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Sri Lanka to cordon off rubbish dump to prevent more elephant deaths

Sri Lanka plans to cordon off a huge rubbish dump as several wild elephants have died after consuming plastic.

Colombo, 15 January 2022 (dpa/MIA) — Sri Lanka plans to cordon off a huge rubbish dump as several wild elephants have died after consuming plastic.

Digging a trench around the site is the only way to prevent hungry animals from eating rubbish at the site that measures some 800 square meters, a Wildlife Ministry spokesperson told dpa.

A post-mortem examination has yet to confirm the cause of death of the two elephants.

More than 20 elephants have died in a similar manner during the past eight years. The two elephants who died recently made national headlines after images of the animals among the rubbish went viral. A video of wildlife officials pulling plastic from the rectum of one of the animals was also widely shared.

Wildlife activists have called for greater efforts to protect elephants as around five die annually under similar circumstances. There are more than 50 rubbish dumps throughout the island nation.

However, many more elephants die in Sri Lanka after being injured by explosive devices, electrocuted by electric fences or shot, with most of the deaths due to farmers.

Habitat loss is also harming the animals and elephants are destroying more and more fields and houses. Some are also killed by poachers who want their tusks.

According to official figures, a total of 369 elephants died of unnatural causes last year.

There are some 6,000 elephants in Sri Lanka, according to the last census 10 years ago.

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