We are sad that after all these centuries together, we don’t get along anymore. You constantly attack and kill over 250 of us every year, all because you want our land. We are afraid. We fight back. We are sorry that about 70 of you die every year as well. We wish it was not so, but we also have to to try and survive. We need to find a way to live together!
The Human Elephant Conflict
You are a growing population and you build roads to your new homes through our homes. Speeding trucks and busses can kill us and constantly disturb and endanger us. Our country has gone through many changes during my time. There is no space for us because you have cleared the forest we live in, which we once abundant with all we needed, but now every day is a struggle for survival.
If let alone, we will stay in our traditional homelands. When you want our land, you forcibly move us to places convenient for you, but of little use to us. You terrify us into moving with guns and firecrackers. Can we not live together to share this beautiful land?
You have built iron tracks across our lands. We have to cross them in search of food and water. We only understand nature’s speeds and your trains come much faster than we can run. They hit and kill us. You build irrigation wells to water your fields but do not build walls around them. Sometimes, while looking for water, we fall into them and cannot climb out. We drown!
You set snares all across our homelands, to kill other animals for their meat. It is mostly our young ones that get caught in them., as they like yours are eager to explore new things. Their legs and trunks get caught so tightly, that their blood stops flowing and sometimes cut right through! The wounds get infected and gangrene sets in. they die in great pain, our small ones!
You send huge herds of your cattle into our homes to graze on what is left our grasslands. When we have no food, we get malnourished and weak. Many of our babies die from a lack of nutritious food.
Shooting and traps
You have taken our lands. We are hungry. The braver of us cross your fences in search of food. You then shoot us injuring or killing us!
The pain is great and so we react. Sometimes we destroy your houses, hurt you badly or even kill you. Can we not find a way to live together to share this beautiful island of ours?
Some of you connect fences to mains electricity. When we come into contact with them, we die a horrible death. You have fenced us in – preventing us from using the paths we once roamed freely between forest and plain. Your fences have also, in places separated us from our families.
You don’t respect us anymore. You come in large numbers to our parks. You taunt us! You harass us! You come to close to us! We get frightened and angry! We are strong and can hurt you. Yet we rarely do. We cannot tolerate this for much longer.
Poaching and killing
I am special. I have two tusks. There are only a few of us now and our genealogy is diminishing. Sadly, they rest have all gone, killed, their tusks hacked out to make ivory trinkets for you. Soon their will be none of us left!
You are so “inhuman” that you will sacrifice our lives to perform rituals that would bring you luck and fame.
You do cruel things to us. You hide exploding “Hakka Pattas” in food we like. When it explodes in our mouths, it shatters our tongues, jaws and teeth and it hurts terribly. We suffer long, unable to eat or drink and slowly agonizingly starve to death!
Today, we are part and parcel of your culture and lifestyle. You find us everywhere in your modern life. In real life – in temples, schools, Perehera pageants, zoos, animal shows, and symbolically – in your historical artifacts, statues and modern-day brands. We have been so intertwined from time immemorial. Do you still respect us?