Elephants in Sri Lanka caught the eye of many people, including those from animal welfare organizations and experts on wildlife conservation, and environmentalists, after photos and a footage showed that the animals were lurking around and searching for food at what appears to be a landfill.
Local reports said the elephants came back to the place because it used to be a forest reserve and their home, but it was clearly turned into a landfill. Now, without any barriers, the elephants easily came there in search of food, but instead found themselves eating a bunch of plastic, which is dangerous to any living being when consumed.
Now, the government of Sri Lanka are trying to plan initiatives to help protect the elephants, said M.K. Bandula Harischandra, Secretary to the Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Conservation.
Elephants consuming polythene due to the country’s poor waste management in many districts has been a long-term issue concerning wildlife in Sri Lanka. The Department of Wildlife Conservation has identified about 54 locations where elephants could have consumed plastic, and according to their released statement, they have since managed to reduce the number of locations to 15, nine of which have been covered so that elephants could no longer enter the premises.
The department said they hope four other locations could also be protected to prevent elephants from entering. The Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Conservation has also instructed District Secretaries to take necessary measures to better manage the waste disposal procedures in the areas.
The population of elephants in Sri Lanka has declined from 12,000 in the early 1900s to only 7,000 today, according to the latest census.
Most of them die from being poisoned or shot by farmers to keep them off their land, while a large number of elephants also die from consuming plastic.