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DateLine Friday, 16 January 2009

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Two thousand jumbo deaths from 1990 to 2007

A Wildlife Conservation Department survey has revealed that 2,241 elephants have died as a result of shooting, unknown reasons, electrocution, poisoning, accidents and natural and other causes from 1990 to 2007.

The current elephant population is estimated at 3,500-4,000 and a gradual increase has been witnessed in Mahaweli and Wayamba regions during the last four decades.

According to the survey, 100 elephants have died due to natural causes from 1990 to 2007 and a certain number of elephants that have died due to natural reasons should be included in the number that have died as a result of unknown causes.

"We have taken certain measures to avoid elephant deaths," he said.

"The Gajamituro program has been initiated with the involvement of all stakeholders of the human-elephant conflict in collaboration with the Nation Building Ministry," a spokesman said.

Meanwhile, the Government has allocated Rs. 300 million through the 2009 budget to construct a 200 km electrified fence. A 120 km electrified fence has already been reconstructed while the 130 km. electrified fence is still to be constructed.

Arrangements have also been made to implement the Fauna and Flora Act strictly to protect elephants.

The reconstruction work of the Lunugamwehera National Sanctuary with an elephant orphanage has also been completed.

"Work on the Ritigala elephant rehabilitation centre and the orphanage are expected to be completed this year," the spokesman said.

He said 866 lives have been lost as a result of the human-elephant crisis between 1992 to 2007 while 3,103 properties including houses and furniture have been damaged between 2004 to 2007.

 

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