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Mitigate Human Elephant Conflict and Save Sri Lankan Elephants

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Colombo, Western – March, 15 march 2018 – One-hundred years ago, more than 20,000 wild Asian elephants inhabited Sri Lanka. Today, the population limited only to 4,000 animals. For Sri Lankans living in the rural countryside, close encounters with elephants during their day-to-day activities are commonplace. Crop raiding by elephants and the harsh retaliatory measures subsequently taken by people whose livelihoods depend on their farm products feeds a vicious cycle of violence. Each year, between 50 and 80 humans and between 150 and 200 elephants are killed due to human elephant conflicts. Last year marked the highest number of human and elephant deaths due to the human-elephant conflict compared to statistics since 2012, as the annual report of the Wildlife Conservation Department 2016 indicated. We facilitate every academic who comes to Sri Lanka for elephant research. Please contact coordinator: udukala@gmail.com Seemon Malalasekera Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation (SMMTEC)

 

According to the report tabled in Parliament last week, 279 elephant deaths had been reported in the island last year, while 88 people including 11 females and four children died due to elephant attacks. Compared to 2015, the number of elephant deaths had increased by 74 and the number of human deaths had increased by 25. Gunfire had been the cause of death of 52 elephants. A total of 47 elephants died due to ‘hakka patas’, 26 due to electrocution, six due to poisoning, 12 due to train accidents and 17 due to other accidents. The cause of death of 54 elephants is unknown while 35 elephants died due to natural causes. The highest number of elephant attacks on humans was reported in Polonnaruwa, Eastern and Anuradhapura wildlife regions. Seventy eight people were injured due to elephant attacks last year compared to 52 in 2015. In 2016, a total of 1,320 incidents of property damages had been reported due to elephant encroachment. Habitat is shrinking daily and humans are encroaching on the territory of elephants. At the same time, many poor farmers haven’t changed their daily lives for hundreds of years but their crops and villages are being threatened. As urbanization takes hold, the elephants have nowhere else to go and end up in fields searching for food. Between 1999 to the end of 2006 every year nearly 100 wild elephants were killed. Elephants are being killed by farmers to protect their crops and houses. (DWC, 1999 – 2006). Cost of human-wildlife conflicts is of three types: direct, indirect and opportunity costs (Thirgood, Woodroffe & Rabinowitz, 2005).

Elephants in large groups can destroy large areas of crops in a single night. While elephants target staple food crops such as rice and maize, furthermore they were attacked to the cash crops such as sugarcane and coconuts. Santiapillai et al. , (2010) calculated that an average farmer in elephant affected areas of Sri Lanka losses over USD 200 annually for crop damage, while in Thailand, farmer cost of the conflict accounted for 25% of their annual income (Jarungrattanapong & Sajjand, 2011). The tragedy indirectly repercussions for health, nutrition, education and ultimately, development (Ekanayake et al ., 2011; Fernando et al ., 2011). The research carried out in India, Sri Lanka and Kenya shows alcohol was found to be a key factor in one third of the deaths; victims were drunk and returning home from the bar (Parker et al ., 2007) Others died protecting their crops, herding cattle and walking at night between neighbouring villages. The most expensive but effective way of controlling elephant raids using electric fencing but the cost of design and materials used for electric fencing is quite high and Fernando et al. (2008) estimates it as USD 3,500-5,000/km in Sri Lanka.Organise and mobilise farmers in conflict villages and raising deep awareness on elephant behaviour patterns.Erection of Dandu Weta (Log fence) along the areas where elephants cross. Villagers in some of the frequently raided areas have experienced that the invasion could be prevented with the Dandu Weta or the Wooden Fence. The fence is erected using large logs and does not fix strongly on the ground. When touched it moves as it is not steadily fixed. Usually elephants do not touch or move over fences those are swinging or unsteady (De silva and De Silva, 2007). Habitat enrichment could be done by planting fodder trees in the elephants’ forest areas. For example, cultivating Beru (a water grass elephants love to eat) in tanks (reservoirs) and other trees (such as Velang) that form main part of the diet of elephants. There are about 100 species of plants that are eaten by elephants. The best and the long-run HEC mitigation approach is conservation policy planning precise for different geographical locations. This needs years of research, awareness and lobbying and more importantly, political willingness. So that we urge worldwide research community in the world who love elephants to come to Sri Lanka to research in order to save this gigantic and adorable creature.

Bank Deposit Send your donations to the Serendib Tea Exports Bank account Account No: 0050-33311235-001 Account Name: Serendib Tea Exports Bank: Seylan Bank Branch: Panadura *Make sure to enter your name, address, e-mail and contact no in the remarks of the deposit slip so we may contact you. Sponsor a Project Support an elephant research project, or a tree give-away event for saving elephants in Sri Lanka. We can tell you more about the opportunities available. Contact on +94-718077147 or email us at udukala@gmail.com for future details. International Wire Transfer Account No: 0050-33311235-001 Account Name: Serendib Tea Exports Bank: Seylan Bank Branch: Panadura Branch SWIFT CODE: SEYBLKLX

Serendib Golden Tea Brand Seeking Partners for CSR We decided to allocate some amount of our funds for the development of children of plantation sector. Serendib Tea we will also donate funds for “Arm Elephant Conservation” campaign. Help us to address the poverty while saving better future for these humen and beats in Sri Lanka. The project, introduce by Serendib Herbal Tea Exports, is CSR campaign and our obligation for Wildlife specially Asian Elephant. Every contribution will be entitled to receive free Cartoon of Serendib Golden Herbal Tea.

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