SL ranks as highest elephant deaths reported country in the world – COPA

Sri Lanka has recorded the highest annual elephant deaths and second highest human deaths in the world due to human – elephant conflict.
 
This was revealed at the meeting of Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) held recently.
 
It was disclosed that Sri Lanka has been ranked second in reporting the highest number of human deaths due to human-elephant conflict in the world whilst India holds the first rank.
 
Dr. Prithiviraj Fernando, a specialist in human-elephant conflict, explained the above at the Committee held on the basis of the Special Audit Report on the Elephant-Human Conflict in Sri Lanka.
 
 Even though the average number of elephant deaths due to human-elephant conflict in Sri Lanka is 272 per year, 407 elephants have died during the past year, said Prof. Tissa Vitarana.

It was also revealed that although the average number of human deaths due to human-elephant conflict is 85 per year, 122 people have died during the past year .
 
Therefore, the COPE Committee Chairman Prof. Tissa Vitarana and other members emphasized the need for the Wildlife Department and other relevant agencies to work together on a more efficient program to resolve the human-elephant conflict in Sri Lanka, which has now become a serious problem.
 
He also said that despite 60 years of efforts to resolve the human-elephant conflict, no significant progress had been made and that a new approach was needed to find a solution.
 
Therefore, the COPA directed the Department of Wildlife Conservation to set up a National Coordinating Committee with all relevant institutions as soon as possible to reduce the human-elephant conflict.
 
The committee pointed out that although 4211 km of elephant fences had been constructed by 2016 to control the human-elephant conflict, they had become inactive in a short period of time due to improper maintenance. Although 86 million rupees is spent annually for the maintenance of the electric fence, the committee pointed out the need for the Wildlife Conservation Department to monitor whether this maintenance is being carried out on a daily basis. The committee also pointed out that this maintenance  should be done with the support of the people.
 
The committee also discussed on the fact that many constructions had to be halted due to protests by the people in some areas who thought that the construction of the fence was a boundary of their land.
 
The committee also pointed out that although the Civil Defense Force had carried out maintenance of the fence, the lack of any agreement was a major shortcoming. The Committee stressed that Rs. 150 million has been provided to the Civil Defense Force for the year 2020 without any agreement and that steps should be taken to setup an agreement for this purpose as soon as possible.
 
State Ministers Dayasiri Jayasekara, Lasantha Alagiyawanna MPs Tissa Attananayake, Gunapala Ratnasekera, Dr. Upul Galappaththi, Prof. Ranjith Bandara, Secretary to the Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Conservation and other officials were present.
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