Good neighbors

The members of the community in the Bulugolla village in Sri Lanka breathed a sigh of relief.

It was the month of October and the rice harvest had gone well. The rains had been plentiful and their meddlesome neighbors (seen in picture above) were abiding by their boundaries. This has not always been the case. As the head of the village explained, “We depend upon a rice harvest to earn our livelihood. While we culturally and traditionally have lived in harmony with elephants, we cannot survive without our paddy farms and so we have to keep the elephants out”. Human wildlife conflict is currently one of the greatest conservation challenges.

As human populations grow, wildlife habitat shrink and humans and wildlife come in contact with each other as they compete for resources.

In addition, wildlife such as elephants cannot be limited to the boundaries of protected areas as many protected areas can only support a certain number of elephants. —