Skip links

Animal Rights Activists File Fundamental Rights Petition to Address Human-Elephant Conflict and Elephant Deaths

Animal rights activists have filed a Fundamental Rights petition before the Supreme Court, challenging the failure of authorities, including the Department of Wildlife Conservation, to mitigate the human-elephant conflict and reduce the annual number of elephant deaths.

The petition was filed by Justice for Animals and Nature, Ven. Dr. Omalpe Sobhitha Thera, President’s Counsel Anura Meddegoda, the Sri Bodhiraja Foundation, Animal SOS Sri Lanka, Dr. Ajantha Perera, and Iranganie De Silva, through Attorney-at-Law Manjula Balasuriya.

The petitioners are also seeking an order directing Sri Lanka Railways to implement an action plan to reduce elephant deaths caused by train accidents.

According to the petitioners, the Department of Wildlife Conservation indicated that Sri Lanka’s elephant population is 5,879, including 55 adult tuskers, based on the 2011 First Islandwide National Survey of Elephants. The Ministry of Agriculture estimates the wild elephant population at 7,000, while the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimate it to be between 2,500 and 4,000, classifying the Asian elephant as an Endangered (EN) species.

The petitioners argue that habitat destruction and fragmentation due to land grabbing, irregular land use, deforestation, and improper urban planning have confined wild elephants to small forested areas, exacerbating the human-elephant conflict. They identified major causes of elephant deaths, including falls into trenches and agricultural wells, gunshot and hakka patas wounds, train accidents, and electrocution.

The petitioners are seeking an order directing authorities to implement the “National Action Plan for Human-Elephant Conflict Mitigation.”

This website uses cookies to improve your web experience.