New proposal to minimize human – elephant conflict in Sri Lanka

As the government was looking at ways of resolving the increased human-elephant conflict, the owners of tamed elephants have come out with solution.

They want more wild elephants be handed over to them to be tamed and used for procession and pageants.

The organization of owners of tamed elephants met with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on March 12 and pointedout that they were short of elephants for annual pagents and were running into a problem.

They pointed out that in the 1980’s there were 300 to 350 tamed elephants , but now the number had gone down to 107 of which 80 of them are above 50 years.

The members said that it takes at least three years to train an elephant before it can be used in peraheras and other religious and cultural events.

They pointed out that in the ancient days kings and heads of state donated elephants to temples and that it has been a tradition to take care of the elephants until their death.

President Rajapaksa also said he strongly believes that tamed elephants are needed for cultural events.

He advised officials to hold discussions with the owners association regarding conservation of tamed elephants and regularizing the process.

Prominent Buddhist monks including the Anunayake of the Asgiriya Chapter, Ven Anamaduwe Dhammadassi, Chief incumbent of the Tissamaharamya Rajamaha Viharaya Ven Devalegama Dhammasena, Chief incumbent of the Kelaniya Raja Mahaviharaya, Ven Kollupitiya Mahinda and the Viharadhikari of the Gangaramaya temple Dr Kirinde Assaji thera were present.

The president of the owners of Tamed elephants association Neelanga Dela and several Ministry secretaries were present.

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