Converting Conflict into Coexistence Between Humans and Elephants

The situation of Asian elephants, Sri Lankan elephants in particular, is critical due to the increase in human-elephant conflicts.

Even before the current economic crisis, Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC) victims were in a vicious circle of poverty as recurrent HEC consequences destroyed their farmlands and livelihoods for which they have not received compensation. Resolving this issue was not integrated with protecting the rights of the victims, who have not been consulted in decision making processes. The tentative actions on HEC were limited to ineffective and temporary methods such as expanding electric fences and other traditional ways of chasing away wild elephants. This is where the notion of environmental justice comes to light – why do only HEC victims have to bear the consequences of HEC and, at the same time, make efforts to protect the elephant populations for the benefit of future generations? Regardless of failed and inconsiderate efforts by the government on HEC, the headcount of elephant and human deaths is increasing because the solutions have not followed the human rights principles of participation, accountability, non-discrimination and equality and empowerment and legality.

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