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Countrywide elephant census next year

COLOMBO (News 1st) – Sri Lanka's Minister of Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation Mahinda Amaraweera said that a countrywide elephant census will be carried out in 2023.The last elephant census in Sri Lanka was conducted over a decade ago, in 2011.The minister said that a long-term program to reduce human-elephant conflict will be prepared and as one of the measures, a full census of elephants will be conducted.The Minister said this at the first meeting of the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation held on Tuesday (15) for the third session of the Ninth Parliament.Many MPs drew the attention of the minister about the human elephant conflict in various areas including Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Ratnapura, Ampara districts.It was also revealed that a number of reasons, including the reduction of elephant habitats and the significant increase in elephant population, have led to human-elephant conflict.The minister said that 16 main elephant corridors in the island have been blocked and due to this the encroachment of elephants in the villages has increased.

Accordingly, the minister further said that these obstacles will be removed promptly.The minister said that the President has appointed a committee to find solutions to the human-elephant conflict, and based on the committee's decisions, he hopes to prepare a program with long-term solutions.The minister also said that a series of separate meetings will be organized in those districts to discuss the existing problems related to the protection of wildlife and forest resources, and in consultation with public representatives and government officials, steps will be taken to provide the necessary solutions without delay.

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Mahinda Amaraweera

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Tense situation due to IUSF-Police standoff at protest - - Sri Lanka
Tense situation due to IUSF-Police standoff at protest
COLOMBO (News 1st) – Sri Lanka Police and the Inter-University Student's Federation were engaged in a stand-off on Tuesday (18).The stand-off took place when the police decided to block the Colombo – Kandy main road to prevent a protest march from proceeding from the University of Kelaniya citing that 6-hour prior approval was not obtained.Multiple arrests were also made during the protest.Inter-University Student's Federation launched their protest march against suppression on a rainy Tuesday (18) afternoon.They demanded the release of the two student activists who are being held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.They also emphasized to stop the repression immediately.But when the police informed that the march could not be allowed because permission was not obtained 6 hours prior, a heated situation arose. Then, as the students moved towards Colombo, the police announced to disperse immediately. The group protesting on the road in front of the university later attempted to proceed forward again. There the police announced to disperse for the second time and several people were arrested. A heated situation arose again when a couple riding a motorcycle on the road claimed to have shown support to the students. However, the students did not attempt to continue with today's march and dispersed after student activists addressed the gathering in front of Kelaniya University.