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Two elephants die in Sri Lanka after eating plastic

Reading time: 2 min — Retrieved from Associated Press

Sri Lanka’s elephants are in danger. As their natural habitat is increasingly degraded, the animals move closer to inhabited areas, where they fall victim to poachers and farmers whose crops they destroy.

Hungry, the elephants sometimes turn to landfills, where they ingest plastic and sharp objects. What damages their intestines: “ They then stop eating and become too weak to support their weight. (…) They can no longer eat or drink, which accelerates their death ”, explains to Associated Press the veterinarian Nihal Pushpakumara.

Two elephants were found dead in the Pallakkadu landfill, west of the island. In less than ten years, twenty of these animals have died in this open dump. The electric fence that surrounds the site was struck by lightning in 2014, then never repaired.

Government inactive

In 2017, the government of Sri Lanka had promised to recycle rubbish placed near areas rich in wildlife, and to erect electric fences to prevent animals from approaching them. Only, says the Associated Press, these measures have never been fully applied.

Result, the government considers that there are 02 landfills located near wildlife, and that approximately 300 elephants live around.

2017In Pallakkadu, people repel elephants with firecrackers when they venture into the village and build electric fences around their houses. However, these homemade fences are dangerous both for the elephants and for those who put them up.