Death toll from human, elephant conflicts in Sri Lanka hit a record high

Death toll from human, elephant conflicts in Sri Lanka hit a record high

Colombo, Aug 9 ( – The death toll from Sri Lanka’s long term human, elephant conflict has hit a record high with over 375 people killed by wild elephants and over 1,100 elephants killed by humans within the last five years, Economynext, quoting Cabinet Spokesperson, Minister Gayantha Karunathilleke said Thursday.

Karunathilleke said in order to find a solution to the bitter battle, the government had decided to extend electric fences near national parks and vulnerable villages as part of a new drive to protect people and wild elephants.

The Minister added that the government would also increase the length of electric fences by over 50 percent and also upgrade the existing protective fencing to ensure that marauding elephants did not raid villages for food and water.

He explained that these fences would repel elephants and prevent them from entering villages and would not seriously harm them.

The announcement came two days after President Maithripala Sirisena called for urgent action, saying elephants were straying into human habitat and were also destroying crops in addition to inflicting a heavy toll on humans.

Sirisena said wildlife, including elephants, destroyed about 35 percent of the country’s agricultural produce.

He also said there were almost daily reports of elephants attacking villagers or destroying property. Official figures show 5,800 incidents of elephants attacking property in the past five years.

Elephants in Sri Lanka are protected by law. Killing wild elephants is an offence punishable by death, but there have been regular reports of angry villagers poisoning or shooting them.

Official records show the population of wild elephants is estimated at 7,500.