The Department of Wild Life Conservation (DWLC) has said that elephants would not be driven away from Hambantota.
It was initially reported by environmentalists that moves were underway to drive away 200 elephants from the Hambantota area to make way for infrastructure development to support the country’s bid for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
DWLC Director General Chandrawansa Pathiraja has denied any move to drive away elephants from Hambantota.
Pathiraja has told the media that a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) with the specific identification of a Managed Elephant Range (MER) was already in place for Hambantota.
Pathiraja has said the DWLC has stopped elephant drives and translocations, but said a small drive is to take place close to Anuradhapura as there were elephants in this village creating a problem.
According to the SEA carried out by the Central Environmental Authority, the MER in the Mattala-Bundala-Wilmanne area would cover 300 sq.km and has been prepared taking into consideration all development needs until 2030.