Human-elephant conflict over space has become one of the major issues in the fight to save Asia’s endangered elephants. Sri Lanka Department of Wildlife claimed that 117 elephants and 30 men were killed up to June this year, mostly due to human-elephant conflicts. “Main cause of the deaths is human activities and a few are natural deaths,” Wildlife department spokesman told The Nation. In 2011, the total number of elephant deaths was 255.
He claimed that most of those elephants were killed by gunshots, electrocution, poisoning and explosives hidden inside vegetables and fruits. “Some people use ‘hakka patas’ to kill these animals. They would hide this inside a pumpkin or melon. Once an elephant eats this it will explode inside its mouth,” he said.
“The elephants injured by ‘hakka patas’ cannot be cured. Our veterinary surgeons have tried to cure such elephants. But all their efforts were in vain since the explosion causes severe damage to the elephant’s brain,” he said. “Baby elephants are most likely to be injured by these dreadful acts. They suffer a lot before they die,” he lamented.