Elephant deaths at end of May total 99

By Ifham Nizam

Ninety nine elephants have died up to May 31, this year. Though the rate in comparison to other years is lesser, the Department of Wildlife Conservation is going all-out to reduce the number with continuous awareness programmes in elephant-human conflict prone areas.

As against 99 jumbos, 24 people were also killed in the on-going human-elephant conflict up to end of May this year.

According to Wildlife Department officials, most elephants, 30, were killed in the Polonnaruwa Wildlife Region, followed by 27 in the Anuradhapura Wildlife Region and on human deaths, seven were reported from the North Western Region.

Of the 99 deaths, 28 were by unknown causes, 15 due to gun shots, 17 due to electrocution and two due to train accidents. Deaths in the corresponding period last year stood at 106.  

Department data revealed that there are a total of 5,878 elephants based on a census done in 2011.

More than 50 people and 255 elephants had died in 2011. Most of the elephants had died due to gunshot injuries, electrocution, train accidents, injuries from ‘Hakka Patas’- an improvised anti-elephant explosive device - and trap guns.

In the whole of 2012, 61 humans and 250 elephants had died.

Most elephant deaths were reported from the Mahaweli areas. The Districts of Polonnaruwa, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, and Matale accounted for 16 human and 72 elephant deaths.

Kurunegala, Puttalam, Anuradhapura, and Vavuniya reported 20 human and 44 elephant deaths.

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