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.

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