Nearly 311 jumbos, 95 human deaths

“About 311 wild elephants and 95 human beings had died in 2018 countrywide due to the ongoing human - Elephant conflict in Sri Lanka. Of them, 61 elephants had died of “hakkapatas” blasts. Fifteen elephants have died after being knocked down by trains, Kurunegala District Senior Divisional Secretary W.E.Jayathilake said.

He was speaking to farmers of the Galagamuwa and Nikaweratiya Electorates in the Kurunegala District at the Bingiriya Youth Training Centre in Kurunegala yesterday. The participants of the meeting have faced wild elephant threats. However, about 256 elephants and 87 human beings had died in 2017. In 2016, about 279 wild elephants and 68 humans had died. Due to this conflict, about 205 wild elephants had died in 2015. According to the census of wild elephants conducted in 2011 by the Government, there were about 5,879 wild elephants in forests of Sri Lanka at that time.

‘Therefore, about 1,737 wild elephants and tuskers have died of this conflict during the period of 2012-2018. The Wildlife Conservation Department has confirmed these facts and figures by now. We have to look for all possible measures to conserve the valuable elephant population of Sri Lanka as they have been our heritage for many centuries, he added.

‘Due to lack of forests for wild elephants to survive, they intrude villages at night and destroy cultivations constantly in the Kurunegala District. These innocent beasts have faced the wrath of villagers resulting tragic deaths for many wild elephants,” the Senior Divisional Secretary said.

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