Pilot project to conserve elephants
COLOMBO: The Environment and Natural Resources Ministry has stepped
up action to implement a pilot project to arrest the human-elephant
conflict in Yala and Lunugamwehera through its recently established
Elephant Conservation Trust Fund.
Environment and Natural Resources Minister Champika Ranawaka said
yesterday that bureaucratic red tape had been overcome to carry out the
The Government has decided to allocate Rs. 100 million to the fund
from the Treasury to be returned once sufficient funds are generated
into the Trust Fund by the Ministry.
Ranawaka said: "Moves will be made to enhance the elephant habitat
under the project with interventions based on elephant behavioral
patterns at the Yala National Park and Lunugamwehera forest reserve."
He explained that they will do so by restoring tanks in the park and
through range reduction by fencing.
"The project also focuses on habitat clearing in areas where elephant
movements are seen on a large scale," he said.
The Minister said they would also introduce effective Park Management
Systems. The number of park wardens will be increased at the Yala
National Park, he said.
Environment and Natural Resources Ministry sources said they were
contemplating the possibility of using eco-tourism as a means to
conserve 'elephant ecology'.
Ranawaka said: "We plan to get 10 per cent from the Tourist Board
Cess on the grounds that most tourists visit our National Parks. We want
this money so that we could make use of it for our elephant conservation
Sri Lanka's wild elephant population is estimated at 2,000. These
jumbos are under severe strain due to the human -elephant conflict which
cause 100 elephant deaths every year.