Human-elephant conflict presentation at the FOCUS 2019 event [fr]
This year’s FOCUS event has been an opportunity to talk about human-elephant conflict and mitigation measures with the presence of Dr. Prithiviraj Fernando, chairman of the Centre for Conservation and Research in Sri Lanka.
On the occasion of the International Day for biodiversity, the Embassy of France, in partnership with Biodiversity Sri Lanka and Hatton National Bank, co-hosted a conference on ‘Biodiversity and Human Conflicts : A fragile Equilibrium’ on May 23rd.
Dr. Prithiviraj Fernando, chairman of the Centre for Conservation and Research in Sri Lanka, discussed on the subject of “Elephant conservation and Human-elephant conflict mitigation”. Based on a study undertaken in 15 Asian countries, he demonstrated that Sri Lanka not only hosts the highest density of elephants but is also a place where unique specimens can be observed – albinos, dwarf elephants… However, the cohabitation with humans is far from being pacific. The human/elephant conflict kills more than 60 humans and about 250 elephants yearly. It also increases rural poverty and impedes socio-economic development because it greatly damages rice crops.
Dr. Fernando then highlighted the mitigating measures which have been tried and the results that followed. He reported that despite those measures, 70% of elephants remain outside of protected areas. His conclusion is that successful mitigation measures require a people-centric approach, hence cannot be done by conservation agencies alone. It requires a paradigm change with the main stakeholders being the people who experience the conflict, assisted by the agencies responsible for people’s welfare and governance, and the implementation of non-confrontational crop protection methods. Awareness on the conflict needs to be raised and people must learn how to use electric fences rationally.