Novel electric fence model tested in Anuradhapura district | Daily News

Novel electric fence model tested in Anuradhapura district

The construction of the first village and paddy field electric fence in the Anuradhapura district was inaugurated in Marakulama village situated in the Thirappane Divisional Secretariat Division, with the participation of Solar Power wind and Hydro Power Generation Development State Minister Duminda Dissanayake, recently.

The Sri Lanka Conservation and Research Centre headed by environmental scientist Dr. Prithiviraj Fernando financed the pilot electric fence project with the cooperation of villagers who are faced with the wild elephant threat.

Inaugurating the five KM. Pilot electric fence construction project, State Minister Dissanayake said that the Wild Elephants Conservation and Research Centre has invested Rs. 2.5 million for the completion of the project which is going to be a turning point in the Anuradhapura district where the Human-Elephant Conflict persists in a big way.

“This is entirely a novel experience for us, as we have so far been depending on length electric fence systems proceeding for hundreds of kilometres, costing millions of rupees. Electricity will be provided to the new fence through solar panel systems to ensure an uninterrupted supply of power,” he said.

“We plan to extend this new electric fence system to other affected villages, which is less expensive and very easy to maintain. Hereafter you need not blame or criticize the Government or the wildlife conservation officials over Human-Elephant Conflict issues. It is your responsibility to look after and maintain the mini electric fence as if it is your own property. I am sure that this test village and paddy field electric fence will protect the villagers their farmlands and also the elephants are assured of freedom to live outside the fence,” State Minister Dissanayake said.

Sri Lanka Conservation and Research Centre Head Dr. Prithiviraj Fernando who acted as the chairperson of the recently appointed Presidential Committee for submitting proposals and recommendations for the mitigation of Human-Elephant Conflict, said that his institute and a 30 years history in conducting researches and studies on the lifestyle of the elephants and the Human-Elephant Conflict. We have understood through the long practical experience that there shall be alternative strategies rather than the traditional and customary mitigating mechanisms for thwarting the Human-Elephant Conflict. The Wildlife Conservation Department has been endeavouring for nearly 70 years to limit the number of wild elephants encroaching into villages.

“At present, there are elephants living in 62% of the country’s total landscape. Also in 70% of this landscape the elephants live among humans. Our concept is not to protect the reservation, but the village, the cultivation properties etc belonging to the villagers. The only viable option for elephant conservation and the Human-Elephant Conflict mitigation is a human-elephant coexistence model with the management of elephants in and outside the protected areas as also advocated by the National Policy for Conservation and Management of Wild Elephants,” Dr. Fernando further said.

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