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WILD ELEPHANTS IN SRI LANKA.Giant animals like elephants can be regarded as an asset to a country. But there is a limited number of elephants in our forest reserves today. Wild elephants are faced with the dangerous threat of extinction. This situation has been arisen due to several reasons.
During the past few decades a large forest cover was cleared for development purposes, farming and human settlement. Under this situation elephants lost their natural habitat. As a result of this elephants resorted to raiding plantations for food, sometimes causing human deaths. According to the statistics of the Wild Life conservation department, nearly 75 – 100 elephants are killed in our country every year. Also nearly 25 – 35 people are killed by elephants every year. This is a very sad state of affairs.
The government should find ways and means to solve this man – elephant conflict. Particularly, during the drought season elephants rampage in village in search of water. Sometimes they damage house too.

When the Cultivation and houses are damaged by wild elephants, farmers compel to kill elephants. Some people kill elephants for their valuable tusks. Even their hair and skin are used to produce various items.

The wild life department alone cannot rescue elephants from danger. All the voluntary organizations should extend their co – operation towards the department to make their effort a success. Although the government has passed laws to stop hunters from killing wild elephants, they do not seen to have been effective.
When we go through the newspapers, we can see reports on killing of wild elephants in somewhere in Sri Lanka almost everyday. It is a heart rending scene to see the pictures of dead elephants published in them.
What can we do to stop this destruction? The government should take steps to prevent people from encroaching into areas where elephants live in large numbers. These areas have to be protected and stern should be taken against those who hunt elephants. As citizens of Sri Lanka we too should assist the government in this connection. Re – a forestation schemes should be introduced to ensure that they have enough foot and water. More elephant orphanages should be set up in such reserves to enable the elephants to live in security. Another way to preserve elephants in the country is to create more public awareness of their fate through the print and Electronic media.
Most of the tourists, both local and foreign are attracted by our sanctuaries where there are herds of wild elephants. It is the bounden duty of everyone to protect these animals.
Statistics of the Department of wild life reveal that the total number of wild elephants in Sri Lanka today is between 3 000 and 3 500. Statistics also reveal that the elephant extinct rate per week is three together with one human demise. Let’s protect our wild elephants.


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