Quantcast

7 Elephants Dead of Suspected Poisoning in Sri Lanka

Energy
Sri Lankan police found carcasses of seven elephants who died of poisoning in a wild forest reserve on Sept. 29. VOA News / YouTube screenshot

Seven elephants have been reported dead of suspected poisoning near a protected habitat refuge in Sri Lanka.


"Since Friday, we have found the remains of seven cow elephants, including a tusker," police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera told the Agence-France Presse (AFP). The elephants were discovered at Sinharaja Forest Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site encompassing the "last extensive patch of primary lowland forest" in the nation. The region is afforded the highest level of legal protection under national laws

Four carcasses were discovered on Friday, including a pregnant female, and another three the following day. It is believed that all seven elephants belong to the same herd, the BBC reports. The publication adds that another elephant was found dead on Monday from a gunshot wound, but it is not yet clear whether the deaths are related.

Every year, the AFP reports that nearly 200 elephants are killed, many by farmers protecting their crops. On the other hand, elephants kill roughly 50 people annually when they come into growing villages encroaching near their habitat. As food and water become scarce, the animals will often feed on agricultural products, leading to conflict between the humans and elephants. In the last ten years, it is believed that more than 1,300 elephants have been killed as a result of crop-raiding but that does not come without a human cost; estimates suggest that more than 500 humans have also been killed in that same timeframe, according to the conservation organization EleAid.

"As a result of forest clearing, human-elephant conflicts have also increased and led to the destruction of property and death of both humans and elephants," wrote the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). "The problem is compounded by the elephant's preference for crops such as sugar cane, bananas, and other fruits frequently grown in the regions."

The Sri Lankan elephant (Elephas maximus maximus) is the largest of four Asian elephant subspecies. Though data on wild elephant populations is difficult to come by and verify, it is estimated that at last count there were no more than 4,000 wild elephants left in the country compared to more than 19,000 just a century ago, notes EleAid. Current estimates suggest that about 6 percent of the wild animals are dying each year, according to the WWF. The International Union for Conservation of Nature considers Asian elephants endangered due to their decreasing population numbers, namely from conflict that arrive through agricultural production and resource extraction like hunting and logging.

Wildlife experts and veterinarians will reportedly conduct necropsies in order to determine the cause of death of the seven elephants.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The icebreaker Polar Star in Antarctica. Ville Miettinen / The Revelator / CC BY-NC 2.0

By Tara Lohan

Part of Joellen Russell's job is to help illuminate the deep darkness — to shine a light on what's happening beneath the surface of the ocean. And it's one of the most important jobs in the world right now.

Read More
Psychedelic mushrooms are currently classified as a Schedule I drug by the FDA, and possession is a felony nationwide. juriskraulis / iStock / Getty Images

A single experience with "magic mushrooms" has long-lasting effects on cancer patients, according to a new study that found patients still felt positive benefits five years later, as CNN reported.

Read More
Sponsored
Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign town hall meeting at Vista Grande Jan. 28 in Clinton, Iowa. The Iowa caucuses are February 3. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Joe Biden put his hand on the chest of an Iowa voter and told the man to vote for someone else when the voter asked the former vice president about his plans to replace gas pipelines, The Independent reported.

Read More
Greening the barren mountain has helped recharge groundwater levels in the villages. Photo by Gurvinder Singh. Mongabay India

By Gurvinder Singh

Jamini Mohan Mahanty is out for a morning walk every day. At 91, he is hale and hearty. A resident of Jharbagda village in Purulia district, West Bengal, Mahanty thanks the "green mountain" in his village for having added some extra years to his life.

Read More
A wild Woodland Bison walks in the Arctic wilderness. RyersonClark / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Paul Brown

Releasing herds of large animals onto the tundra − rewilding the Arctic − to create vast grasslands could slow down global heating by storing carbon and preserving the permafrost, UK scientists say.

Read More