We need convert elephants from economic liability to an economic asset: Dr. Sumith Pilapitiya
Sri Lanka recently set a record for the highest annual number of elephant deaths and the second highest number of human deaths as a result of the Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC). Even though this has been a topic that resurfaces from time to time, elephant conservationists believe that successive governments have tried to address this issue from a human-centric manner.
In addition, decisions to revoke forest lands circulars to give way for commercial purposes, development projects taking place sans Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA), fragmenting habitats, diminishing forest cover and encroachments into wildlife habitats are some of the key catalysts that would aggravate HEC in time to come.
Therefore community-based interventions have been recommended and pilot tested in several areas of the country to control the issue. In a candid interview with the Daily Mirror, eminent wildlife researcher and former Director General at the Wildlife Conservation Department Dr. Sumith Pilapitiya shed light on the newer threats and challenges that would aggravate HEC, recommendations to identify elephant ranges and how development and ecosystem services should go hand-in-glove.
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