Elephant population under threat – expert



By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

Sri Lanka currently had a healthy elephant population, but it was under threat due to land fragmentation and the lack of elephant corridors, Wildlife Conservation Department (WCD) Director General H. D Ratnayake said yesterday.

In Sri Lanka annually around 200 – 300 elephants died and around 250-300 were born, he said.

According to the WCD, the elephant habitat was restricted to few national parks and reserves especially in Udawalawe, Yala, Wilpattu, Minneriya and Kaudulla.

The wild elephants were raiding villages in search of food, rampaging through houses, destroying crops and killing an estimated 50 people a year, he said. "Around 250 elephants are killed annually mostly by farmers defending their crops or villages."

According to a study done by the department there are around 5,879 elephants in Sri Lanka.

Commenting on illegal capture of baby elephants, the DG said: "It is unethical to separate baby elephants from their mothers."

Meanwhile, Species Conservation Centre (SCC) Chairman Pubudu Weeraratne said that the Wildlife DG or any other person couldn’t tell the exact number of elephant births in the country as so far no one had done a comprehensive research.


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