Sri Lanka denies any move to drive away elephants from Hambanthota

July 24, Colombo: Sri Lanka Department of Wild Life Conservation (DWLC) has said that there is no move to drive away the elephants from the Southern District of Hambanthota in preparation of an anticipated 2018 Commonwealth game bid.

It was initially reported by environmentalists that moves were underway to drive away 200 elephants from the Hambanthota area to make way for infrastructure development to support the country’s bid for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

DWLC Director General Chandrawansa Pathiraja has denied any move to drive away elephants from their natural habitats in Hambanthota district.

Pathiraja has told the media that a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) with the specific identification of a Managed Elephant Range (MER) was already in place for Hambanthota.

He said the Department has stopped elephant drives and translocations, but that a small drive is to take place in Anuradhapura since elephants had entered a village.

The SEA carried out by the Central Environmental Authority in the Mattala-Bundala-Wilmanne area is to cover 300 sq.km area. This assessment has been prepared taking into consideration development needs in the Hambanthota area till 2030.

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