Shock treatment as Sri Lanka battles wild elephants
Sri Lanka today announced plans to substantially extend electric fencing after marauding elephants killed 375 people in the past five years and villagers retaliated by slaughtering nearly 1,200 of the beasts.
The government said the toll marked a clear escalation of the human-elephant conflict and urgent steps were needed to protect both people and wildlife.
Government spokesman Gayantha Karunathilaka said authorities would begin constructing 2,651 kilometers (1,556 miles) of new electric fencing to keep elephants away from villages bordering wildlife reserves.
There was no immediate estimate of the costs.
The announcement came two days after President Maithripala Sirisena called for urgent action, saying elephants were straying from national parks, raiding villages and destroying crops.
Sirisena said wildlife, including elephants, destroyed about 35 percent of the country's agricultural produce.
A monkey population of one million in the island of 21 million people was responsible for wiping out much of the coconut harvest earlier this year and driving prices up, the president said.
Elephants are considered a Buddhist symbol and protected by law. Killing wild elephants is an offense punishable by death, but there were regular reports of angry villagers poisoning or shooting them.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)