Environmental organizations have voiced concerns over the apparent cessation of a program aimed at preventing collisions between wild elephants and trains. Hemantha Withanage, Senior Advisor to the Centre for Environmental Justice, highlighted that several initiatives had been launched along the Habarana railway line in the past to mitigate these collisions. These efforts included plans to construct two bridges over the railway line for wild elephants to safely cross.
Withanage pointed out that the interruption of these plans has resulted in the deaths of wild elephants. Tragically, four elephants were killed in a collision with a night mail train traveling from Colombo to Kankesanturai on the morning of Thursday, September 28, between the Galgamuwa and Ambanpola railway stations. Among the casualties were a mother elephant and her calf near the 125km post in Palugaswewa, Habarana.
Responding to inquiries, an officer from the Department of Wildlife confirmed that wildlife officers are currently not deployed to accompany locomotives traveling along the Habarana railway line. However, he added that deploying officers in this manner may not be an effective means of preventing elephant-train collisions.