Human-elephant conflict is a significant problem in Sri Lanka with, on average, 148 elephants and 59 humans killed every year. Due to the reduction of elephant habitat, these conflicts are inevitable and increasing.
One of the main constraints for effective environmental conservation in Sri Lanka is the lack of scientific information to develop management plans and guide environmental conservation and management. The Centre for Conservation and Research (CCR) was set up to fill this need by conducting, supporting, and encouraging research into all aspects of the environment.
CCR have been researching Sri Lankan elephants for 20 years using radio telemetry, and more recently GPS-satellite tracking, and the success of their findings is now influencing government decisions.
The Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund grant supports the ongoing monitoring of four populations in and around Yala and Lunugamvehera National Parks. These populations have been subject to different management regimes and the data collected so far suggests that range restriction of elephants has very long-term detrimental consequences. These observations have profound implications for elephant management across the range as well as nationally.
Long term, the collected data will be analysed in relation to environmental parameters, management actions the elephants were subject to, and developmental activities that occurred in the area. Such data is not available from anywhere else globally. The analysis provides insights into Asian elephant social organisation, ecology, and behaviour, and indicates the impacts of management actions and development on elephants and how they respond and adapt to them. Therefore, it enables the development of effective plans for the conservation of Asian elephants, their management and mitigation of the human-elephant conflict.