Heart-Breaking Photographs Show Hungry Elephants In Sri Lanka Eating From Garbage Dump

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Heart-Breaking Photographs Show Hungry Elephants In Sri Lanka Eating From Garbage Dump

Photographer Tharmaplan Tilaxan has captured these heart-breaking images of wild Sri Lankan elephants eating from a garbage dump near Oluvil, Sri Lanka.

There is a huge worry that the elephants are now consuming highly dangerous objects and substances which could seriously affect their short-term and long-term health. While the elephants usually forage in forests for vegetation and fruit, and drink from streams, much of their natural habitat has been ruined by logging and environmental destruction, forcing them into this dangerous situation.

Tilaxan, who is from Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka, posted the images on social-media and they were soon picked up by global news outlets. He said:

"As a result of unintentionally consuming microplastics and polythene, large quantities of undigested pollutants have been found in the excretion of these wild animals. A number of postmortems carried out on elephant cadavers have yielded plastic products and non-digestive polythene in their stomach contents."

He added:

"Despite a number of roundtable discussions with authorities that arrived at many solutions — including the construction of a reinforced fence around the garbage dump — no action has been taken to prevent the wild elephants of Oluvil from entering the urban areas in search of food, predominantly in garbage dumps. The frequency of elephant casualties is a call to all stakeholders to unite and arrive at a solution that will resolve this issue as soon as possible."

Posted by Tharmapalan Tilaxan. on Sunday, 9 February 2020
Posted by Tharmapalan Tilaxan. on Sunday, 9 February 2020
Posted by Tharmapalan Tilaxan. on Sunday, 8 November 2020

The issue is not only occurring as a result of deforestation and habitat destruction but due to the fact that a lack of recycling and proper sanitation methods has resulted in the landfill getting larger and encroaching on where the elephants were traditionally found. Elephants are known to roam across a great distance, as much as 30 kilometres in a day, in order to search for food, meaning that there is no easy solution to the ongoing situation. The fact that these elephants are not eating vegetation is also a problem for the forests themselves as it is through the eating and dropping of seeds that many new trees are planted.

Jayantha Jayewardene, an expert on Asian elephants, told reporters:

"Sri Lanka considers elephants to be a national treasure, but we see these animals reduced to eating rubbish. They have become docile and got so used to tractors bringing them garbage. These elephants no longer forage in the jungle. They are like zoo animals. It is a sad sight to see national treasures picking through rotting rubbish."

[h/t: Thinking Minds]

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Thinking Humanity: Heart-Breaking Photographs Show Hungry Elephants In Sri Lanka Eating From Garbage Dump
Heart-Breaking Photographs Show Hungry Elephants In Sri Lanka Eating From Garbage Dump
Photographer Tharmaplan Tilaxan has captured these heart-breaking images of wild Sri Lankan elephants eating from a garbage dump near Oluvil, Sri Lank
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