‘The Gathering’ is in peril, warns wildlife expert

Pointing out that human-induced, ‘unseasonal’ fluctuating water levels of the Minneriya tank in the dry season was having a direct impact on the number of elephants at this annual spectacle, Former DWC Director-General Dr. Sumith Pilapitiya pleads for a national policy to redress the issue.

Great danger stares the ‘Elephant Gathering’ at Minneriya in the face and requires urgent national level action before disaster ensues and plugs shut this valuable foreign-exchange earner.

An ‘early’ warning comes from a top researcher who has been studying elephant behaviour not only at the 8,800-hectare Minneriya National Park but also the Kaudulla National Park.

The numbers at ‘The Gathering’ have been dropping in the last few years from more than 400 wild elephants to fewer than 200 in September, stresses the former Director-General of the Department of Wlidlife Conservation (DWC), Dr. Sumith Pilapitiya who has been watching and recording the ‘signals, gestures and behaviour’ of these majestic animals since 2016.

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