Distressing photos of starving Sri Lankan elephants eating garbage to survive have emerged.
Due to severe starvation issues, Oluvhil Palakadhu elephants are forced to search for food in the piles of rubbish, as UNILAD reports.
Tharmaplan Tilaxan, a Jaffna-based photographer, took several heartbreaking images of the poor animals. The photographer shares that he has long observed their adaptive behavior and decided to document it in a bid to raise awareness. Describing his disturbing observations, he said:
“In the eastern province, a herd of wild elephants have picked up a peculiar – and sad – habit: since of late, these elephants have been seen foraging for food in garbage dumps. One garbage dump – situated near an area near known as ‘Ashraf Nagar’ close to the forest bordering the Oluvil-Pallakadu area in the Ampara district – is considered the cause of this new, destructive and unhealthy habit.”
The famished elephants are consuming litter containing microplastics and polythene to save their lives.
Tharamaplan claims that plastic products and non-digestive polythene were found in a number of post-mortems carried out on elephant remains. The photographer explained:
“The herd of wild elephants – numbering about 25-30 – now accustomed to feeding so close to human habitat have also begun to invade nearby paddy fields and villages seeking more food adding more tension to the already fraught relationship between the villagers and the wild animals.
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.”
According to Tharmaplan, the emerging issue should serve as “a call to all stakeholders” to gather their strengths and help the unfortunate animals as soon as possible.