Just couple of weeks ago the famous tusker in Sri Lanka, “Dala Puuttuwa of Galigamuwa “ was killed and it created a massive public discussion regarding the human–elephant conflicts of Sri Lanka. Finally, investigators found that the intention of killing the mammoth being was sell the tusks and elephant pearls of it. There is a controversy that even a Buddhist monk is also connected with this killing and it reveals up to which extent this barbarian phenomenon has been spreading in the country. The human elephant conflict here is not new one, even centuries ago it was in this land according to historical records like Robert Knox. According to data gathered by the Elephant Conservation Unit of the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC), around 2,844 elephants were killed by farmers and 1,138 people were killed by elephants between the years from 1991 to 2010, while a total of 3,103 homes in Sri Lanka were destroyed by elephants (2004 to 2007)
Sri Lanka has10-20% percent of the Asian elephant population; the density is higher than any other member state in this region. A land area of nearly five square kilometers is needed to support an elephant to make sure the natural balance that exists between the elephant and the dry zone habitats is not disturbed. According to this data, to current population of 3,500 elephants requires around 17,500 square kilometers or 27% of the total land area while the protected areas in Sri Lanka covers only 12.5% of the land area (or 8,200 km2). This indicates that nature parks and reserves are not able to ensure the sustainable prevalence of these beings and sustainable solutions are much needed and to reach the prevailing solutions and the political willingness is the most necessary factor.
The lack of sufficient land area for existence of elephants is the foremost reason for human elephant conflicts. Droughts, floods and other climate change related incidents have been intensifying the conflicts in Sri Lanka while Sri Lanka has been ranked as one of the highest risk countries for climate change in 2018, according to global climate risk index. Therefore, there needs to be steps beyond understanding the issue. We will further discuss this in the second part of this article chain.