An elephant has gone on rampage in Kekirawa (near Dambulla), damaging like 50 vehicles and temporarily closing the road. While he has not released a statement, humans have been steadily encroaching on elephant land for years. It could also be personal.
According to the Sunday Times, this is the tusker in question
While elephants ‘rampage’ through villages with some frequency, it’s rare for them to trash vehicles. 50 vehicles, I must say, is pretty impressive, as far as rampages go.
Kekirawa is a small town between Dambulla and Anuradhapura. You can get a decent rice and curry and my grandfather used to work there. I can’t figure out if this incident shut down the A9, the Kandy-Jaffna Road, they said it happened across an 8km stretch from Kylapathana to Tibbatuwawa.
Various news reports pegged the vehicle count at around 10, with the Sunday Observer declaring mission accomplished at 11. The latest report from the Daily Mirror, however, is 50. They say the elephant was chased off to the jungle, but more likely than not, he got dark and left.
At some point, if elephants ever organize and decide to Occupy Anuradhapura (or Hambantota for that matter) there isn’t that much we can do about it. I’ve talked about elephant rights before, and it’s not a joke. We need to be thoughtful and give them space, A) because it’s their land too and B) having them around is good for us and future generations. Sri Lanka has pretty generous national parks, but it’s not like elephants stay there. As this documentary shows, human elephant conflict is a daily reality for many farmers.
According to the latest elephant census, we have about 6,000 elephants, down from about 10-15,000 in the 1900s. I have been chased by two and I can guarantee you it’s terrifying, I have a healthy fear of elephants now and no longer equate them with circus animals or Babar.
It must have been quite scary in Kekirawa, but we also need to feel kinda bad for the elephant. That’s how I generally feel about elephants. Sympathetic and afraid.