Sri Lanka mega projects may intensify human elephant conflict: researchers

Sri Lanka's state minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardene (L) takes part in a press conference in Colombo on April 24, 2019. - A Sri Lankan security dragnet hunting those responsible for horrifying bombings that claimed more than 350 lives has scooped up a further 18 suspects, police said April 24, as pressure mounted on politicians to explain why no one acted on intelligence warnings. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

Mar 27, 2013 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s aggressive economic expansions into elephant country through recent projects may further aggravate human conflicts, which are already taking a toll on human and animal life, researchers and conservationists have warned. Driving elephants into reserves or transporting is not effective as they try to come back. Disturbing the habitat can increase human elephant conflicts, wild life conservationists say.

“Elephants have very strong attachments to their natural home range,” Manori Gunawardena, director of Environment Foundation Limited, an environmental charity told reporters.

“When its home range is in a development arena it will automatically get confused and will cause problems to humans. That’s why we need to think about elephants before we do a development in their ranges.

“Mattala is one of the examples which is in the news these days.”

She was speaking at a forum which organized by The Animal Welfare Trust, a non-profit organization which promotes community based activities.

If more planning was done ahead of projects, future problems could be avoided, researchers say.

Sri Lanka’s second international airport in Mattala airport which was a Chinese design-build-transfer (DBT) projec