Sept 16, Colombo: Over Rs. 25 million have been paid as compensation to the people of the Northwestern Province for damages by wild elephants in the last eight months.
In the 8 months from January to August 2023, there were 14 human deaths due to wild elephants in Kurunegala district and Rs. 17,319,178 have been paid as compensation for the deaths and property damage.
Meanwhile, in Puttalam district there were five human deaths and Rs. 8,793,095 have been paid for the deaths and property damage during the last eight months.
During a discussion held on the wildlife problems and sustainable solutions held Thursday at the Northwestern Provincial Council, It was revealed that an amount of Rs. 26,112,273 have been paid for the damages caused by wild elephants in the Northwestern Province alone,
This discussion was held with the participation of Minister of Forest Conservation and Wildlife Pavithra Wanniarachchi, as per the request of Northwestern Province Governor Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena.
According to the information revealed, 14 human deaths and 180 property damages were reported in the Kurunegala district in the last eight months. In 2022, 45 human deaths and 150 property damages were reported and around 1.3 million rupees in damages have been paid.
Presenting facts in this regard, Mr. Shantha Weerasinghe, Assistant Director of Kurunegala District Wildlife Department, said that more damage is caused by wild elephants moving to populated areas than in previous years.
The representatives of farmers' organizations in Galigamuwa, Puttalam, Navagathagama, Wanathawilluwa and Anamaduwa areas requested to provide solutions to the problems they are facing due to wild elephants in the area.
Short-term, medium-term and long-term solutions to reduce elephant-human conflict and for wildlife conservation were presented at the discussion and the Minister of Forest Conservation and Wildlife Pavithra Wanniarachchi and the Governor said that they will take necessary steps to implement those solutions soon.