Saturday, March 24, 2018 07:55:03 AM

The Human-Elephant Conflict: Moving Towards Solutions

By Kalana Krishantha - Mon Dec 11, 9:49 am

Featured image courtesy Anton Croos

Recently the famous tusker, “Dala Puttuwa” of Galgamuwa was killed by poachers, renewing the public discussion around the ongoing human -elephant conflict in Sri Lanka.

Investigators found that Dala Puttuwa was killed to sell its tusks and for coveted ‘elephant pearls’ as they are known. Adding to the controversy, a Buddhist monk has been connected with this killing, revealing the widespread nature of this phenomenon. The human elephant conflict dates back centuries, as historical records by Robert Knox reveal. According to data gathered by the Elephant Conservation Unit of the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC), around 2,844 elephants were killed by farmers and 1,138 people were killed by elephants between the years from 1991 to 2010, while a total of 3,103 homes in Sri Lanka were destroyed by elephants (from 2004 to 2007).

Sri Lanka is home to 10 to 20 percent of the Asian elephant population; more than any other state in this region. A land area of nearly five square kilometres per elephant is needed to ensure that the natural balance that exists between the elephant and its dry zone habitat is not disturbed….

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