Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Wildlife Conservation, on Monday said that the cabinet has agreed to recruit civil defense in areas worst affected by the long standing conflict between humans and elephants to minimise the number of deaths.
The ministry officials noted that about 2,500 civil defense personnel would be recruited in areas populated by humans/elephants, and steps would also be taken to build strong elephant fences with Chinese aid to remedy the situation.
In addition, every eight officers from the civil defense force would be given five firearms each to scare away the elephants to avoid encroachment on human residences.
According to the Centre for Environment and Nature Studies, Sri Lanka faced the highest number of elephant deaths in the country’s history in 2019 with 361 animals killed.
“Over 100 people were also killed in the longstanding human-elephant conflict,“ the ministry said.
However, the ministry urged the Sri Lankan Government to take immediate steps to control the situation to minimize the elephant deaths and protect the majestic animals.
Killing wild elephants in Sri Lanka is an offence punishable by death, but there have been regular reports of angry villagers poisoning or shooting them.
Official records show the population of wild elephants in Sri Lanka is estimated at 7,500.