Killer elephant captured after terrorising villages and claiming 12 lives (Sri Lanka)


Stuart Winter, Express

Date Published


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It took a 21-man team from Sri Lanka’s wild life department to track down and catch the huge tusker before it caused any more carnage.

Yet rather than kill the five-ton beast, the team led by a vet were able to subdue the animal and take it to an elephant orphanage.

The wild elephant had developed a fearsome reputation in the Wellawaya district of southern Sri Lanka, where it would roam among villages, damaging crops and homes as well as attacking people.

This heavily forested part of Sri Lanka has witnessed increasing conflict between wild elephants and humans in recent times.

Only last week a foreign motor cyclist was killed by an elephant and his female passenger seriously injured in central Sri Lanka.

Villagers in Warunagama have been protesting about the authorities failing to act while their lives are being made hell by a herd of rampaging elephants damaging their homes and properties.

In April, an elephant attacked an ambulance outside Wellawaya, injuring a nursing officer and an assistant who both needed hospital treatment.

The elephant has been causing havoc in several villages

Details of the elephant’s capture emerged today as officials described to local media how it been captured after attacking a killing 12 people.

The elephant appears to have struck in at least six villages, sparking complaints to the ministry of sustainable development.

Sri Lanka’s wildlife department said the complaints resulted in the team of 21 experts, co-ordinated by a vet, capturing the elephant “without any harm being caused to it”.

The elephant was taken to Horowpathana Elephant Orphanage.

As a wildlife photographer, I constantly have to be aware of the scene around the subject I’m wanting to photograph. The background is as important as the animal. Arriving at the scene of sleeping lions, I was very aware of the beautiful colours behind hi

As many as 70 people are killed in Sri Lanka by elephants annually, with the conflict also resulting in the deaths of up to 250 of the animals.

Recent years have seen the island’s wild elephant numbers dwindling rapidly and 2011 census found only 5,879 still inhabiting its jungles.

Studies identifying the elephants’ migratory pathways have been launched as attempts at trying to drive herds into new areas have failed.

Expanding villages and the quest for more farmland have seen elephant habitat vanishing.

It was recently reported that the Sri Lankan cabinet had approved a plan to establish 500-metre wide elephant migratory corridors for the animals to move freely and which would see farmers and settlers being evacuated.

The cabinet promised to provide them with alternate land or compensation.