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.
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