Saturday, April 13, 2024

Sri Lanka’s First Wildlife Tunnel to Prevent Elephant-Train Collisions

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In a significant stride towards wildlife conservation, Sri Lanka has initiated the construction of its inaugural wildlife tunnel in Galgamuwa, Gatadivula. This innovative project aims to curb the growing number of elephant-train collisions, a pressing concern that has led to the deaths of numerous wild elephants and posed risks to railway safety.

Construction Begins Amid Growing Concerns

Scheduled to commence on March 1, the construction of the wildlife tunnel marks a critical step in mitigating conflicts between elephants and trains in the Kasikota area of Galgamuwa, Gatadivula. The Transport and Highways Ministry highlighted the urgency of addressing these clashes, noting the tragic loss of 150 to 200 wild elephants in recent years due to train collisions.

A Collaborative Effort Towards Conservation

The project represents a collective endeavor involving various government and non-governmental organizations, all united in their commitment to safeguard Sri Lanka’s elephant population. Initially proposed to refurbish an old culvert, technical challenges led to the decision to construct a new tunnel at ‘Alimankada,’ forming part of the broader Maho-Omanthai Railway Development Project supported by the Indian Credit Line.

Sri Lanka's First Wildlife Tunnel to Prevent Elephant-Train Collisions

Addressing a Critical Conflict

This initiative underscores Sri Lanka’s dedication to resolving the longstanding issue of elephant-train collisions, which not only threaten the lives of these majestic creatures but also pose risks to railway passengers and infrastructure.

Collaborative Conservation Efforts

The construction of the wildlife tunnel is a testament to Sri Lanka’s collaborative conservation efforts. By bringing together government bodies, non-governmental organizations, and international partners, this project highlights the importance of collective action in protecting wildlife while ensuring infrastructure safety.

Future Implications

As Sri Lanka takes a pioneering step with this project, it sets a precedent for integrating ecological considerations into infrastructure development. The successful implementation of this wildlife tunnel could inspire similar initiatives worldwide, emphasizing the balance between development and conservation.

By addressing the urgent issue of elephant-train collisions through this groundbreaking project, Sri Lanka not only aims to protect its wild elephant population but also ensures the safety and preservation of its railway infrastructure.

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