The death rate in the human-elephant conflict has been increasing in a large proportion every year.
Senior officials of the Wildlife Conservation Department told the media in Anuradhapura that 146 villagers had been killed by wild elephants last year. At least 375 wild elephants had been killed in 2021 and 439 in 2022.
They said wild elephants were being killed by laying electric traps, ‘Hakka Patas’ explosive device, and spiked planks and by poisoning. The officials said several wild elephants had been run over by trains and drowned in unprotected wells.
They pointed out that the expenditure on paying compensation for the victims and damages caused to property had increased in a large proportion and that the allocations had increased after 2016.
Meanwhile, constructing and maintaining electric fences, carrying out raids to drive away wild elephants, and supplying elephant crackers cost the government more than Rs. 200 million a year.
Directors of the Wildlife Conservation Department Manjula Amararatne, Ranjan Marasinghe, Anuradhapura Zonal Director W.M.K.Gunawardene and Environmentalist Dr. Jagath Gunawardene were present at the occasion. (Dayaratne Embogama)