Sunday, March 10, 2013

Deer Culling / Elephant Culling – Choices we may have to make in the future

I was reading an article in today’s UK Observer about the need to cull 750,000 deer in the UK for the delicate balance of the environment between, birds, foliage, and deer and other animals in the wild. There is debate as to the accuracy of the figures and the principles involved, but it will nevertheless begin a dialogue which will come to a satisfactory compromise to suit the environmentalists, the Industry that depends on Stalking deer and other vested interests.

I wish we in Sri Lanka would take the same interest in looking at our Elephant population and making similar determinants. I know there are about 5 Elephant experts in Sri Lanka who are studying all the requirements to determine what the optimum elephant population should be bearing in mind the limited forest lands at their disposal and the vegetation therein to support such a population. We were never privy to the elephant census that was taken, nor a proper review of the measures taken to conserve the population, and what to do with the fallout of elephants being killed, maimed and the resulting human elephant conflict.

There are many ideas but no national policy. As a result there are many inadequacies in the Pinnawela orphanage that have to be solved. There are the midway centers to protect baby elephants who have lost their mothers, I believe both Ritigala and Uda Walawe have them and a host of other conservation efforts, but no national consensus as to which way to proceed to satisfy all stake holders.

I too have a vested interest as I have a home with an elephant fence as a border. So if the fence is not electrified and an elephant gets through, he will make a bee line to the banana plantation and the young coconut plants and destroy all my years of effort in a flash of an hour or two.  

It is in this context that this policy encompasses conservation, culling if necessary, elephant corridors, stopping any more development that encroaches on their territory, complete the plan of electrified fencing, and alternative means of prevention of encroachment, as well as ensuring they are maintained properly, dealing with orphaned elephants, selling elephants to private individuals and or temples and ensuring their care is monitored. Then the steps taken to protect the remaining tuskers, as a national treasure, and studies to see if that population could not be conserved, increased or somehow perpetuated by empowering all villagers of the value of such depleting assets to the nation must be publicized, so that we are all aware of our responsibility in this regard. We must engage a dialogue so all interests are heard and a national policy adhered to if we are to save the species.


Anonymous said...

It is important to note that you are most certainly encroaching on Elephant land. You should not be entitled to fence, farm, pollute your property. If you want to stay there it should be with complete respect to your enviornment and as an observer of your beauty.

Before the Brits, Sri Lanka probably supported 10 times the elephant population than today. Culling should NOT even be contemplated.

Humans should live in cities and if they want to go into jungles/remote areas it must be with the utmost respect, and yield to all rights of the wildlife.

The population in Sri Lanka due to it being a failed state live in places where they shouldn't. You have and your neighbors have NO rights over elephants in your area. Your farming is not economical and should be stopped.

Anonymous said...

you'd be better off turning your plantation into a base camp for elephant viewing. learn to live with nature rather than against it