Nakolaogane Forest Destruction Paves The Way To Increase HEC In The Area- Environmentalists
As a result of the illegal clearing of forest lands near the Nakolagane, Ehetuwewa, in Kurunegala District, environmentalists recently expressed severe concerns over a potential increase in human-elephant
conflict(HEC) in this area shortly. The clearing of forest land continued without any hindrances, although
the issues surrounding the clearing of forest land in this area repeatedly came to light in recent times.
Environmentalists complain that the issue needs to be addressed and attribute the illegal clearing to the support of influential people and specific authorities. As a result, this HEC in the area will be increased.
Environmentalist Supun Lahiru Prakash said that the forest land belonging to Nakologane Raja Maha Viharaya is an elephant homerange outside wildlife protected areas, the clearance of forests could lead to the increase of HEC. “70% of Sri Lankan elephants live in forests located outside the forest reserves declared by forest/wildlife departments. So clearing forests like the Nakolagane area can increase the HEC.”, Prakash said.
He added that elephants who lost their natural habitats would invade the villages to find food.
Supun noted that 2022 was the worst year considering the HEC; 435 elephants lost their lives, while 145 humans became the victims of HEC. According to him, commercial crops are being grown in the forest area next to the Nakolagane Purana Raja Maha Vihara Temple, and other constructions obstructing elephant pathways are being built.