Restoring habitat will help reduce elephant deaths-Wildlife DG | Sunday Observer

Restoring habitat will help reduce elephant deaths-Wildlife DG

Over 360 elephant deaths were reported in the country last year due to jaw bombs, gunshots, electrocution and poisoning, Director-General of Wildlife Chandana Sooriyabandara said.

However, according to Sooriyabandara the higher number of deaths is due to the elephant-human conflict arising from encroachment of elephant habitat.

“We are seeing an increase in the number of elephant deaths because we are getting more information relating to these incidents,” Sooriyabandara explained.

Environmental law expert Jagath Gunawardena said till 2010 the number of elephant deaths was relatively low as there was no information from LTTE controlled areas. However, after the end of the conflict there had been a surge in the number of deaths.

“But now we are seeing a much realistic picture of the situation,” Gunawardena added explaining that Sri Lanka has taken a ‘wrong approach’ to tackle the matter.

He believes that the issue is more than a human-elephant conflict, and elephants are dying due to human encroachment into elephant habitat. The solution, he says, is to restore at least some of the habitat.

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