Today (12) marks World Elephant Day.
The 12th of August was first designated as World Elephant Day in 2012 with the aim of preserving the world’s wild elephants.
The theme of this year’s World Elephant Day is ‘Prehistoric Beauty, Theological Relevance and Environmental Importance’.
Human encroachment of wild elephant habitats, and disregarding environmental assessments, has displaced both wild elephants and humans.
Minister of Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation Mahinda Amaraweera has stated that he will rethink the issuance of land for development projects in the future adding strict decisions will be taken to refrain from allocating land where wild elephants’ roam.
Minister Amaraweera also proposed to remove elephants from the list of animals that damage crops, as the elephant is an animal of national importance including a tourist attraction.
According to the last wild elephant census carried out in 2011, the wild elephant population in Sri Lanka is 5,879.
3,285 elephants are adults with 122 tuskers.
Both humans and elephants are killed annually in the elephant-human conflict in Sri Lanka, while the number of humans killed in wild elephant attacks between 2010 and August 2022 stands at 1,137.
The Department of Wildlife Conservation has disbursed Rs.906.41 million as compensation for the lives lost.