‘Electric fencing inadequate to solve problem’ | Daily News
Human–elephant conflict

‘Electric fencing inadequate to solve problem’

A special plan is being drawn up by the Wildlife Department in collaboration with the Science and Technology Ministry to find a sustainable solution to the human–elephant conflict that has been dragging on for many years without a solution.

As a first step, the officials had selected Kasikote in the Kurunegala district and Karuwalagaswewa and Mahakumbukkadawala in the Puttalam district as pilot villages to gather views of the villagers on this issue.

On their field trip to the villages, residents had pointed out that the eviction of elephants from their natural habitat, the fragmentation of their territory and the use of that territory for development work and for illegal activities were the root causes for this conflict.

Strengthening and maintaining the existing electric fences, digging ditches near the electric fences, re-commencing the work on Galgamuwa electric fence that has come to a standstill were among the proposals put forward by the villagers.

Professor Saman Senaweera, Director, Institute of Preliminary Studies of the Science and Technology Ministry, Sisira De Silva, Assistant Director (Elephant conservation), Shantha Weerasinghe, Kurunegala Assistant Wildlife Director, Eranda Gamage, Puttalama Assistant Wildlife Director and officers of the Civil Defence Department had joined this field trip.

The Civil Defence officers who are responsible for the maintenance of the electric fences expressed the difficulties faced by them in performing their duties. They said that the quantity of fuel granted to them is not at all sufficient.

Professor Senaweera said that it is expected to submit a report based on the public views to the government. “We are well aware that this conflict cannot be solved only by erecting electric fences. We could identify several shortcomings on the electric fences through the views of the people. All state institutions should get together and make a team effort to find a sustainable solution,” he said.