Thursday, February 08, 2018

Sri Lanka elephant kills top Buddhist monk

A senior Buddhist monk died in hospital Saturday, a day after being attacked by an elephant at his own temple near the capital, police said.

Bellanwila Wimalarathana, 77, was violently pushed to the ground by the tusker, but the mahout managed to prevent the monk from being gored, police said.

The monk was rushed to hospital but died a day later. He was also a vice chancellor of a state-run university and becomes the first high profile monk to be killed by a tamed elephant in the country.

The elephant was gift to the temple by the government of Myanmar in mid 2013 and it had been named "Myan Kumara."

Elephants are considered sacred animals protected by law in Sri Lanka. Several Buddhist temples have pet elephants which are paraded at annual pageants.

Despite laws protecting them, about 200 elephants are killed annually by farmers who say they stray onto their land and destroy crops. About 50 people are killed in wild elephant attacks annually.

Sri Lanka's elephant population has dwindled to just over 7,000, according to the latest census, down from an estimated 12,000 in 1900.

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Sunday, January 28, 2018

Wild elephants destroy cultivations in Kekirawa

The residents of Kekirawa say that a herd of wild elephants roaming in Kekirawa, Horapola, and Moragollagama is destroying their cultivations.

Our correspondent said paddy fields, coconut trees, and other crops have been destroyed in those villages.

The area residents accused that authorities have erected a substandard electric fence, allowing the wild elephants to breach the fence easily.

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Saturday, January 27, 2018

Wildlife Ministry to take tough action against elephant hunters

The Ministry of Sustainable Development and Wildlife has taken measures to increase the legal punishment for the killing of tuskers.

Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera said, officials of the Department of Wildlife and the Attorney General’s Department will meet day after tomorrow to discuss further on the matter.

Four tuskers were killed in the recent past.

According to a senior official of the department, one tusker at Ambanpola was gunned down yesterday.

He added that a team of doctors will be dispatched today, to treat the injured tusker.

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Friday, January 19, 2018


The Housing and Construction Deputy Minister Indika Bandaranayake says that he would resign from his portfolio if anyone proves that he has connections to the killing of tusker Dala Poottuwa.

He was responding to a question posed by Hiru news team.

The Deputy Minister is accused by certain sections of harbouring the suspects linked to the killing of the elephant.

However, the Deputy Minister admitted that one of the suspects currently on remand supported him during the last general election.

10 suspects have already been arrested in connection with the gunning down of Galgamuwe Dala Poottuwa and they are on remand.

Two Gramaseva ocers were arrested last Saturday along with three ivory pendants.

Meanwhile, Law and Order Minister Sagala Rathnayake posted a twitter stating that stern legal action will be taken against those kill elephants.

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Dalaputtuwa killing: Two Grama Niladharies arrested

Two Grama Niladharis were arrested on charges of being in possession of three ivory pendants during a raid on a house at Polpithigama.

The Polpithigama Police said the arrests were made on a tip off received by the Nikaweratiya Division Intelligence Unit.

They said suspects, one of whom was 32 and the other 43, were residents of Ma-Eliya and Makulpotha and would be produced in the Mahawa Magistrate's Court shortly.

The police said they launched investigations after the Walana- Panadura Anti-Vice Striking Unit had recovered a pair of elephant tusks and an ivory gemstone also known as gaja muthu from the possession of two suspects on November 23. One of the suspects was a Grama Niladhari.

Investigations had revealed that the tusks and the gaja muthu were removed from the Galgamuwe tusker better known as the Dala Poottuwa.

On Friday, the Police arrested five people on suspicion of being involved in the killing of this majestic tusker. (Darshana Sanjeewa)

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Friday, December 29, 2017

Namal Laments Killings Of Elephants In Sri Lanka: Accuses Government Of Inaction

Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa, expressing his views on the rising number of elephant killings in Sri Lanka said, the government was taking no action to reverse this trend.

"It's unfathomable that this many elephants in #SriLanka have been killed this year. The Gov. was quick to arrest even Buddhist monks for having elephants at temples, yet they are taking no action to stop this needless killing of our most unique #wildlife treasures," Rajapaksa said, in a tweet, yesterday.

According to the statistics Rajapaksa has quoted 123 elephants have so far been killed this year.

The most number of elephant killings is reported from the Northern and North Central provinces.

The government, however, replaced the Wildlife Ministry Secretary in the light of allegations against the country's Wildlife authorities. Douglas Nanayakkara, previously the Secretary to the Special Assignments Ministry, has been appointed the new Wildlife Ministry Secretary.

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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Another tusker found dead in Puttalam

Another elephant, a single tusker, was found shot dead at the Sellankandal Forest Reserve in Puttalam yesterday, Wild Life officials said.

They said that they suspect the elephant could be around 30-years old and might have been killed a day before yesterday.

A man who had gone to the forest to graze his cow had seen the elephant carcass and had informed the Wild Life officials.

They said several gunshot wounds had been detected on the carcass.

The autopsy into the elephant’s death is expected to be conducted today.

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Elephant and calf rescued after falling into ditch near Mattala Airport

An elephant and her calf who had fallen into a unprotected ditch in front of the Mattala International Airport was rescued today (8) by wildlife officers. The two animals were rescued after an operation lasting over two ours by officers from the Department of Wildlife Conservation's (DWC) Hambantota Office and the Udawalawa Elephant Transit Home.

Wildlife officers said they had rescued three elephant calves from Hambantota District this year after they fell into ditches.

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Ballistic Shockwave Sensors For Wild Elephants

The Government has drawn its attention to replacing the existing GPS collars with ballistic shock sensors to identify wild elephants.

Several environmental activists’ organizations met Wildlife Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera yesterday (05) to discuss the killing of the tusker, Galgamuwe Dala Poottuwa and other issues with regard to wild elephants.

The environmental activist, Shashikalana Ratwatta told our news team that they decided to x
40 ballistic shock sensor collars to wild elephants under the rest phase of the programme.

Meanwhile, police arrested 3 suspects with 3 elephant pearls in their possession at Palukandawa in Galgamuwa yesterday (05).

The seized elephant pearls are believed to have been extracted from the slain tusker, Galgamuwe Dala Poottuwa.

The suspects who have been arrested on a tip-off, are residents of Galgamuwa.

Earlier, 10 suspects were arrested in connection with the killing of the tusker.

Several elephant pearls and a few ivory pendants believed to have been made of the tusks of the slain wild elephant were also seized by the police thereafter.

In addition, CID is continuing investigations to arrest few more suspects linked to the killing of the tusker.

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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Five arrested over elephant killing in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan police have arrested five men for allegedly killing a wild elephant, with officers seizing ivory and tusk-cutting tools, officials said Friday.

Villagers in the island’s northwest had alerted wildlife authorities after a popular local elephant called “Dala Poottuwa”, or crossed tusker, disappeared.

Its carcass was later found with a bullet wound in the skull.

Authorities broke up what they say is a poaching network as part of their investigation, charging five men with killing the elephant.

“They had in their possession several tools used to cut tusks (and) two ivory pendants,” said police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera.

Elephants are protected under Sri Lankan law and poachers can face the death penalty for killing one.
Tusked elephants are rare in Sri Lanka, accounting for less than five per cent of the island’s estimated elephant population of around 6000.

That figure has declined from the last official census of the island’s elephants, which identified more than 7300 animals.

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Another tusker shot dead at Karuwalagaswewa

Not many days after the killing of the well-known tusker, the Dala Poottuwa and the arrest of five suspects in this connection; five more suspects were arrested on charges of having shot dead another tusker in Karuwalagaswewa.

Its body was found near the Thabbowa reservoir in Karuwalagaswewa on Wednesday morning.

The Puttalam Wildlife Conservation Department Assistant Director W.M.K.S. Chandraratne said Veterinary Surgeon Chandana Jayasinghe who carried out the postmortem examination had in his report identified the elephant's death was caused by gunshot injuries to its liver and the resultant internal bleeding.

Villagers said the 18-year-old elephant with with its four-foot pair of tusks was not often seen outside the jungle area it inhabited.

The tusks were taken into custody by the wildlife department.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Villagers detain a group of wildlife officers in Galewela

It is reported that 15 Wildlife officers have been detained by villagers at Dandubandiruppa in Galewela.

Our correspondent stated that the wildlife officers were detained forcing them to further continue the ongoing elephant chasing operation.

The operation has been suspended after elephant crackers have run short.

However, the villagers have detained until the officers restart the operation.

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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Woman dies in wild elephant attack

A 22-year-old mother of one was killed in a wild elephant attack in Welikanda in Polonnaruwa.The attack had taken place this afternoon while the woman was in her garden.

Police said she was admitted to Welikanda Hospital with critical injuries and later succumbed to her injuries.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Elephant attacks luxury bus travelled by Dambulla Acting Magistrate and his family

A wild elephant that was used to grab food from pilgrims visiting the Sithulpavva Temple in Tissamaharamaya, has taken a luxury bus occupied by Dambulla Acting Magistrate and family, into its custody.

One of the occupants of the bus had recorded the moment using his mobile phone.

They encountered this fearful moment when they were travelling towards Sithulpavva Temple, after worshiping Kataragama.

The tusker first walked towards the bus in search of food and as it was not served with food, the angry elephant has smashed the glass panel of the door and had put his trunk inside the bus.

Then he had threatened the occupants by thrusting its head on the bus.

However, the elephant has walked away only after it was offered food.

This elephant is popular as "Kappan Raaju".

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Council approves new $1.6m elephant despite Sri Lankan court hold up

The only thing stopping Auckland from getting a third elephant is a court case in Sri Lanka.

In May 2011 Auckland Council approved $3.2m to transport two gifted elephants from Sri Lanka to New Zealand.

Anjalee joined veteran elephant Burma at Auckland Zoo in 2015.

Before arriving to New Zealand in 2015, Anjalee spent three months quarantined in Niue.

But protests from animal rights activists and cultural and religious groups in Sri Lanka stopped second elephant Nandi from leaving Sri Lanka for New Zealand.

During the 2017/2018 Annual Plan process council allocated only $1.1m for the relocation of the second elephant instead of the $1.6m required, due to an oversight.

At Auckland Council's finance and performance committee meeting on Tuesday, 15 councillors approved a correction of $549,000 to the $1.6 million needed to move Nandi to New Zealand.

A hearing about whether Nandi can be moved to New Zealand is underway after campaigners in Sri Lanka petitioned the Sri Lankan Court of Appeal.

At the committee meeting, Auckland Zoo deputy director Kevin Burley said the court case in Sri Lanka was not about Nandi specifically, but rather the gifting of elephants as a whole. 

Anjalee had thrived under the zoo's care and he thought Nandi would thrive also, Burley said.

Councillors Cathy Casey, Efeso Collins, Mike Lee, Wayne Walker and John Watson voted against the decision.

"It's a lot of money to transport an exotic, endangered animal from one part of the world to this part of the world," Casey said.

"Two elephants are enough."

$1.6m could go a long way for community groups and the council's homelessness programme, she said.

Collins said he was voting against the correction because $549,000 could be used to double council's commitment to homelessness.

"We would pay the Christmas parades in Ōtara, Papatoetoe, Otahuhu and Māngere for 15 years with half a million dollars," Collins said.

"We could fly around civil servants of this council business class with half a million dollars."

Regional facilities Auckland board external relations director Paul Brewer said it was delighted at the correction of $549,000.

"There was good robust debate," Brewer said.

If the court in Sri Lanka ruled in its favour, getting Nandi to New Zealand would be quickly underway, he said.

A spokeswoman for Auckland Zoo said it was confident it could give Nandi an excellent home and life but her arrival was ultimately up to the Sri Lankan courts.

"If we subsequently hear definitively that she will have to stay at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, then we will then explore what other options are for our elephant programme," the spokeswoman said.

SAFE campaign director Mandy Carter said Nandi had established her own family at the orphanage and an "artificial group" at Auckland Zoo could cause issues, she said.

Alongside the one-off cost of $3.2m for Anjalee and Nandi, there would be high ongoing costs of $100,000 each to look after three elephants at the zoo, Carter said.

Instead she thought the money could go to looking after native animals, she said.

Residents commented on community website Neighbourly about Auckland Council spending $1.6m on an elephant.

Remuera resident Zoe Spinks said having another elephant at the zoo would attract more visitors.

"I see this as an investment to bring more interest and funding toward conservation, including our own native species," Spinks said.

Grey Lynn resident Jo Ryan said she wondered what Auckland Council's perspective was on spending money on an elephant rather than safe and affordable housing.

"$1.6m could change the lives of many of those who are homeless," Ryan said.

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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Wild elephants storm villages in Thambuththegama

The human-elephant conflict is a large threat in certain rural areas of Sri Lanka. People – adults and children alike, very often lose their lives in this conflict.

The story is the same in the village of Pethiyagama, Thambuththegama. The residents of this village are inconvenienced daily by encroaching wild elephants.

On Monday, September 25, a group of wild elephants stormed the village and destroyed crops.

According to reports from the News 1st correspondent in the area, the wild elephants had been in the village from last afternoon until dawn today, September 26.

Following is a list of villages in Thambuthtegama which are facing the same problem;

Locals charge that the wild elephants have been encroaching their villages for months.

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Two wild elephants roaming the villages in southern Sri Lanka caught and released to national park

Sri Lankan wildlife authorities have finally managed to capture two young wild elephants roaming villages in the south for over a month after two days of struggling.

Wildlife officials captured the two elephants who had started their roaming spree from Sooriyaweva in Hambantota and come to Walasmulla and from there had arrived at Kuttigala in Embilipitiya area.

They have been damaging crops and wandering in the villages for over a month, the residents said.

The two elephants have been hanging around in the Kuttigala area since the 29th of last month becoming a threat to the residents. They were captured on Saturday (07 October) after a two-day operation following an order from the Embilipitiya court in response to a request made by the Kuttigala police.

The two animals had been captured following a joint operation conducted by officials of Udawalawe Eth-athurusevana, Hambantota Wildlife Conservation Department officials and Sri Lanka Army officials.

The two elephants were later released to the Udawalawe National Wildlife Park.

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Wildlife officials catch two wild elephants in Embilipitiya

Two elephants that had destroyed cultivated lands in Kuttigala, Embilipitiya were caught by the officials of the Hambantota Wildlife Office.The two wild elephants have been roaming in the surrounding villages for a month disrupting the day-to-day work of the villagers.

The elephants will be taken to Udawalawe Reserve.

Meanwhile, an injured wild elephant is reportedly roaming in Athimale, Moneragala for the last one week.

The wildlife officials have not yet attended to the animal.

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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Visiting Orphaned Baby Elephants at the Elephant Transit Home in Udawalawe, Sri Lanka

If it weren’t already completely and utterly obvious, I am obsessed with elephants. If you are also in love with these gentle giants, you need to visit Sri Lanka ASAP as it has one of the biggest populations of wild Asian elephants in the world. Over the years, measures to protect wildlife (and in particular, elephants) have continued to  improve in Sri Lanka, and a number of facilities have been created to ensure the survival and wellbeing of animals. One such facility is the Elephant Transit Home in Udawalawe, Sri Lanka. (“Udawalawe” may sound familiar to you as it is home to one of the most popular national parks in Sri Lanka.)

What is the Elephant Transit Home?

As the human population continues to grow in Sri Lanka, humans encroach on elephant natural habitat for farmland, gem mining, timber and even trafficking. Human-elephant conflict is a major threat to the survival of elephants in Sri Lanka, with many elephants being orphaned or lost: this is where Elephant Transit Home comes in. The elephant calves are taken in, nurtured and cared for back to health. The elephants are free to roam around and are never chained – Elephant Transit Home ensures that human contact is kept to a minimum in order to maximize their chance of survival when they are returned to the wild.

What sets Elephant Transit Home apart from other so-called “orphanages” is that elephants are returned to the wild so that they can re-integrate with wild herds once they turn five years old; according to the organization, more than 110 elephants have been returned back to the national parks around Sri Lanka. You can read more about the work Elephant Transit Home does here.

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Storm erupts over dead elephant

SKUKUZA – The carcass of an elephant lying in a pool of its own blood, was found outside Satara Rest Camp in the Kruger National Park early on Tuesday morning.

Some of its intestines were visible, but otherwise there were no signs of predators feasting on it.

The carcass was removed by park officials that hoisted it onto a truck and took into the veld for an autopsy. “This was a difficult task, since the ground was very wet due to the heavy thunderstorm earlier,” says Reynold Thakuli, general manager for media, public relations and stakeholder relations of SANParks.

Yesterday he confirmed that a team of veterinarians could only deduce that the animal had been struck by lightning, since no other possible causes for its death could be found.

While several news sites reassured readers that the elephant had died due to an act of nature, the guesswork on social media ranged from a muti killing to ivory poachers who had been disturbed before being able to remove the tusks, to being the work of predators.

The latter was questioned by commentators who assumed predators would feast on the intestines first, while others alleged that predators do not feed on animals struck by lightning. This phenomenon could not be confirmed, but a local vet conceded that predators might be deterred by a “typical chemical smell” after a lightning strike.

First reports that its genitals had been removed triggered suspicions about a muti killing, while holes that allegedly would confirm a lightning strike were apparently found when vets examined the carcass.

This led to more speculation on a SANParks Facebook group, with a doubting Thomas suggesting that the elephant must have been “lying with its belly up in the air” when struck. He was quickly informed that “lightning enters at the top and heads earthward through the body, possibly splitting along the way, causing multiple exit wounds and burns”.

Lowvelder received information that the elephant had been shot by officials since it was causing problems at the camp. This allegation was denied by Thakuli.

• Elephants killed by lightning are apparently not uncommon. A few websites, including, tell that a well-known American circus elephant called Pitt was killed in August 1943 in Montana when a sudden bolt of lightning knocked her down.  It also mentions Norma Jean, a 6 500-pound elephant of the Clark and Walters Circus struck and killed in 1972, with her trainer “knocked 30 feet by the blast”.

In 2008 an elephant owned by the Guruvayur Devaswom temple died after it was struck by lightning in Thrissur ( and in May last year, the Express Tribune reported that four elephants were killed by lightning in northern Sri Lanka.

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Helicopter Flies Closer To Elephant Herd In Kawdulla, Incident To Be Investigated

An investigation has commenced into the incident where a helicopter had own over the Kawudulla National Park to have a closer look at wild elephants.

The investigation will be conducted jointly by the Civil Aviation Authority and the Administration of the Kawudulla National Park.

The helicopter has own quite close to a herd of wild elephants in Kawudulla National Park last Friday (13) agitating the herd. The provoked elephants had chased away visitors who were in the park at the time.

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Sri Lanka bans open garbage dumping to protect elephants

Authorities in Sri Lanka on Wednesday banned the open dumping of garbage near wildlife sanctuaries to discourage elephants from foraging for rotting food scraps and risking their lives.

As an immediate measure, the cabinet ordered that electric fences be erected around more than 50 dumps near elephant habitats to keep the roaming beasts away.

"Around 300 wild elephants are hanging around them (dumps)," the government said in a statement.

"When elephants consume bacteria-infested waste... it shortens their lifespan."

The government said local authorities would be banned from dumping solid waste in the open, and would be required to establish recycling plants and use hygienic methods of waste disposal.

The government said an unspecified number of elephants had died after ingesting polythene sheeting - in landfill sites, adding wild herds were increasingly relying on garbage dumps for food.

Elephants are venerated in Buddhism, the majority religion in Sri Lanka, and are protected by law.

The wild elephant population in Sri Lanka is estimated at about 7,500, with another 200 domestic beasts.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A group of four baby elephants were rescued from a deep well in after they slipped down the muddy sides of the hole.

It shows food being dumped into the hole for the four elephant calves after a farmer discovered them while working in the early morning.

The elephants are sprayed with water to keep them hydrated and cool before wildlife officials arrive with a backhoe.

The construction equipment is used to dig a path for the baby pachyderms to walk to safety.

The baby elephants are seen at the end of the fleeing into the woods without any signs of injury from their time in the hole.

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Residents block road after woman killed by elephant

Angry residents blocked the Hambantota Suriyawewa main road on Friday after a 68-year-old woman was killed by a wild elephant while she was sweeping the premises out side her humble home.

P. Babynona was sweeping her garden at about 5.45 a.m. when the attack took place. She died on the
spot from her injuries.

Residents who gathered at the scene blocked the Hambantota-Suriyawewa road in protest claiming
that authorities had done nothing to protect the villagers from elephant attacks.

The residents even surrounded the vehicle of the Suriyawewa Divisional Secretary (DS), who arrived
at the scene to calm the situation. The residents refused to let the vehicle leave the area.

The DS told the residents that the issue of wild elephant attacks was not some thing he could solve

The residents how ever, refused to accept this explanation and continued to block the road for several

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Saturday, September 30, 2017

CDA declines another offer to shift ‘Kavaan’

The Capital Development Authority (CDA) once again declined a request from 'Free the Wild' to immediately shift 'Kavann' the elephant into a safe elephants' sanctuary abroad. However, the authority asked foreign experts to visit the Margazar Zoo.

A three-member delegation led by Mark Cown, a representative of 'Free the Wild', a United States based organisation working for animals' rights, met Islamabad Mayor Shaikh Anser Aziz on Tuesday in this regard.

Sources told Daily Times that the delegation had requested CDA to allow them to shift 'Kavaan' into a safe sanctuary anywhere in the world. "They also offered to give another new pair of elephants for the zoo in Islamabad," sources said.

The 33-year-old Asian elephant Kavaan has lived in the Islamabad zoo since he was a calf. He was gifted to General Zia by the Sri Lankan government. The elephant has been kept in chains for more than two decades.

The campaign to free him by animal lovers across the country and abroad last year led to a series of Senate hearings and the Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat took up Kavaan's issue after the media reported on the terrible conditions under which he is being kept at the zoo.

In July 2016, the committee's chairman Senator Talha Mehmood and other members recommended that Kavaan be sent abroad to an elephant sanctuary. A sanctuary in Cambodia has offered to fly him out there free of cost and to keep him in a natural environment for the rest of his life.

However, the city managers have been reluctant to send the elephant abroad, fearing the loss of funds that are being used on the name of Kavaan's rehabilitation.

When contacted, Islamabad Environment Metropolitan Corporation Director General Dr Sheikh Suleman said: "It is too early to say that why we did not make a commitment with the delegation regarding shifting Kavaan."

"We have asked them to first visit the zoo and assess the present situation of the elephant and then we will discuss a suitable option in this regard," he said.

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Friday, September 22, 2017

Reckless driving causes death of ‘Kandula’

The safari elephant ‘Kandula’ who received injuries, died this morning (11) when the truck in which it had been transported, met with an accident.

56-year-old Kandula was being transported to Pinnawela Orphanage for medical treatment at the time of the accident.

Our correspondent stated that the elephant died of his injuries while receiving treatment at Illukwatta in Kadugannawa.

The truck in which the elephant was transported met with an accident due to the driver’s reckless driving last Saturday afternoon.

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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Irish lad gets more than he bargained for after stopping to feed wild elephant in Sri Lanka

Ross Fitzgerald was travelling through Sri Lanka with his girlfriend Elaine Harney when they had a hilarious encounter with nature.

AN Irish lad got a lot more than he bargained for when he stopped his tuk-tuk to feed an elephant in Sri Lanka.

Ross Fitzgerald and girlfriend Elaine Harney are currently travelling through the popular island just south of India.

The elephant approaches for some food.

Oops… the animal gets a bit too close.

In a hilarious video, Ross’ girlfriend captured the moment he walked over to the elephant to feed him some food out of his hand.

But the cheeky elephant decided to grab the tuk-tuk with his trunk and started to shake the vehicle.

Screams and laughter can be heard in the background as Ross moves back and the playful elephant pushes the tuk-tuk over on its side.

The video was taken at the Leopard Trails Yala National Park – which is a popular destination with backpackers.

And if Ross’ hashtags are anything to go by, we reckon he’s learned his lesson to not feed wild elephants in future.

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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sri Lanka not to allow elephants to be sent overseas

The Sri Lankan government will not allow the capture of elephants and having them transported overseas following concerns that the elephant population was increasing in the island country, a local media report said here Wednesday.

Minister of Sustainable Development and Wild Life Gamini Jayawickrama Perera said that capturing and sending elephants overseas was a a violation of the world wild life regulations and Sri Lanka would not grant permit for this.

He said Sri Lanka would next year carry out a census to obtain an accurate figure of all the wild elephants in the country.

In response to concerns raised on the human-elephant conflict, Perera said that the government was addressing the issue but the main reason that such conflicts occurred was due to a haphazard manner in which forests were being cleared.

Between 2010 to 2017, more than 25 people died as a result of wild elephant attacks in Sri Lanka while around 57 elephants also died during this period.

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Saturday, September 09, 2017

Elephants on 'hostile territory' in Sri Lanka

Udawalawe National Park, Sri Lanka - It is difficult to predict when the elephants will come.

As darkness falls around Sri Lanka's Udawalawe National Park, the 52 villages that speckle its borders go on alert. Thin wire fences hum with the threat of electricity.

Across the dry zone, farmers climb up into rudimentary treehouses overlooking their paddy fields. They must try to stay alert as the darkness deepens. Armed only with torches, fireworks, and their voices - loud and hoarse - they may be forced to face down giants.

Ashoka Ranjeewa, an elephant researcher, has spent many nights out here. When he first arrived in Pokunuthanna, there were few friendly faces. Bordered on two sides by the national park, and on one side by the Dahaiyagala sanctuary, this village of some 100 families has seen more than its fair share of elephant attacks. Farmers here allege the compensation they are paid is meagre and comes late. Outsiders only come to gawk, taking pictures, commiserating.

None of this stops the elephants from coming.

Killer elephants

The foragers are most often male elephants - bulls - on average weighing in at 5,000-6,000 kilogrammes, and reaching over three metres tall, these are among the largest land animals alive.

The villagers of Pokunuthanna used to believe just four to five bulls took turns invading their land. But when Ranjeewa installed some infrared night vision cameras, he raised the count to 35.

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Wild elephant goes on rampage killing one in Vadamaraadchi East, Jaffna

A 50-year-old man who went to a palmyra grove at Vaththiraayan in Uduththu'rai in Vadamaraadchi East of Jaffna district to collect firewood was brutally killed by a wild elephant that went on rampage in the early hours of Monday. Two men survived the attack with injuries. This is the first time a wild elephant has managed to enter Vadamaraadchi East in the recent times. The fatality comes as the SL authorities failed to take action despite eyewitnesses reporting about the wild elephant on Friday. Nobody has ever spotted a wild elephant in Vadamaraadchi East and this is the first fatality due to wild elephant attack in Jaffna district in the recent years. The area where the incident took place is a marshland surrounded by waters and the area, lacking potable water and consumable vegetation, is not fit for the survival of elephants.

Occupying Colombo's Wildlife Department and Forest Department officials have been collaborating in bringing wild elephants from Sinhala areas in the South into the jungles in the North-East, especially after the end of genocidal war in Vanni 2009.   As a result, tens of resettling Eezham Tamils have been killed and several properties destroyed, particularly in the Eastern district of Batticaloa, which is bordering Polonnaruwa jungle. Similar attacks have also been reported in Mullaiththeevu, Vavuniyaa and Mannaar districts after 2009.   Apart from the wild-elephants, many orphaned elephants that were kept in the Uda Walawe Elephant Transit Camp in Sabaragamuwa province in the South have also been brought into Mullaiththeevu jungle in the recent past.   Recently, the SL Wildlife Department was also expanding Chu'ndik-ku'lam bird sanctuary in Vadamaraachi East.   Tamil activists allege that the SL Department was having a hidden agenda of genocidal land grab.

Through various programs and by deploying SL military at the region, the SL State has been aiming to permanently choke Jaffna by turning the narrow strip of Chu’ndikku’lam sandbar, which links the peninsula with Vanni mainland, into a Sinhala colony with tourist resorts, liquor shops, prawn farming industry and by encouraging southern fishermen to seize the fishing beds.

The elderly people and women, who use to collect deadwood from the thickets of Ka'ndal vegetation and from the palmyra groves, have been chased away by the SL military, which is collaborating with the Forest and Wildlife departments of occupying Colombo.    The SL military which claims to be in possession of helicopter-assisted technology to trace humans in the think jungles, has been unable to trace the wild-elephant in the marshland, the villagers complain.   The slain victim was identified as Sittampalam Sathiyaseelan.

One of the two men who survived the attack, V. Murukan, has lost one foot.   Tension prevails in Uduththu’rai and hundreds of families have moved closer to the main roads and the highway.   The fishermen societies and representatives of rural development societies have urged the authorities to take immediate action to capture and relocate the wild elephant away from Vadamaraadchi East.

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Thursday, September 07, 2017

A wild elephant rummages through garbage

A wild elephant rummages through garbage dumped at an open ground in the village of Digampathana in north-central Sri Lanka on August 19, 2017.

Sri Lanka has banned the dumping of garbage at open fields and near wildlife reserves, but the practice continues.

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Wild elephants torment Konwewa villagers

Residents of Konwewa in Maho are living in constant fear of a herd of wild elephants that roam into
villages. They said a herd of more than 30 wild elephants have been destroying cultivated land and home garden crops for over a week.

A villager called the Wildlife Office in the presence of the media only to be told they did not have a vehicle to come.

The herd with several calves had roamed into the village last evening while the villagers remained behind closed doors. The villagers said they had reported the appearance of the herd of elephants to the Wildlife Conservation Department but there had been no response.

Meanwhile a villager called the Wildlife Office in the presence of media personnel only to be told they did not have a vehicle to come.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Deputy Minister proposes to export wild elephants

Skills Development and Vocational Training Deputy Minister, Karunarathna Paranawithana says that surplus wild elephants should be sold to foreigners in order to resolve the human – elephant conflict.

Deputy Minister Paranawithana said this while chairing the Balangoda Coordinating Committee Meeting at the Divisional Secretariat today (04).

Various factions pointed out in the meeting that a solution should be found to the human-elephant conflict.

At that moment, Deputy Minister Paranawithana said that only 4,000 wild elephants should remain in the country, but it has increased up to 6,000.

When participants pointed out the nuisance created by wild boar and monkeys, the Deputy Minister said that if permission is to be given to kill such animals, permission should be given to sell their flesh as well.

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Saturday, September 02, 2017

On Sri Lanka have organized a parade with elephants under the name "Tooth Festival"

Most brightly during the holiday animals who were in every possible way decorated looked. "The tooth festival" on the Sri Lanka.

On Sri Lanka have organized a bright religious celebration. Will look at a show thousands of people have gathered. It is said in TSN plot.

The Holiday which has the name "Tooth Festival" is carried out every year to honor a sacred relic - tooth of Buddha which is stored in the city of Kandy. During the parade the relic is taken on the downtown. Part in action is taken by dozens of dancers in national suits and brightly dressed up elephants.

of Animals who participate in a parade is decorated with bright carpets, suits, flowers and even an illyumanation.

On Sri Lanka have organized a parade with elephants under the name "Tooth Festival"

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Friday, August 25, 2017

Explosives killing hundreds of elephants, protection handicapped

A four-year-old elephant, which had suffered severe injuries after biting an explosives-packed device used to hunt wild animals for human consumption is fighting for its life.

The illegal device commonly known as —‘hakka pattas’ — a mixture of explosives with lead and ball bearings inserted into a piece of pumpkin had been placed in a location in Hambantota. It is at that site where the wounded animal had been found nearly two weeks after the incident.

The explosion had mutilated its jaw bones, teeth, and ripped off a foot long piece of trunk. The animal is being treated at the Elephant Transit Home Udawalawe.

Veterinary surgeon, Dr Malaka Abeywardena told the Sunday Times that even after three days of treatment, there had not been any improvement as of Friday.

“Due to the damage to the jaw and teeth of the elephant calf it has to take liquid food. It is malnourished and weak making anaesthetised surgery impossible.’’

Dr Abeywardena said that that the calf would have roamed near Hambantota harbour for over a week after being wounded. The animal’s mouth and the side of it’s head was infested with maggots.

“Antibiotics are given twice a day, while saline, energy boosting medicine and vitamins are given regularly,’’ he said.

Incidents of elephants being killed by using hakka patas, shooting them or poisoning them are on the rise.

Within the last five years, from 2012 to 2016 around 1,171 elephants have died out of which only 104 had died due to natural causes, according to the Wildlife Department.

The survey on the elephant population done in 2011 revealed that the number of elephants in the country around 5,800.

Statistics show that during last year alone 279 elephants were found dead and only 35 of them had died due to natural causes.

Dr Tharaka Prasad, director of wildlife health at the Wildlife Department as well as the chief veterinary surgeon, said more deaths take place because of gun shot wounds.

He said that a tusker and another elephant suffering from gunshot injuries are struggling for their lives in Kala Wewa, Anuradhapura and in Minneriya respectively.

“Elephants which are shot can only be identified when the animal shows signs of weakness or seen limping towards a pool of water. Its too late then as it is badly infected by that time,’’ he said.

Dr Prasad noted instances of elephants wounded by trap guns set up by farmers and surviving for years after the wounds heal, but the corrosion of the iron balls embedded in their flesh, kills them eventually.

He explained that some farmers kill elephants by using toxic pesticide in vegetables. Electric fences can also kill elephants in minutes or within days.

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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Police Arrests a Woman For Keeping Unlicensed Elephant Tusks

A woman has been arrested by the crime branch of the Borelesgamuwa police station for keeping a pair of elephant tusks without the licence.

The suspect is a resident of Gangodawila, Nugegoda Damayanthi Noelin Karunaratne.

The suspect woman was granted two personal bails worth Rs 100,000 each.

A Hearing will take place on September 28 at the Gangodawila Magistrate’s Courts.

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Kandy Esala Perahera faces 'elephant crisis'

This year's Kandy Esala Perahera will be without its ‘star’ attractions -- the tuskers Nadungamuwe Raja, Wasana and Kelaniya Raja, while two other tuskers belonging to the Sri Dalada Maligawa would not taking apart in the perahera.

The Maligawa officials said ‘Nadungamuwa Raja’ and ‘Wasana’ were among the elephants at the Kataragama Perahera while 'Kelaniya Raja' would not be available for the Kandy Perahera beginning on July 29.

The Sri Dalada Maligawa spokesman said one of the eight tuskers -- ‘Migara’ would not be available during the Perahera season and therefore the organisers may have to manage with the remaining five tuskers. He said usually three elephants were required to carry the sacred relics casket, whereas only two other elephants would take part in the Perahera.

According to him, another tusker, a gift from former Myanmar President to President Maithripala Sirisena, is expected to arrive in the country soon. But it was doubtful whether it would arrive before the Perahera, as it takes time to be suffeciently trained.

Meanwhile the Basnayake Nilame for Natha Devale, Gayan Heenkenda said the four Devales participating in the Perahera were facing a similar issue without elephants.

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Saturday, August 05, 2017

Sri Lanka navy rescues two elephants washed out to sea

Two young elephants washed out to sea were saved from drowning Sunday by the Sri Lankan navy in the second such incident off the island in as many weeks.

The navy said the pair of wild elephants were brought ashore after a “mammoth effort” involving navy divers, ropes and a flotilla of boats to tow them back to shallow waters.

Photos showed the elephants in distress, barely keeping their trunks above water in the deep seas about one kilometre off the coast of Sri Lanka.

“Having safely guided the two elephants to the shore, they were subsequently released to the Foul Point jungle (in Trincomalee district),” the navy said in a statement.

“They were extremely lucky to have been spotted by a patrol craft which called in several other boats to help with the rescue.”

Two weeks ago, the navy mounted a similar operation in the same region to save a lone elephant washed eight kilometres (five miles) off the Sri Lankan coast into the deep waters of the Indian Ocean.

Navy officials say the animals were likely swept out while crossing shallow lagoons in the region.
They are not the only wildlife to encounter trouble in the biodiverse island.

In May, the navy and local residents saved a pod of 20 pilot whales that became stranded in Trincomalee, a natural harbour that is popular for whale watching.

The waters around Trincomalee, which were used by Allied forces as a staging post during World War II, have a high concentration of blue and sperm whales, while the surrounding jungles have herds of wild elephants.

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Hambantota authorities ensure safe distance between elephants and fans

Elephants have been known to invade the Hambantota stadium pitch in the dead of night, but it is spectators who are likely to stray into elephant territory when the venue hosts three ODIs in the coming week, a forest warden has warned. Hambantota's Widlife Department office confirmed they will deploy staff between the stadium and the nearby jungle, to ensure no cricket fans stray into the range of an elephant herd known to forage in the area.

"The jungle starts about 300-400 metres from the stadium, and we know there is a herd whose range can be about a kilometre or two from the venue," forest warden JAC Vijaykumara said. "It's unlikely that the elephants will come towards the stadium during the day, but people have been known to go into the forest - sometimes even to have a drink - so we've prepared a team which will be stationed there to prevent that."

The ground, which is surrounded on three sides by thick vegetation, is situated in the southeast of Sri Lanka, which is renowned for its wildlife. Leopards, sloth bears, deer and water buffalo roam nearby national parks and forest reserves, along with all manner of reptile and bird life. During previous series in Hambantota, elephants have charged the vehiclse of cricket journalists returning to their hotel after a match, and on another occasion, a vehicle belonging to venue staff collided with a water buffalo resting on the road. Venomous snakes are also frequently seen in the vicinity of the ground.

Vijayakumara said there had also been at least two instances in which elephants had busted through the perimeter fence and made their way into the ground. "But both of those instances were in the night, and they were when the ground had been left empty for weeks," he said. "With the coming matches being day games, we don't anticipate elephants will come to the ground at that time."

He said this was not the first occasion in which the local Wildlife Department stationed staff near the ground. "The ground is near the jungle, so we've taken these sorts of precautions a few times before. We haven't had to do it in a while only because there haven't been matches."

The first of three ODIs at Hambantota will be played on Thursday. The ground had not hosted an international match since July 2015.

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Thursday, July 06, 2017

Sri Lanka seeks World Bank assistance for elephant conservation

Sri Lanka has sought assistance from the World Bank for the conservation of its wild elephant population, an official said here on Tuesday.

Sri Lanka boasts 6,000 wild elephants. It is a major tourist attraction in the island nation.
Director General of the Wildlife Conservation Department W.S.K. Pathiratne told Xinhua that another countrywide census would be conducted at the end of the year to estimate the total number of jumbos in the wild. The last was conducted in 2011.

"We found 5789 elephants in the wild. It is a high number. It might have increased by now," he said.
Wild elephants are scattered throughout the country. But they are found mostly in the dry zone forests.

"With the increase of the number, the country also faces the increased incidence of human-elephant conflict. We have worked out a plan for the conservation of elephants while protecting human habitats as well," he said.

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Majestic tusker killed in turf war

The iconic, oldest tusker in the Yala National Park, Thilak, was killed in a tussle with another elephant named Kabila (Thani Dalaya) in Sithulpawwa last Wednesday.

As the largest tusker among some 120 tuskers in Sri Lanka, the 60-year-old Thilak was the centre of attraction for tourists who visited Yala. His massive tusks curved inwards in a cross making him well known.

Veterinary physician Dr. Ananda Dharmakeerthi said that heavy injuries to the abdomen during the attack by the other elephant may have led to Thilak’s death.

Local environmentalists say it is rare for a 20-year-old elephant to take on a tusker as big and senior as Thilak. Former Deputy Director of the Wildlife Department, Dr. Nandana Attapattu, explained that altercations among elephants emerged when they tried to dominate a particular territory.

Dr. Attapattu said as many as 10 tuskers were killed by poachers and hunters in the past.

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Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Sri Lankan baby elephant gets international attention

The elephant donated to South Korea by the Sri Lankan government in 2010 got quite a fright when her baby fell into a pool at the Grand Park Zoo in Seoul, South Korea.

The footage recorded by the zoo shows the curious one-year-old elephant – christened ‘Korilanka’ to mark the ties between Sri Lanka and Korea – getting close to the water’s edge and accidentally tumbling in.

Fortunately, the baby elephant was not actually drowning, says Joyce Poole, a National Geographic explorer and co-founder of Elephant Voices: “When elephants swim, they put their trunk out of the water and continue to breathe.”

In the video, the National Geographic reports, the baby can be seen doing this snorkeling behavior—meaning it was in no imminent danger.

Even though the family knows the baby can swim, they are still clearly alarmed it has fallen in without meaning to, as evidenced by their quickly flapping ears, says Poole.

Even the elephant in the background of the video, separated by a fence, starts rapidly pacing back and forth.

“Elephants are drama queens, especially the females. If anything kind of dramatic events happens in the family, it is cause for great excitement,” Poole explains. “It is part of the bonding process.”

The uniquely close family bonds and capacity for empathy of elephants is evident in this display. Only one of the female elephants that helps the baby is its parent, the mother. The other larger, older elephant that springs into action to help,a 36-year-old, is a bonded family member that gets just as worried about the infant as its own mother.

National Geographic points out that in the wild, the older female elephant would likely be a grandmother or aunt of the baby, but in captivity, unrelated elephants are housed together and still form close bonds.

In the video, the two bonded females are clearly close as they coordinate to help the baby out of the water and back to the safety of dry land, the National Geographic reports.

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Elephant in Sri Lankan Buddhist procession kills monk

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka –  An elephant that was part of a Sri Lankan Buddhist procession attacked and killed a monk, police said Monday.

Police spokesman Priyantha Jayakody said three elephants were walking in the procession Sunday night when one suddenly went on a rampage and attacked the monk in the coastal town of Kochchikade, about 42 kilometers (26 miles) north of Colombo. The 25-year-old monk died at a hospital early Monday.

Colorfully decorated elephants are an important part of Buddhist religious processions and festivals. Temples and wealthy families often own the animals and rent them out for such events.
However, animal rights activists say the elephants are often kept in inhumane conditions and receive insufficient food.

Authorities say there are about 127 tamed elephants that are used for processions and other religious ceremonies by Sinhalese Buddhists, who make up 70 percent of the island’s 20 million people.
Having an elephant in the backyard has long been a sign of wealth, privilege and power. For hundreds of years, elephants have been used for such religious activities and as well as for battles by ancient kings.

Sri Lanka has about 6,000 elephants, but those in the wild are threatened by habitat loss and degradation. An estimated 200 elephants are killed every year, mainly by farmers trying to protect their crops. In the 19th century there were believed to be up to 14,000 elephants.

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One Died in Elephant Attack

A resident of Dhammitha ,Arangavila area, attacked by the wild elephant while he is returning from the farm on a motorbike, and died after admitted to the hospital with severe injuries.

The incident took place at 10.30 am yesterday (13).

The victim was identified as 63-year-old, who lives in Dhammitha area. The Arangavila police are conducting further inquiries into the incident

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Longest surviving tasker in yala dies

The longest surviving tusker in the Yala National Park, fondly called “Thilak”, died last afternoon following a tussle between another elephant named “Thani Dalaya” in Sithulpawwa.

Here Wild Life Enthusiast Srilal Miththapala pays tribute to Tilak, the iconic and senior-most tusker of the Yala National Park who died yesterday

Late last afternoon telephone lines of few elephant enthusiasts were humming as the sad news of the sudden death of Tilak, the iconic, senior tusker of Yala filtered through.

Unlike his erstwhile, and notorious young‘friend’ Gemunu, Tilak never hogged the limelight. In fact Tilak was the exact antithesis to Gemunu.

Tilak’s amiable and sedate temperament allowed thousands of visitors the wonderful opportunity to observe a one of the largest tuskers in Sri Lanka, at close quarters, and his pictures are abundant, as seen on the many posts on Facebook after his death.  There is not one incident on record of any hostile interaction with this gentle animal, to my knowledge.

Tilak seemed to have been around in Yala ‘forever’ as most of us regular visitors to Yala can remember. He must have been about 55 years old and was possibly the largest and oldest tusker in the park. His massive tusks were curved inwards, the right slightly more than the left.With advancing age, Tilak has been frequently sighted in the outer periphery entrance area of the park, close to the main road, possibly because he had less competition from other elephants in this area rather than inside the park.

Due to the elephant’s mild disposition, many of us who interact and study wild elephants are intrigued about this incident.

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Sri Lanka implements a waste recycling program in wildlife zones to protect wild elephants

The Government of Sri Lanka says improper waste disposal have impacted badly on environment as well as animals, especially elephants and therefore will take measures to implement a waste recycling program in areas where wild elephants are roaming to protect them.

According to the government, about 54 waste disposing dumps are located in wild life zones and about 300 wild elephants are loitering around these dumps.

"Eating this waste has become a threat to their health," the government said in a statement.

As a solution to this problem, the Cabinet of Ministers has approved a proposal jointly put forward by the Minister of Sustainable Development and Wildlife Gamini Jayawickrama Perera and Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government Faizer Mustafa to implement a waste recycling program giving priority to such wildlife zones.

The government said local authorities would be banned from dumping solid waste in the open, and would be required to establish recycling plants and use hygienic methods of waste disposal.

The cabinet also approved erecting electric fences to prevent wild elephants from reaching the waste dumps.

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Thursday, June 08, 2017

Two elephants rescued from well in Hambantota

A female elephant and her calf who had fallen into an agricultural well in Bathalayagama, Hambantota have been rescued by officers from the Hambantota Wildlife Range Office.

After being informed of the two trapped elephants he officers used a backhoe to dig a path for the elephants to get out of the well. The operation took over an hour.

Wildlife officers believe that the two elephants had remained trapped inside the well for about two days.

They also said that the trunk of the baby elephant exhibited signs of injury. It is suspected that the elephant had been injured after getting caught in barbed wire in a trap set by hunters.

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Friday, June 02, 2017

4 individuals killed following an accident in Polonnaruwa- Bendiwewa

4 individuals were killed, after the motorcycle they were riding collided with a bus in Polonnaruwa- Bendiwewa,

Police media spokesperson  noted that the accident occurred around 12.45 this morning

It has been reported that the deceased were between the ages of 23 and 47.

It was further noted that the driver of the bus has been arrested in connection to the incident.

Meanwhile, 7 individuals including 2 children have been injured owing to a collision between a car and a wild elephant which was crossing the Habarana- Trincomalee main road.

Police stated that the wild elephant was killed in accident which occurred last night.

Amongst those injured were staff from Trincomalee hospital including a doctor.

They are currently receiving treatment at Dambulla base hospital.

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Two elephants rescued from well in Hambantota

A female elephant and her calf who had fallen into an agricultural well in Bathalayagama, Hambantota have been rescued by officers from the Hambantota Wildlife Range Office.

After being informed of the two trapped elephants he officers used a backhoe to dig a path for the elephants to get out of the well. The operation took over an hour.

Wildlife officers believe that the two elephants had remained trapped inside the well for about two days.

They also said that the trunk of the baby elephant exhibited signs of injury. It is suspected that the elephant had been injured after getting caught in barbed wire in a trap set by hunters.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Wild Elephant Attack In Anuradhapura

A Wild elephant attack took place in Galkiriyagama, Anuradhapura this morning around 7.20 am. A five year old girl, Nirupama Lakshani Marasinghe was killed and her grandmother and  one-and half year old sister were injured.

This incident happened when the three victims on their way to Nirupama’s Pre School. They were admitted to Andiyagala Hospital and unfortunately Nirupama died due to worse injuries.

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Wild elephant hit by a bus in Polonnaruwa

A wild elephant has been hit by a bus near the Manampitiya bridge in Polonnaruwa.

Police stated that the wild elephant has collided with a bus plying from Dehi-aththa-kandiya to Colombo around 3.20 AM this morning.

It is reported that the wild elephant is in a critical condition and that Wildlife officers are currently treating the injured elephant.

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Elephant calf and its mother rescued from Sri Lanka well

An elephant calf and its mother were rescued after being trapped in a well for over two days in Hambantota, Sri Lanka.

A heart warming video shows wildlife workers using a digger to help save the two distressed elephants.

The workers had to dig a path for the elephants so that they could navigate their way out of the well.

According to the wildlife team, the jumbos had remained trapped in the agricultural well for over two days.

But when Hambantota Wildlife got a call about the incident, they managed to rescue the elephants within an hour.

After making their way out of the well, the elephants made their way into the nearby forest range.

This is not the first heartwarming elephant rescue.

An elephant calf and its mother were rescued after being trapped in a well for over two days in Hambantota, Sri Lanka

In February a six-year-old female elephant was rescued after she fell 30ft into a dried-up farm well in Southern India.

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Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Sri Lankan Mission To Save Endangered Elephants

Deforestation, poaching and civil war have had a devastating impact on Sri Lanka’s elephant population. One orphanage for elephants is working to bring the species back from the brink of extinction.

SABARAGAMUWA — As the sun rises over the lush mountains in the Sri Lankan province of Sabaragamuwa, a team of veterinarians prepare very large bottles of milk. The babies, Pandula and Migara, are orphans and they are definitely hungry. Once presented their breakfast, they impatiently consume it.

The babies are two calves at the Pinnawala Elephants Orphanage.

Chandrika Priyadhashani, the research and education assistant at the orphanage, says, "They come from the wild, so we have to look after them during their lifetime. And their ages are below five."

Pandula and Migara were rescued from the Ritigala forest several years ago.

Over recent decades, massive development has seen elephant habitats in Sri Lanka shrink. Thousands of acres of thick forest have been cut down to make way for residential areas and agricultural land.

"So many wildlife animals lives were damaged, especially the elephants. They need big forests," Priyadhashani says. "So many of our elephants’ babies were orphaned."

As their habitat has been drastically reduced, elephants now wander into farms in search of food. Hundreds have been killed by people in surrounding communities because they are seen as a nuisance even though they are endangered.

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Four elephants were hoisted from a well, using ropes and a digger in a dramatic rescue.

The elephants were spotted by locals after they had fallen into a well in Kombuvaittakulam, an area in the Sri Lankan town of Omanthai.

It is believed that the two adult elephants and two calves had come to drink water from the well.

After villagers raised an alarm, a rescue team arrived at the spot to get the giant animals out from the well.

A forest official said: “First, we rescued the elephant calves with ropes as it was difficult to bring in a digger to the area.

“But when we were unable to rescue the adult elephants using ropes, we somehow managed to bring in the digger and managed to pull them out,” he added.

In the video, the frightened elephants can be seen trying to attack the digger, however, the wildlife officials blasted water bombs to chase them away.

The elephants ran towards the nearby forest after the rescue operation.

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Sri Lankan court case against gifting elephant to New Zealand shifts focus to conservation

On a writ petition filed by animal rights activists and Buddhist and Christian organisations, the Court of Appeal has stayed the export of the baby elephant “Nandi” and fixed May 26 as the next date for hearing the case.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General had appointed two committees to revise the regulations relating to the export of baby elephants to other countries. The committees are expected to give their reports before May 26.

It was in 2016, when the then New Zealand Prime Minister John Key visited Sri Lanka, that President Sirisena had announced that he would gift to New Zealand the baby elephant Nandi kept in the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. But opposition to this rose both in Sri Lanka and in New Zealand. The grounds were similar.

The New Zealand animal rights organisation SAFE said in a statement that it was “deadly opposed” to bringing another elephant into the country.

The first of many reasons for this being that transporting and caring for an elephant in captivity is extravagantly more expensive than maintaining them in the wild.

However, the most important reason is that female elephant often never leave their mothers or mother figures. Even though Nandi was orphaned, she will be brutally ripped away from her family and sold to solidify foreign relations.

'Nandi' is not the first elephant to be sent to New Zealand from Sri Lanka, as another was sold to them last year,” SAFE said.

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Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Pair of elephant tusks seized

Wildlife officials Keerthi Bandarapura and Hasalaka on Tuesday seized a pair of tusks made out of a bone of an elephant from the residence of the Basnayake Nilame of Kandy Kataragama Devalaya, Gemunu Tikri Banda Walisundera.

The wildlife officers found two tusks 2 feet and 7 inches in height and some bones from the Ganegoda Walawwa of the Basnayake Nilame at Butewatta in Thalathuoya.

Following the seizure, a furious Basnayake Nilame allegedly showed the Wildlife officials the permits he holds for tusks and told them that the two feet of tusks which had been bought from a former Basnsayake Nilame.

He asked whether he was not allowed to possess elephant bones.
Basnayake Nilame Wallisundera told the ‘Daily Mirror’ that there are unlicensed Tuskers, young and old, then there are elephant skeletons in houses without licenses.

“Why are Wildlife officials overlooking for them come after me? Is it because I am doing a ‘clean’ job at the Kandy Kataragama Devalaya?,” he asked.

He also told the ‘Daily Mirror’, that he is filing a “Rights petition” as his Human Rights had been violated by these officials.

However, it was reported that the pair of tusks had been seized since the Nilame was not in possession of a licence or any other document to keep the tusks with him. Wildlife officials said it was a punishable offence to keep tusks or bones of an elephant without a valid licence.

They said the tusks were produced in the Kandy Magistrate’s Court the previous evening and the Nilame was ordered to appear in Courts on March 27. He had been released on Wildlife bail.

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Endangered Asian Elephant Found With a Nail Hammered in Its Leg in Sri Lanka

A heart-wrenching video of an injured elephant in in agonizing pain in Sri Lanka recently emerged on social media. The male elephant reportedly collapsed in a puddle of mud near a jungle and was unable to get up.

In the touching footage, rescuers from Kottukachchiya in Sri Lanka are seen comforting the hurt elephant as it lays in the mud. Locals who responded to save the poor animal reportedly discovered that a nail was hammered on one of its legs, according to the Daily Mail.

Concerned villagers tried to ease the elephant’s condition by offering it some fruits to eat. Others cleaned its wounds by washing it with saline water.

It was not reported if poachers had caused the injury to the animal which is typically hunted down in the country for its valuable ivory tusks.

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Elephant runs on a rampage in Matara Perahera

An elephant that was participating in the annual Duruthu Perahera in Gandara Wijeyaratnarama Viharaya in Matara has gone on a rampage last night.

The incident has caused panic among the spectators.

However, several mahouts, wildlife officials and police has given anesthesia to the elephant and controlled the situation.

The angry elephant has damaged four tree-wheelers and a car, Gandara police said. It has also damaged four electricity poles and three telephone poles.

Few people were also injured when the group panicked.

It is believed that the elephant was provoked by flashing lights.

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Wildlife Department nurses polythene-ingested elephant to heath

The Giritale Wildlife Department nursed to health an elephant that was found to have consumed vast amounts of polythene.

The elephant was found lying in a swamp at Manampitiya, Nelumwila on January 29.

The Giritale Wildlife Department said the elephant was moved out of the swamp with a backhoe and treated with 30 bottles of saline.

Giritale Wildlife Department veterinary surgeon said the elephant had discharged 40 kilogrammes of polythene, after being given 40 litres of water and 3 litres of coconut oil.

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Friday, March 10, 2017

Elephant uses backside to show safari group her disapproval

An elephant in Sri Lanka showed her displeasure with a safari group's proximity to her herd by rubbing her backside against a safari vehicle.

The video, filmed by a person on a private safari earlier this year at Yala National Park, shows the elephant approach the safari vehicles after apparently becoming displeased at their proximity to her herd, which included at least one baby.

"One of the young females got a little uncomfortable with our presence near the baby and came towards the Jeeps," the filmer wrote online.

"She passed my Jeep very closely and then used her backside to push against the other (which was full of local tourists). The tour guides sprayed water at her to dissuade her from damaging their vehicle. She pressed hard against the truck and then walked away," the filmer said.

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‘Displaced’ wild elephants evicted from Hambantota Port

Officers from the Hambantota Office of Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) launched an operation on Monday evening to evict a herd of wild elephants that had entered the premises of the Hambantota Magampura Port.

The operation lasted from 5.30pm to about 9.00pm and DWC officers were able to chase away some 15 elephants who had made their way into the port.

Officials from the China Harbor Engineering Corporation had told the DWC that about 40 wild elephants were roaming around the port premises and were causing damage to property on a daily basis.

Environmentalists however, point out that the main reason for such incidents is the continued reluctance on the part of officials to declare a separate reserve for wild elephants in the Hambantota region who have become displaced due to the construction of the Magampura Port and the Mattala Airport. They note that the former regime ignored the recommendation to declare an elephant reserve despite it being explicitly stated in the Enviornmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) of the two projects. The tragedy is that the present Government is adopting the same approach as the former, they notee. This has resulted in about 350 wild elephants in the region being evicted from their natural habit which has been taken over for development work.

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Friday, March 03, 2017

Cabinet approves hike in compensation for victims of elephant attacks

The Cabinet of Ministers has recently approved the increase of compensations paid for damages caused by wild elephant attacks on individuals and properties.

Accordingly, amending the amounts further, the proposal made by Minister of Sustainable Development and Wildlife Gamini Jayawickrama Perera, to increase the compensation paid for human deaths and permanent disabilities from Rs. 200,000/- to Rs. 500,000/-, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.

During the past 12 years, an estimated 1,464 elephants have been killed, while 672 persons have lost their lives in elephant attacks.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

11 hour operation to detach trunk from tusk

A tusker whose trunk had gotten stuck inside one of its tusks, rendering it unable to intake food for two days, was rescued by veterinary surgeons of the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC). The elephant, a 25-year-old tusker by the name of 'Nandimitra,' is known to frequent the area of the Sithulpawwa Rajamaha Viharaya.

After receiving information that the tusker's trunk had been stuck inside one of its tusks, wildlife officers launched a two day search operation to locate the animal. They were finally able to locate 'Nandimitra' last evening. The trunk was finally detached from the tusk after an operation lasting 11 hours.

DWC officials say Nandimitra had attacked and damaged about 107 vehicles along the Sithulpawwa road, mainly due to pilgrims trying to feed the tusker.

According to the most recent DWC census conducted in 2011, there are just 120 tuskers left in the wild.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Bee keeping to prevent elephants encroaching villages in Hambantota

Hambantota District Secretary W.H. Karunarathna says that steps have been taken to set up bee colonies along the borders of forests to minimize wild elephants encroaching to villages in the district.

He said this project could help prevent wild elephant rampage in vulnerable villages to a certain extent.

Plans are afoot to set up bee colonies in Sooriyawewa as the village is constantly attacked by wild elephants.

District Secretary said this project will be expanded to other vulnerable areas later.

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Speeding truck kills elephant in Kenyan capital

A vehicle passes by a wild elephant on Colombo-Trincomalee road of Sri Lanka, April 4, 2016. (Xinhua/Gayan Sameera)

NAIROBI, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- A speeding truck hit and killed an elephant along a highway in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Friday, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said.

KWS said the adult female elephant died from the accident along Nairobi-Mombasa highway in the early morning.

"KWS is saddened that in the early hours of this morning, an elephant died arising from a hit by a canter lorry at Kanga station area of the park along Mombasa-Nairobi highway," the organization said in a statement.

The statement said the three people travelling in the lorry were reported to have sustained minor injuries while the lorry heading for the port city of Mombasa had some damage.
The carcass of the animal has been removed from the road and the tusks have been recovered by the KWS for safe custody.

Police and the KWS have launched investigations into the incident.

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Sri Lankan elephant Kaavan donated to Pakistan affected by chill weather

The Dawn newspaper published in Pakistan reported that the elephant ‘Kaavan’ donated by Sri Lanka to Islamabad Zoo has been affected by the chilled weather developing in the winter.

The newspaper pointed out that the zoo authorities have not arranged a suitable environment for the elephant to spend winter.

It also reported that the mahout has failed to take control of the elephant.

Kaavan’s mate Saheli died in Marghzar zoo in 2012 and the death of the cow elephant drawn attention of wild life enthusiasts worldwide.

The newspapers further stated that requests have been made to zoo authorities to shift the elephant to suitable zoo and appoint a qualified mahout to look after it.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Sri Lanka bans use of young elephants for work

Colombo - Sri Lanka unveiled tougher laws Wednesday, including a ban on using young elephants for logging and other physical work, as part of a crackdown on cruelty to domesticated wild animals.

Wildlife Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera said the cabinet approved new regulations imposing tough conditions on owners of elephants, which are considered sacred by Buddhists in Sri Lanka.

The animals are also legally protected but are often subjected to cruel treatment by some owners.

Under the new regulations seen by AFP, owners are banned from using working elephants below the age of 10 years while those under five years cannot be used in parades, even at religious festivals.

There are 41 new conditions aimed at ensuring minimum standards of care, including the daily diet that should include fresh fruit in addition to leaves and vegetables.

Owners must also take their elephants for daily walks of not less than five kilometres and the animals must be allowed two and a half hours for bathing.

The minister is also seeking to regulate the use of elephants in movie productions.
Baby elephants stolen

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Sri Lanka Cracks Down on Owners of Elephants Taken From Wild

Capturing wild elephants has been banned for decades here. Registration records indicate there should be only 127 elephants in captivity, most of them older. Yet they are a staple of the South Asian island nation's 400 or so yearly processions - traditional ceremonies honoring a marriage, calling for peace or praying for rain - and in each there are always a few young elephants clumsily cantering to keep up.

"In Sri Lanka, people measure the success of the processions by the number of elephants," said the Rev. Magalkande Sudantha, a Buddhist monk.

Despite concerns that the animals may be abused, spectators always expect a parade of elephants wearing jangling ornaments, and babies are a special attraction.

"There is no beauty in processions without elephants," said Janaka Alwis, a 48-year-old city council employee in Gampaha, north of Colombo. "People go to watch because of the elephants, and to count them.

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Saturday, November 05, 2016

Wild elephants invade Ampara villages

Wild elephants damages are increasing in villages in Ampara.

It has been brought to the notice of the officials that wild elephants have found their way interior to the villages of Irakkamam, Ampara, Valathapiddy, Kuduvil, Dheegawappi, Nintavur, Pottuvil, Akkaraipattu, Addalaichenai, Kalmunai. The elephants have damaged paddy fields and other crops, home gardens.

The elephants enter villages and consume paddy stocks and household goods. Some elephants have entered Sambunagar and Meelath Nagar in the Addalaichenai Divisional Secretariat Division.(Daily News)

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800 km long electric fence around villages to keep wild elephants away

Colombo: Sri Lankan government has decided to build another 800 kilometers of electrical fence to prevent elephants from entering into villages.

According to the government, about 60-80 human lives and lives of more than 200 wild elephants are lost annually due to human -elephant and cost-effective electric fencing has been identified as the only viable solution and most productive measure to control this long-standing conflict in the country. -

About 3300 km long fences have been constructed so far in this regard. Construction of 275 km of fences are under way for 2016.

It has been planned to erect 800 km long fences in 2017 in seven wildlife zones according to a proposal made by Minister of Sustainable Development and Wildlife Gamini Jayawickrama Perera, and the Cabinet of ministers has granted approval to purchase required material for the project.

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Ailing elephant gives birth to male calf in Tamil Nadu

NK Tamil Nadu, Chennai , Oct. 25 : An ailing 45-year-old female elephant gave birth to a male calf in Tamil Nadu's Coimbatore city on Monday.

Forest officials and veterinarians were catering to the animal ever since she was spotted by villagers lying on a ground near a temple last Tuesday.

The animal's condition was not very encouraging as she kept lying on her side. In their bid to revive her, the doctors gave her vitamins and food to which it responded positively.

Later, she was shifted to the Chadivayal elephant camp for proper treatment.

Veterinarian Manoharan said the pachyderm had a normal delivery.

"Today morning around 4:30 a m, she delivered a male baby in lying posture, normal delivery. So probably, the strength, vitamins, minerals, all the support which we gave, gave her the strength to deliver a normal baby. So, now the mother is taking care," said Manoharan.

Manoharan added that they were checking on her health and giving her treatment.

It is believed that the elephant may have strayed from her herd.

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Baby elephant found tied to tree in Hambegamuwa

Residents and wildlife officials have released a baby elephant that was tied to a tree in Hambegamuwa area.

Residents who saw this elephant has informed the wildlife officials in the area.

It is believed that the baby elephant was to be transported to another place at night.

Police has commenced an investigation into the incident.

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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Gal-Oya residents reach out to Gammadda as elephants continue to wander

News 1st , which keeps it word and fulfills it promises to the people, visited the Gal-Oya Settlementon Friday.

News1st made a promise that the Gammadda 100 Day Initiative would look into the issue in Gal-Oya Settlement, which has been neglected by authorities over the years.

Upon arrival at the village this morning we heard of the tragic story.It has become a common sight in the area to see houses that were constructed to ensure the safety of it’s residents, being destroyed like mere toys.. The lone elephant, that was terrorising the area for days destroyed this house today, taking away their only assets, the harvested paddy.

The tussle with wild elephants has become a regular activity in the lives of these people, as the fence that was set up to protect them is malfunctioning.Not a single house had been spared by  wild elephants in this village. Similarly, not a single fruit tree too had been spared.

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Elephant rushes into river to save drowning man

A short video out of Chaing Mai, Thailand showing an adorable young elephant "rescuing" a man in a river has gone viral after it was posted to Youtube.

Darrick Thompson, co-founder of the Save Elephant Foundation, was going for a dip in a river, and Kham Lha, one of the foundation's rescued baby elephants, was standing on the shore.

She mistook him calling out to her from the water as a cry for help and charged into the water to save him by offering her trunk.

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Sunday, October 09, 2016

Killing an elephant in Sri Lanka carries the death penalty

The Sri Lankan elephant population has fallen almost 65% since the turn of the 19th century. Today, the Sri Lanka elephant is protected under the Sri Lankan law and killing one carries the death penalty.

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Saturday, October 08, 2016

2 killed by wild elephants in Galgamuwa and Thanthirimale

Six deaths have been reported due to various accidents that occurred in several parts of the island.

Reports indicated that the deaths have been caused by wild elephant attacks, motor accidents and drowning.

A 27 year old woman was killed early this morning at Kudagama area in Thanthirimale after being attacked by a wild elephant.

The two children of the victim, aged seven and three, were also admitted to the hospital in critical condition.

Reports indicated that the incident occurred after the wild elephant invaded a vegetable cultivation near the residence of the victim.

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Relocating elephants fails to decrease human–wildlife conflict

Human-elephant conflict in Sri Lanka kills more than 70 humans and 200 Asian elephants every year. One of the most common tools in combating these conflicts is moving the elephants into ranges away from humans, often into national parks. This is done in hopes of avoiding problems that include elephants raiding crops, breaking into homes and injuring or killing people. But according to a new study to be published Dec. 7 in PLOS ONE by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, the Centre for Conservation and Research in Sri Lanka and the Department of Wildlife Conservation Sri Lanka, moving problem elephants can actually lead to more conflict and more deaths of both humans and elephants.

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Lost in captivity

The baby elephant at the resort hotel in Bentota on July 13 was present to welcome guests. An animal lover visiting the hotel was aghast. For here was an animal that should still be in the wild or in a safe haven, instead entertaining tourists. But thankfully Sanju (as the animal’s current owner calls him) is no longer at work. No longer there: Baby Sanju at the hotel Bentota Beach Hotel General Manager Sanjeewa Perera said Sanju is about six years old and this was confirmed by Sanju’s current owner. The hotel had an elephant as a tourist attraction for about 30 years, usually leased, he said. To read this article in full, please click on the link at the top.

New measures to protect Pinnawala elephants

The death of a young elephant due to the cruelty of four workers at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage has prompted authorities to introduce measures to ensure safety of the pachyderms. Among the new measures will be the installation of closed-circuit TV cameras that will monitor how elephants are looked after at the orphanage, a world famous tourist attraction.
Other measures, according to outgoing National Zoological Gardens Director Bashwara Gunaratne, include training for mahouts on the latest methods in animal care.

To read this story in full, please click on the link at the top.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Wild jumbos run amok in new habitats

Daily News
May 6, 2009

Wild elephants, that lived in the Buttala, Kataragama and Wellawaya areas in the Pahala Uva region of the Monaragala district have come to the forests off Ambarangala, Koslanda, Makaldeniya, Puunaagala and Seeriyabedda in the Haldummulla Divisional Secretariat of the Badulla district, say the Haldummulla public.

These jumbos have become a menace to the peasants of the villages in and around these forests.

Against this background, peasants in these villages have to live in fear of the wild elephants. Some of these elephants have dared to come to the villages even during the day time.

Occasionally, wild elephants could be seen in the town of Koslanda too, the Haldummulla public states.

Wild elephants in school playground

Palitha Ariyawansa, Daily Mirror
May 5, 2009

The school children, of the jungle area of Kandeketiya, got a surprise when they saw four wild jumbos frolicking in the school playground.
The elephants, noticing the children, had stopped playing and started running towards them. The frightened children ran helter-skelter and some ended up getting into a bus parked near the school and had stopped only after creeping under the seats.
According to the Divisional Secretary Gamini Mahindapala Jopeas, the children could come into the school only after the teachers and the elders of the village had managed to chase the elephants.

Why do elephants come back home?

Kumudini Hettiarachchi, Sunday Times

April 5, 2009
Human settlements have expanded and forests have been cleared, invariably leading to conflicts not only with elephants but other wild animals as well. As soon as there is a human-elephant conflict in some area, the traditional answer has been to “translocate” the elephant, uprooting it from its habitat and placing it in a new environment, with the expectation that it would settle down there and not cause conflict.

But is this the best answer, looking at it from both the human and elephant points of view? This is what the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC) is trying to find out, after several instances where elephants translocated many km away have come back to their very own “gama” or home, like humans who keep going back to their ancestral villages.

Such “homecomings” have been easy to detect in recent times because some of the elephants have been “collared” by the DWLC in collaboration with the Centre for Conservation and Research.
The latest “walkabout”, however, has been by an elephant which is easily identifiable even without a radio collar as it is a majestic one-tusked adult male.

Tranquillized and captured in the Ehetuwewa divisional area in Galgamuwa on February 14 due to complaints by villagers that the elephant was creating trouble, it had been released at the Somawathiya National Park at midnight on February 15/16, 93.4 km. away in a direct line.

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Tussle over tusks

Wildlife conservationists raise concern over an Environment Ministry
decision to give away tusks collected at the Wildlife Conservation
Malaka Rodrigo, The Sunday Times
April 19, 2009

During a voyage to Serendib, Sinbad the Sailor is said to have
discovered an ancient elephant graveyard, full of elephant tusks. That
maybe fictitious, but the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC)’s
store today resembles a modern elephant graveyard as all the tusks
belonging to elephants who die in the wild are kept here.

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Human-elephant conflict intense

Sri Lanka Daily News
April 20, 2009

Wild elephants infiltrating from Lunugamvehera National Park to Kataragama area is frequently resulting in human-elephant conflicts.

The Lunugamvehera National Park authorities say this is due to damaged section of the electricity fence at Wilamba Wewa area where there is a conflict between the authorities and farmers over a tank a paddy fields inside the national park.

The farmers claim the ownership of the lands while the authorities say that they cannot be released to farmer as these lands are within the national park.

Because of this reason heavy elephant tolls have been reported to the wildlife authorities.