In response to the poisoning of “seven jumbos,” left to die by villagers in yet another occurrence of human elephant conflict, the Sri Lankan government has “announced harsher penalties” for those breaking laws designed to protect elephants in this island country.
Tougher sanctions, promised by John Amaratunga who is the Wildlife and Tourism Minister of Sri Lanka include the following:
- Additional jail time and increased fines will be imposed for those “found to have been cruel to the beasts”
- Offenders will be subject to more stringent investigations as authorities “will be given wider powers to investigate” them.
Despite the fact that elephants remain a “protected animal” in Sri Lanka the government has yet to implement laws that were “enacted three years ago” to save the endangered species, sending more elephants needlessly to their deaths.
The Sri Lankan government has vowed to set aside land (500 acres) as a designated elephant sanctuary providing refuge for at least 47 captive Sri Lankan elephants who were illegally taken by their owners from “national wildlife parks”. Most of these owners have been holding the pachyderms more as a show of their riches as it is en vogue having an elephant as a family pet. Sadly, these elephants are more likely to suffer abuse than not.
Statistics in Sri Lanka show that so far in 2019 (January – September) human elephant conflict has resulted in the deaths of 293 elephants while 93 humans lost their lives. In 2018 319 elephants were killed by villagers & 96 humans were attacked and killed by marauding elephants.
As farmers continue to encroach on land (in these cases land adjacent to or actually in a wildlife sanctuary) whose paths were former (and to the elephants continue to be their) elephant corridors this tragedy will continue. Especially those farmers & villagers not committed to using alternative methods of preventing crop raiding elephants from destroying not only their commodities but ultimately their taking their lives.
There has got to be peace, for the villagers and for our elephants.
Resource: and for more photos see: “Tougher penalties to protect Sri Lanka elephants after mass deaths” by AFP at MailOnline, The Daily Mail therefore, all quotations not linked were sourced from The Daily Mail
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Images: All CC Flickr of similar Sri Lankan elephants: by Asoka G M Sri Lankan elephant family huddling together; by Wanaku 2 unique Sri Lankan elephants in tall grass