The international documentary film ‘Common Ground’ focusing on Sri Lanka’s human-elephant conflict was screened at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington D.C. on June 5th, 2015. The screening was jointly organized by the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and the Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington D.C.
The film highlights the practical and critical aspects of managing Sri Lanka’s almost 6000-strong herd of wild elephants as they face habitat loss due to the growing demand for agricultural and residential land in Sri Lanka’s rural provinces.
Addressing the packed auditorium Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam highlighted that the title of the film ”common ground” itself is an indication of the focus of the film – the quest for land by both humans and elephants. He commended the continuing efforts of the Sri Lankan wildlife conservation authorities and civil society conservationists to protect the elephant population of Sri Lanka, which has led to the gradual increase in the population of wild elephants in the country. He also recognized measures being taken by all concerned to safeguard villagers in rural areas in Sri Lanka that are prone to elephant attacks through innovative initiatives.
Prominent conservationist and Founder-President of the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society Ravi Corea who addressed the gathering said that he was optimistic about the well-being of Sri Lanka’s elephant population, as more and more people understand the need to safeguard the gentle giants and their habitat.
The question and answer session that followed the screening highlighted the American public’s enthusiasm in understanding the complex issues that surround the Asian elephant and its habitat loss.
It is of symbolic importance that the documentary was screened at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo where out of its seven-member strong Asian elephant contingent six are of Sri Lankan origin.
Common Ground is a civil society-sponsored documentary directed by Philip Buccellato and produced by Greener Media.