Alledged Increase in the Number of Wild Elephants? An Intent to Kill?

On September 16, 2022, a leading newspaper carried an article CITING the Minister of Agriculture, Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation as alleging that the wild elephant population in Sri Lanka had ‘topped 7,000’. Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) officials and elephant researchers immediately issued statements de-bunking this assertion based on the following facts (as stated in the media report):

The only known comprehensive National Wild Elephant Survey in Sri Lanka was undertaken in 2011 and came up with a figure of 5,869.

There have been 1,683 recorded wild elephant deaths in the past five (5) years, on average 337 elephants a year. In 2018, the number exceeded 300 for the first time, and in 2019 this figure ‘topped’ 400.

According to the Centre for Conservation and Research (CCR), there was a 31% increase in deaths compared to those recorded in the decade previous to this, and 92% compared to two decades ago.

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