elephants would be a problem in future since there are only 137 tamed elephants while there are 72 famous cultural pageants per year countrywide.

The Minister said that Sri Lanka has only 17 tuskers among the 3,000 strong elephant population. Of those elephants only 1,200 live in lands belonged to the Department of Wild Life.

Addressing a function at the Grand Oriental Hotel, the Minister said that Burma has 3,000 tamed elephants among its 6,000 strong elephant population.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Sri Lanka Railway and Wildlife Department claim three more lives of elephants

ColomboPage News Desk
August 25, 2007

Aug 25, Colombo: Sri Lanka Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Champika Ranwaka has ordered a disciplinary investigation against the Wildlife officials believed to be responsible for the tragic deaths of three wild elephants.

Two young cubs and a female elephant were run over by the Colombo-bound express train on Friday (24) morning at Kitulkotte near 153rd milepost on Colombo-Trincomalee railway when the train hit a herd of elephants crossing the railway lines. Two more elephants were also injured in the accident.

Sri Lanka’s dwindling elephant population has lost 74 members within the first eight months of this year alone. Another elephant was killed and two were injured by the same train within this month in the same area, an elephant corridor in short of signboards for train engine drivers.

Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources says that wildlife officials had to be deployed on duty in the train to avoid such incidents. However, they haven’t been in the fatal train for some reason.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Pilot project to conserve elephants

Chamikara Weerasinghe, Sri Lanka Daily News

August 17, 2007

COLOMBO: The Environment and Natural Resources Ministry has stepped up action to implement a pilot project to arrest the human-elephant conflict in Yala and Lunugamwehera through its recently established Elephant Conservation Trust Fund.

Environment and Natural Resources Minister Champika Ranawaka said yesterday that bureaucratic red tape had been overcome to carry out the project.

The Government has decided to allocate Rs. 100 million to the fund from the Treasury to be returned once sufficient funds are generated into the Trust Fund by the Ministry.

Ranawaka said: "Moves will be made to enhance the elephant habitat under the project with interventions based on elephant behavioral patterns at the Yala National Park and Lunugamwehera forest reserve."

He explained that they will do so by restoring tanks in the park and through range reduction by fencing.


Monday, August 06, 2007

Don’t make national parks ghettos for our elephants

Sunday Times

August 5, 2007

Jayantha Jayewardene, Managing Trustee of the Biodiversity & Elephant Conservation Trust offers some points to ponder on the human- elephant conflict

The conservation of a species necessitates the provision of all resources (habitat, security, food, water etc.) necessary to maintain a stable population into the long-term future. Conservation has two aspects; one is the protection of the species and the other, scientific management of the species and the resources necessary for its conservation. The continued existence of the Asian elephant in the wild is threatened not only by the actions of some but also due to others not taking any action.

In May this year the Minister of Natural Resources Champika Ranawaka brought together many of those concerned with and interested in elephant conservation. It was to a great extent, a fruitful meeting in that the present situation with regard to elephant conservation in general and human elephant conflicts in particular, were discussed in detail. The Department of Wildlife Conservation made a presentation of the work that they had hitherto done. More importantly Dr. Prithiviraj Fernando made a presentation of the results of the research on wild elephants that he and his team had carried out for the last eight years in the southern part of the island.

Dr. Fernando’s research results are important in that they disprove some of the perceptions that our conservation activities have been based on for a long time. For instance his findings with regard to elephant corridors and home ranges are different to what we had assumed earlier. In his presentation he also gave us new options that we could use as strategies for our elephant conservation planning and activities in the future. The Minister, at this meeting, stressed that it was a priority of the Ministry and the Department of Wildlife Conservation to carry out pilot projects to test the new strategies. This, I think, is a positive start.

To read the full story click on the blog title

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Shell shocked jumbos add to Lankan Tamils' woes

PK Balachandran
June 19, 2007

With their jungle habitats subjected to incessant aerial, artillery and
mortar shelling in the past few months, elephants in the Eastern Sri Lankan
districts of Batticaloa and Trincomalee had to flee, much like the Tamils
from the villages in the vicinity.
"This time, we have had Internally Displaced Elephants (IDEs) in addition to
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). It's time we had an IDE rehabilitation
scheme also," remarked a foreign aid worker in a lighter vein.
But it has not been a laughing matter for the Tamil villager.
At the height of the shelling and aerial bombardment, hoards of disoriented
and angry jumbos had descended on the villages on the edges of their
habitats, destroying huts and even pucca houses.
Tiled roofs were smashed in the frenzied search for grain. In a trice,
whole plantain farms disappeared and standing crops were in a shambles.
"About 2,000 houses were destroyed in West Batticaloa, more than the number
destroyed by the shelling and aerial bombing!" aid worker U Kumar told
Hindustan Times. But an International Red Cross official said the number
might have been 500.
The most affected villages in Batticaloa district were Kachikodiaru,
Swamimadam, Thandamalai, Ayithiamalai, Unnichchai and Pavatkodichenai.
The situation had apparently been worse in Trincomalee district. "If 5 per
cent of the houses were damaged by war, about 40 per cent have been damaged
by elephants," The Sunday Times said, quoting the Verugal Divisional
Secretary, A Umamaheshwaran.
The Sri Lankan government, burdened as it is with the IDPs, seems to have
little or no time for the IDEs. With the Thoppigala jungles set to become a
major theatre of war in the coming weeks, jumbo migration and depredations
are set to increase rather than decrease, the refugees from the affected
villages say.
LTTE avoids killing jumbos
The LTTE's military spokesman, Rasiah Ilanthirayan, claimed that unlike the
Sri Lankan Armed Forces, the LTTE's military units cared for the
"We have strict rules about treating wildlife. We have identified the
endangered species and these could not be killed. The elephant is one of
them. We do not shell areas which are populated by these species," he said.
"In case elephants encroach on our area looking for water during the dry
season, we are expected to shift our camps rather than drive the jumbos away
or kill them," Ilanthirayan said.
Island wide conflict
The Man-Elephant conflict is not peculiar to the war-zone in Sri Lanka.
Economic development, human encroachment, and climatic changes have led to
elephants leaving their habitats and attacking human settlements in the past
50 years.
"The threatened farmer kills the intruder," say University of Peradeniya
zoologists, Charles Santiapillai and Chaminda Wijesundara.
In the past 50 years, 1,500 to 3,000 elephants may have been killed by irate
villagers, they say. In 2001 alone, 300 elephants, mostly bulls, had
"It takes about 5 sq km of land to support an elephant without upsetting the
natural balance that exists between the elephant and the thorn-scrub habitat
in which most of our wildlife occurs today.
Therefore, the present population of about 3,500 elephants would require
about 17,500 sq km or 27 per cent of the land area for its exclusive use.
The system of protected areas covers only about 12.5 per cent of the land
area (or 8,200 sq km). Thus, national parks alone cannot ensure the long
term survival of the elephants," Satiapillai and Wijesundara say.
They emphasise the need for an island-wide awareness of the reasons for the
Man-Elephant conflict and for steps to avoid actions, which exacerbate the
Indiscriminate shelling is one action, which should be avoided.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Sugar factory to come up in elephant path?

By Isuri Kaviratne, The Sunday Times

June 3, 2007

The Government has approved a proposal to clear 20,000-25,000 hectares in the Maduruoya forest in Uva-Wellassa area for a new sugar factory, without an Environmental Impact Assessment, Padma Udayashantha, Moneragala District MP charged.

He said the proposal had been approved by the Cabinet on January 10.“The Central Environment Authority is making the assessment now and it is reported the place is not suitable for a sugar factory,” he said.

“According to the assessment, there is an elephant path between the Maduruoya forest and the Nilgala Ganga. So there would be disastrous consequences if it was blocked as it will affect the route of the wild elephants,” he said.

Mr. Udayashantha said the JVP would continue to protest against this proposed project if the Government fails come up with solutions for the environmental problems that might arise due to the project being implemented.

Click on the title for the full story

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Elephants unlikely foe for Sri Lanka's war-displaced

May 30 2007

Tamil farmer Sabaratnam Somaratnam abandoned his home in east Sri Lanka fearing it might be shelled.

He returned after months in a refugee camp to find the house flattened, and stunned to find the destruction had nothing to do with the fighting between government forces and Tamil Tigers.

"Look," he said, gesturing at a large round depression in the dry earth. "There are elephant's footprints. There's dung all over the place.

"We had stored bags of rice in our house. The elephant has destroyed our house to get to it," he added, his sarong trailing in dusty, parched earth mixed with tell-tale rice grains.

Behind him, his house lies in a ruined jumble of baked earth bricks and buckled iron sheeting.

He, his wife and their five children must now live in a rudimentary shed covered with a tarpaulin, much like the one they have lived in for months after fleeing the war.

His neighbours suffered the same fate.

To read the full story click on thr blog title

Monday, May 14, 2007

More elephants die by home guards' weapons in Sri Lanka

ColomboPage News Desk
May 13, 2007

May 13, Colombo: The number of elephants that die from gunshot injuries in Sri Lanka has increased since automatic weapons were provided to home guards in villages under terrorist threat, Wildlife Department figures point out.

Some 160 elephants died in the North Western Wildlife Zone last year, and 23 of them were victims of home guards’ guns.

Automatic rifles have been provided to home guards to protect their villages from the LTTE. Over 200 elephants died last year in Sri Lanka due to human-elephant conflict.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Away with the elephants!

Sri Lanka
May 11, 2007

The living elephant is as much a part of the culture of Sri Lanka as the Temple of the tooth or Adam’s Peak. They are used to grace big religious pageants and finally given the ultimate honor of carrying the most revered and venerated relic that this country has, the Tooth relic of the Enlightened One. Today in the wild where all these elephants initially come from, and where they have lived from before the time of the ancient kings of Sri Lanka, they have been harassed chased and shot. This appalling indictment is not made as a result of a forgotten memory from an age gone by when the white man ruled this land and shot elephants indiscriminately, but this is today’s reality in the name of wild life protection.

To read the full story click on the link in the blog title

Domesticating elephants- Is it really the answer?

Gagani Weerakoon, Sri Lanka
May 11, 2007

The argument for and increasingly against domesticating elephants as a solution to the human-elephant conflict facing the country, has reached dizzy heights today. The glaring examples direct a very definitive finger of accusation against the authorities

The recent case of an elephant ‘allegedly’ captured by Wildlife Conservation Department (DWLC) officials-who later attempted to convince the Environment Minister to ceremoniously hand it over to Dalada Maligawa (Temple of Tooth Relic), is fighting for its life after being chained at an estate in Mawanella for weeks.

According to environmentalists, this is the first case reported of an elephant being injured of chain cuts to its bones. The 45-year bull elephant, which was captured at Dahaiyagala area in the last week of March, was kept chained for more than a month in the Mawanella estate.

According to the sources, the elephant was suffering from chain cuts in all four legs out of which the injuries on the left rear leg is the worst.

A senior environmentalist charged that the elephant was so badly injured since it was inhumanly chained for weeks without receiving the proper attention.

To read the full story click on the link in the blog title