Deaths increasing due to human, elephant conflict | Daily News

Deaths increasing due to human, elephant conflict

Last year marked the highest number of human and elephant deaths due to the human-elephant conflict compared to statistics since 2012, the annual report of the Wildlife Conservation Department 2016 indicated.

According to the report tabled in Parliament last week, 279 elephant deaths had been reported in the island last year, while 88 people including 11 females and four children died due to elephant attacks. Compared to 2015, the number of elephant deaths had increased by 74 and the number of human deaths had increased by 25.

Gunfire had been the cause of death of 52 elephants. A total of 47 elephants died due to ‘hakka patas’, 26 due to electrocution, six due to poisoning, 12 due to train accidents and 17 due to other accidents. The cause of death of 54 elephants is unknown while 35 elephants died due to natural causes.

The highest number of elephant attacks on humans was reported in Polonnaruwa, Eastern and Anuradhapura wildlife regions. Seventy eight people were injured due to elephant attacks last year compared to 52 in 2015. In 2016, a total of 1,320 incidents of property damages had been reported due to elephant encroachment.

In addition to distributing Thunder Flare and Serpent Flare, two types of specially designed crackers were distributed to chase away the wild animals. The Department erected 287 km of new electric fences in 2016 in an attempt to mitigate elephant depredations in agricultural and plantation areas.

The department had paid a sum of Rs 8.8 million as compensation for human deaths, Rs. 1 million as compensation for injuries and Rs. 22.2 million as compensation for property damages in 2016. It had also spent Rs. 4.4 million for capture and translocation of 16 elephants. 

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