Minneriya Elephant gathering fast dwindling

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The elephant population at the Minneriya National Park lake field has dropped from 389 to 50 over the past six years, former Director General of the Department of Wildlife Conservation Dr. Sumith Pilapitiya said.

Dr. Pilapitiya made this observation based on a study carried out on the elephant population in the Minneriya National Park from 2016 to 2021.

He noted that in 2016, 389 elephants have been recorded from the area, 402 elephants in 2017, 354 in 2018, 223 in 2019, 210 elephants in 2020 and 20 elephants have been recorded in 2021.

Dr. Pilapitiya noted that based on his inspections, only over 50 elephants have been spotted while stating that the elephants have reduced in weight due to the shortage of food.

He added that the post-mortem of a calf that was found dead on 30 June this year revealed that the calf had starved to death.

Conservationist, Dr.Prithviraj Fernando further noted that the physical health condition of elephants at the Minneriya National Park has deteriorated since 2019 and has worsened in 2021.

He noted that the health conditions of male elephants have deteriorated immensely adding that there is huge risk on death of calves also due to poor health conditions.

BY Savani Sheashadi