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Sunday, 17 April 2011

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Awareness program to ease elephant- human conflict

The Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) will launch an awareness program shortly to educate villagers on co-existing with the wild elephants while avoiding risk factors.

The focus will be on educating people of the highly affected areas - especially in the Northwestern Province and selected areas of the Southern Province and the Anuradhapura district, Dr. Chandrawansa Pathiraja, Director General of the DWC said.

Many of the human deaths due to elephant attacks were preventable and making people aware of the fact may greatly support mitigating the human elephant conflict, Dr. Pathiraja said.

Officials of the DWC will be directly involved with these awareness programs with the coordination and support of the Divisional Secretaries, the Police, Grama Niladharis, Samurdhi Officers and heads of villages.

People need to refresh their knowledge on the precautionary measures they should take to avoid conflicting with wild elephant habitats, Dr. Pathiraja said.

According to statistics from the Department of Wildlife, in 2008, 30 people were killed due to elephant attacks and 50 were killed in 2009. In 2010 up to September 30, the number of people killed by elephants was 60. In 2008 around 130 elephants were reported dead while in 2009 it was 228. In 2010 up to Sepetmber 30 around 155 elephant deaths were reported.

According to the DWC statistics available from 1998 to 2007 around 774 elephants have died due to gun shots, 135 due to electricution, 22 were poisoned and 109 were accidents, 63 cases were natural deaths during this period.

 

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