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SL spends Rs. 2,800 mn on elephants

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Colombo: Believe it or not, cash-strapped Sri Lanka spends Rs. 2,800 million annually to provide free repellents or crackers to repel wild elephants to safeguard vulnerable villages and farmlands which face invasion from the animals.

The details were revealed by Agriculture, Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation Minister Mahinda Amaraweera following a discussion with officials, the Daily Mirror reported on Thursday.

The meeting followed allegations by people that they do not receive proper support from the wildlife officials to evict them from vulnerable villages when elephants attack.

The Minister was told that repellents required to drive away wild elephants were bought from fireworks manufacturers and that 1.4 million elephant repellents were needed each year.

But there were no permanent solutions to resolve the human-elephant conflict, the officials said.

The Minister said the main reasons for elephant invasion were human settlements in the forest lands. The other reasons were the absence of food and drinking water for the wild elephants, the daily reported.

But the officials admitted that due to the current fuel restrictions, they were deterred them visiting troubled spots on time.

The officials also emphasized that due to the present price hike of raw materials, “they may have to spend more than what they currently do on procuring elephant repellents”.

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