Over 989 people and 3,649 wild elephants and tuskers have died in the country from 2016 to 2020, according to the annual Audit Report 2021 of the National Audit Secretariat.
Around 845 civil security officers had been deployed to drive away wild elephants and the Government spent Rs 427 million as salaries and allowances for the purpose.
Over Rs. 1.64 billion had been spent from public funds as capital expenditure to erect electric fences to prevent wild elephants entering human settlements and cultivations during the past 10 years. About 3,300 civil security officers had been deployed to maintain the fences. During the past five years, Rs. 1.16 billion had been spent by the Government on salaries and allowances for these officers, the report added.
Kurunegala district Senior Divisional Secretary R.M. Jayaratne told a meeting of Grama Niladharies of the Kurunegala district recently that as a result of deforestation for human settlements and economic development, the habitats for wild elephants are vanishing fast nowadays.
During ancient times, wild elephants had enough forests for them to feed on and live freely.
He said in the good old days there was no need for wild elephants to invade villages and cultivations. Since they lack habitats and food due to the limited forests nowadays, wild elephants are compelled to roam about in human settlements and crop cultivations in search of food and water and are shot and killed by farmers and other groups using various devices.
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