12/28/2011, 00.00
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“Orphanage” for wild elephants in Sri Lanka

by Melani Manel Perera
An electrified fence will surround the reserve to protect villages. The proposal comes from the Ministry of Agrarian Services and Wildlife. The pachyderms constantly attack residents, devastating their plantations and villages.
Colombo (AsiaNews) – S.M. Chandrasena, minister of Agrarian Services and Wildlife, said the government would allocate 100 million rupees (US$ 877,000) to solve the problem of wild elephant attacks that are devastating plantations and villages in 15 districts of Sri Lanka. The decision comes after some 500 people staged a demonstration to highlight their plight.

Under the proposal, the government would set up a reserve for dangerous elephants surrounded by an electrified fence with 260 workers hired to guard and maintain the fence.

Some residents in the affected villages who belong to the Alliance for Human-Elephant Coexistence welcomed enthusiastically the minister’s statement.

“We don’t want the elephants that attack us killed, but we do want the government to adopt and implement a plan to protect both humans and animals,” they said. “To do this, they must rely on locals as well as provide the necessary financial help, means and equipment.”

Mr Chandrasena said he would visit the affected villages. The first meeting is set for Kurungerla, on 6 January.
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