Published: Sunday 31 August 1997

The population of elephants in Sri Lanka is falling rapidly as its natural habitat is absorbed for agriculture. Wildlife conservation officials say that the island which had about 12,000 elephants in 1900, now has only 2,500 elephants. This year in the northwest province alone, some 18 elephants have been killed. Farming has expanded gradually into jungle cutting off the grazing grounds and the traditional migration routes of the elephants. This has resulted in around 100 villagers being killed in elephant attacks between 1993 and 1996.

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