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Begging elephants of Udawalawe

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Author Topic: Begging elephants of Udawalawe  (Read 135 times)
indunil
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« on: November 09, 2012, 01:49:05 pm »

Wild elephants along Udawalawe National Park fence for food have become a tourist attraction in recent times, but wildlife enthusiast frown on this practice as it poses a grave danger to both humans and animals.



I have seen many passersby throw plastic bags full of bananas and other fruit at the elephants who are virtually begging along the main road bordering the national park.



 This is perhaps the only place in the world where people can feed wild elephants.



 Taking a leaf from the experience in other countries, Sri Lankan authorities could turn the feeding of wild elephants into a money spinning enterprise while making it safe for both beasts and animal lovers.



 I suggest that the wildlife authorities set up elevated structures at a few places along the park border where people can climb and feed wild elephants. Guards could be placed to ensure that the food that is offered is free of any plastic or any such material that could be dangerous to the animals.



  A fee could be charged to get on the platform from where people can throw fruits at the elephants at a safe distance. An organised system of feeding such as this would ensure revenue for the wild life department which can also regularise and charge fees from the suppliers of fruit who may be allowed stalls within the premises.



 I am attaching a couple of picture to illustrate how dangerous it is for people to get so close to the animals across an electric fence and feed elephants. The elephant too could be hurt in the process.



I hope this will be favourably looked at by the authorities, including president Mahinda Rajapaksa who has taken initiatives recently to make a difference at Yala.




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