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Review

Human–Elephant Conflict in Sri Lanka: A Critical Review of Causal Explanations

1
Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences, University of Kassel, 37213 Witzenhausen, Germany
2
Eco-Collective Research Association, Colombo 00200, Sri Lanka
3
Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, Mihinthale 50300, Sri Lanka
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Brandon P. Anthony and Beatrice Frank
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8625; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158625
Received: 23 June 2021 / Revised: 29 July 2021 / Accepted: 29 July 2021 / Published: 2 August 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Finding Long Term Resolutions to Human-Wildlife Conflicts)
Human–elephant conflict (HEC) is a severe and much-debated issue in Sri Lanka. An average of two hundred animals are intentionally killed, and seventy to eighty human casualties are counted each year. The Sri Lankan elephant (Elephas maximus maximus) is an endangered subspecies. The reported elephant mortality rates are high. On the other hand, human–elephant conflict also leads to hardship and trauma among rural populations. This research paper reviews causal explanations for HEC in Sri Lanka, tracing underlying narratives and connecting broader conservation theory and practical approaches. The paper discusses potential causes and contexts of HEC in Sri Lanka, including historical factors (i.e., colonial hunting and land-use changes), poaching, habitat loss due to population growth, crop-raiding behaviour, problem animals, and changes in agricultural production systems. The review concludes that socio-economic and cultural factors in HEC in Sri Lanka are poorly explained, and more research should focus on the underlying conditions of rural populations’ vulnerability. View Full-Text
Keywords: human–elephant conflict; Sri Lanka; Asian elephant conservation; conservation social sciences human–elephant conflict; Sri Lanka; Asian elephant conservation; conservation social sciences
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MDPI and ACS Style

Köpke, S.; Withanachchi, S.S.; Pathiranage, R.; Withanachchi, C.R.; Gamage, D.U.; Nissanka, T.S.; Warapitiya, C.C.; Nissanka, B.M.; Ranasinghe, N.N.; Senarathna, C.D.; Schleyer, C.; Thiel, A. Human–Elephant Conflict in Sri Lanka: A Critical Review of Causal Explanations. Sustainability 2021, 13, 8625. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158625

AMA Style

Köpke S, Withanachchi SS, Pathiranage R, Withanachchi CR, Gamage DU, Nissanka TS, Warapitiya CC, Nissanka BM, Ranasinghe NN, Senarathna CD, Schleyer C, Thiel A. Human–Elephant Conflict in Sri Lanka: A Critical Review of Causal Explanations. Sustainability. 2021; 13(15):8625. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158625

Chicago/Turabian Style

Köpke, Sören, Sisira S. Withanachchi, Ruwan Pathiranage, Chandana R. Withanachchi, Deepika U. Gamage, Thushantha S. Nissanka, Chinthana C. Warapitiya, Banu M. Nissanka, Nirangani N. Ranasinghe, Chathurika D. Senarathna, Christian Schleyer, and Andreas Thiel. 2021. "Human–Elephant Conflict in Sri Lanka: A Critical Review of Causal Explanations" Sustainability 13, no. 15: 8625. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158625

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