360 elephants, 100 people killed in human-elephant conflict in Sri Lanka this year

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COLOMBO, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka's Wildlife Department said Wednesday said that till mid December this year, 360 elephants and 100 people had been killed in the longstanding human-elephant conflict in the country.

Wildlife Department officials, quoted in local media reports said the Wildlife Department in collaboration with the government was attempting to minimize the human-elephant conflict by putting up fences around elephant habitats to prevent them from entering human habitats.

Officials said several other measures were also underway to minimize the number of deaths which had reached a very high number this year.

The latest in the number of tragic deaths was reported last Sunday when an officer from the Wildlife Department was killed by an elephant in Matale, in southern Sri Lanka, police said.

The victim, Maithri Madushan, was killed by a jumbo while on duty in the forest reserve, the police added.

Sri Lanka has also warned of strict legal action on anyone who is caught entering elephant habitats with an aim of harming the elephants and has strictly restricted the area to trained officials. Department officials are continuously monitoring the situation, the Department of Wildlife said in a statement.

Killing wild elephants in Sri Lanka is an offence punishable by death, but there have been regular reports of angry villagers poisoning or shooting them.

Official records show the population of wild elephants in Sri Lanka is estimated at 7,500. Enditem

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