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 Post subject: 36 jumbos die in first quarter 2006
 Post Posted: Sun Jun 25, 2006 9:45 pm 
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36 jumbos die in first quarter

By Vidya Amaranayaka
@ TN / 25 June 2006

An alarming 36 elephants have perished during the first quarter of 2006 and according to Wildlife Conservation Department (DWLC) this is very disturbing when compared to last years’ total of 117 elephant deaths.

According to the Wild Life Department the average number of elephant deaths for a year is about 150-160. This includes all the elephants that die due to various reasons; gun shots, trap guns, electrocution, train accidents and falling into agricultural wells. “The last years’ figure sees a reduction on the average number. However, 36 for the first quarter of this year is alarming,” a department spokesman said.

Wildlife Conservation Society Secretary Shelton Siriwardene said that pachyderm deaths are caused mainly due to human encroachment on wildlife reserves which result in elephants being driven out of their habitats. To fetch food the elephants move to agricultural lands and the farmers to protect their produce shoot them, he said.

According to a recent elephant census the total number of elephants living in Sri Lankan wilds is about 3500 to 4000 and this is excluding the domesticated elephants including temple and kovil elephants.

The most number of deaths are reported from the North Western region including the districts of Puttlam, Anuradhapura and Kurunegala. It is into this region that Wilpattu, the oldest and the largest Nature Park in the country falls.

According to Wildlife Department sources one of the main reasons for the increase of elephant deaths this year is the renewed violent terrorist and military activities within that region.

During the pre-ceasefire period extensive LTTE and Army activities took place within the park. This is one of the reasons that made the elephants to abandon the park because violent activities affect the behaviour patterns of elephants. As a result, herds of elephants started moving towards South where there are human habitats and cultivation areas.

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