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Elephants pose a threat in Kataragama - Buttala Road

A herd of seven elephants including a tusker pose a danger to motorists along the Kataragama - Buttala Road running through Yala National Park Zone 3 as they are in the habit of blocking the road in anticipation of fruits and other food items to satiate their hunger.

Motorists who offer them food are allowed to pass the area while others who are unaware of this elephant habit have to stop their journey briefly and wait in fear until the pachyderms leave the road and return to the jungle.


On May 28, a three wheeler toppled when a group travelling in it panicked when an elephant blocked the road expecting food causing the death of a 51-year- old mother traveling in it.

One of the elephants named Raja is a harmless animal as it had been domesticated by security forces personnel who manned bunkers in Yala by regularly offering it fruits and food items.

Raja of course is a different disposition and does not pose a threat to passers by.

It is reported that certain SLTB bus drivers manning buses running along this route pet the pachyderms by stopping over and allowing the animals to poke their trunks inside the buses to grab food offered by commuters.

This sometimes drives fear into other commuters who tremble at the sight of the animals.

A wildlife official said this practice of people offering food had made the elephants forget their cumbersome habit of foraging for food in the jungle and look for food the easy way.

Special legislation should be brought to prevent people from offering food items to the elephants on the way.
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