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Wednesday June 19, 2024

Seven young elephants drown in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka´s wild elephant population has dwindled to just over 7,000, according to the latest official data

By AFP
May 27, 2024
A family looks on at dead elephant. — AFP/file
A family looks on at dead elephant. — AFP/file 

COLOMBO: Wildlife authorities in Sri Lanka on Sunday found seven carcasses of young elephants believed to have drowned in the biggest single loss of the animals in five years.

An official said the onset of the southwest monsoon had led to flooding in the elephant habitat in Dimbulagala, around 250-kms northeast of the capital Colombo.

“We were alerted by villagers to three young elephants who had drowned last evening, but when we went to the marshy area we found four more,” a regional wildlife official said.

He said autopsies will be carried out on the seven carcasses on Monday, but a preliminary investigation suggested that the animals had gotten bogged down in the marsh and drowned.

In 2019, seven elephants were similarly found dead in the north-central region of the country. A year earlier in 2018, another seven drowned closer to the area where the latest deaths were reported.

Sri Lanka´s wild elephant population has dwindled to just over 7,000, according to the latest official data, down from an estimated 12,000 at the beginning of the last century.