HUMAN – ELEPHANT PEACE: ‘Ali Pancha’ - a Landmark Project
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Chief Executive Officer of the Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG), Mr Johnson Liu, and the President of the Wildlife & Nature Protection Society (WNPS), Mr Jehan CanagaRetna on the 14th of October 2022, to launch the ‘Ali Pancha’ Project – a way to help the community transition from Human – Elephant Conflict (HEC) to Human – Elephant Peace. The broad aims of the Project are as follows:
· The annual sponsoring of 25 orphaned elephants at the Elephant Transit Home (ETH) at Uda Walawe to provide them with their essential nutrition for healthy development. The sponsoring of a research project to understand the varieties of antibiotics that work safely, and effectively, in the treatment of orphaned elephants.
· The provision of six (6) ‘Smart Collars’ for elephants selected for release back into the wild. Their movements will be monitored via VHF frequencies and GPS Systems to understand their range of roaming and behaviour, and to scientifically evaluate and understand how they integrate into the wild.
· Conduct Education & Awareness Programmes for a minimum of 200 farmers in the Hambantota District, in partnership with Farmer Societies and Government Institutions, and Install five (5) WNPS Light Repel Systems (LRSs) in selected locations in the Hambantota District to protect these farmers’ homes and cultivations from incursions by elephants.
The WNPS also has the responsibility of coordinating these objectives to ensure that they are achieved, within the time frames set out in the Agreement.
Partnerships are vital for PEACE
WNPS has been tirelessly campaigning for better solutions in the case of the Human- Elephant Conflict. For the success of this project, the cooperation of the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) is considered essential, especially that of the Veterinary Surgeons and other officers of the ETH. It is they who provide the technical and scientific inputs, and research necessary for the initiatives with the orphan elephants. Dr Vijitha Perera, the Senior Veterinary Surgeon at the ETH will lead this project on behalf of the DWC, ably assisted by Dr Malaka Abeywardana who was present at the Project Launch. During our mutual long history, the WNPS has worked with the DWC on several projects, and greatly looks forward to this renewed partnership.