Nearly 50 elephants died in the first half of the year in Sri Lanka

At least 49 elephants have died in the first six months of this year in the Polonnaruwa district of eastern Sri Lanka as a result of illegal human activities.

The Polonnaruwa District Wildlife Department has said that between January 1 and June 30, 2022 a total of 49 elephants have died in that district, and in addition, 17 people have also died from human-elephant encounters, ‘The Island’ media has reported.

Compared to the same period in 2021, deaths have increased significantly, due to 36 elephant deaths and nine human deaths (13 and 8 fewer deaths respectively). These figures represent an increase in recorded fatalities of more than 65 percent in one year.

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“In Sri Lanka, 70 percent of elephant ranges are outside protected areas and therefore these are the spaces where human-elephant encounters become hostile and problematic,” officials from the department in charge have explained, in statements picked up by the aforementioned newspaper.

According to records, the department has indicated that most of the elephant deaths occurred due to illegal and unauthorized human activities.

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