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Government Launches Pilot Projects to Mitigate Elephant-Human Conflicts with Electric Fences

May 22, Colombo (LNW): The government plans to initiate two pilot projects, the ‘Temporary Agricultural Electric Fence’ and the ‘Village Electric Fence,’ to protect villages and farmlands experiencing significant elephant-human conflicts.

This announcement was made during a discussion held yesterday (20th), led by Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff Sagala Ratnayaka, alongside the heads of line agencies, focusing on recent measures to mitigate wild elephant-human conflicts.

In addition to the existing electric fences built and maintained to mitigate elephant-human conflicts, pilot projects have been initiated in several conflict-prone districts to protect farmlands within regional secretariats’ jurisdictions. These farmlands will be safeguarded only until the harvest season, with a focus on the construction of temporary agricultural electric fences (Agro Fences).

Furthermore, there was an in-depth discussion about the pilot project for constructing electric fences (Village Fences) around villages that experience frequent human-wild elephant conflicts, aiming to protect these communities.

It was decided during the discussion that the agricultural electric fence (Agro Fence) should be dismantled by the respective farmers after harvesting and that the Department of Agricultural Development would assume responsibility for its maintenance and custody. Maintenance duties will also be delegated to the respective divisional secretariats.

Additionally, attention was given to the preservation of a group of trained elephants for cultural events and parades, besides addressing the issue of private elephant ownership.

Mr. Sagala Ratnayaka further instructed the pertinent authorities to compile and present a comprehensive report outlining the challenges encountered in executing these resolutions for review by President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The meeting was attended by Gunadasa Samarasinghe, the Secretary of the Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Conservation, as well as representatives from various line agencies and members of the Wild Elephant Human Control Committee, including Dr. Sumith Pilapitiya and Dr. Prithiviraj Fernando.

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