Aug 05, 2017

Sleepless nights for A'pura villagers due to wild elephants Featured

Due to the prevailing drought, wild elephants are entering villages in search of water, greatly endangering the lives of villagers in six villages.

The six villages in the Palagala DS division in the Anuradhapura district are constantly in danger of wild elephants and the villagers spend sleepless nights in fear of being attacked.  

The affected villages are Palagala, Mirihampitiya, Kirindiwatte, Galkiriyagama, Dennawa and Uduruwa.

 Due to all small tanks drying up and trees nd plans too drying up leaving no food for wild life, the elephants in the Kahagalla forest reserve are entering the villages in search of food and water.

 The villagers charge that among these wild elephants there is a very vicious elephant and he consumes even the water that is collected by the villagers in barrels and destroys their crops as well.

Some of the villagers who have encountered this wild elephant have narrowly escaped being attacked by this ferocious beast.

 At one point the wildlife officials had set up camp in order to capture the beast, due to an order by a wildlife Minister, they had to chase off the wild elephant and abandon the attempt to capture it, infuriating the villagers. 

 As the residents spend endless sleepless nights, the instances where the children have been unable to attend school are plenty.

 When we visited the village it was revealed to us that water is only provided to the villagers during a few hours at night, due to the scarcity of water.

 Hence these villagers are enduring untold hardships due to the lack of water.

Although the wildlife officials are engaged in chasing off wild elephants during evening operations, they have been unable to prevent the elephants entering the villages at night.

 If solutions to this issue are not found soon, not only the lives of the villages, but even the lives of the elephants could be in jeopardy.

When contacted for a comment on this issue, the Head of the Galkiriyagama Wildlife Office, Donald Ramasinghe said the complaints of the villagers is true, adding the wildlife officers too are working tirelessly round the clock to protect the lives of the people as well as the wild elephants.

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