Sri Lanka:Human encroachment main cause for elephant-human conflict
The government has taken measures to safeguard the villagers living in areas threatened by wild elephants, said Sustainable Development and Wildlife Deputy Minister Sumedha G. Jayasena.
The Minister made these comments at a meeting at the Moneragala District Secretariat office Auditorium with the participation of Divisional Secretaries, Wildlife officials, Police officials, Grama Niladharies, Villagers and other officials recently.
The minister said the elephant- human conflict is not confined to one part of the country specifically.
“It is a timely need to take measures to bring this issue under control, with the assistance of all department officials and other concerned authorities,” the Minister said.
She said the recent death of a nine-year-old school girl in Monaragala, Balaharuwa was an eye opener to all, to solve this issue applying a very humanistic approach.
The Minister assured the safety of the villagers and promised to pay compensation to the affected people, soon.
Speaking on the occasion, the Secretary Wildlife, R.M.D.B.Meegasmulla said the government allocated Rs. 4,000 million to erect electric fences in the areas where the wild elephants threat is prevalent.
He said the excessive human encroachment on the environment has led to the increasing elephant - human conflict.
Meegasmulla emphasized the importance of establishing co-existence between the elephants and humans.
He pointed out that due to the elephant - human conflict, annually 250 elephants and 70 humans die.
It is a timely need to launch a National level plan to resolve this conflict, he said.
“The maintenance of electric fences, erecting new electric fences, capturing wild elephants and relocating them to wildlife reserves and establishing new wildlife range offices, were discussed at the meeting.
Representatives of the farmer communities from Wellawaya, Thanamalwila, Siyabalanduwa and Bibile DS areas, also spoke.
Moneragala District Parliamentarian Ananda Kumarasiri, Moneragala District Secretary D.S.Padmakulasuriya, Acting Director Genaral of Wildlife Conservation W.S.K.Pathirathna also spoke.