Climate Influences on Human-Elephant Conflict in Sri Lanka

Lareef M. Zubair; Martin Benno Blumenthal; Ousmane Ndiaye; Ruvini Perera; M. Neil Ward; Zeenas Yahiya; Janaki Chandimala; Vidhura Ralapanawe; Upamala Tennakoon; M. R. A. Siraj; Herath Manthrithillake; W. L. Hendawitharna

Climate Influences on Human-Elephant Conflict in Sri Lanka
Zubair, Lareef M.
Blumenthal, Martin Benno
Ndiaye, Ousmane
Perera, Ruvini
Ward, M. Neil
Yahiya, Zeenas
Chandimala, Janaki
Ralapanawe, Vidhura
Tennakoon, Upamala
Siraj, M. R. A.
Manthrithillake, Herath
Hendawitharna, W. L.
International Research Institute for Climate and Society
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IRI Technical Report
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Sri Lanka
International Research Institute for Climate and Society
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Palisades, N.Y.
Contemporary ecological research supports focus on the preservation of habitats and the preservation of keystone species that are critical to the ecological character of the habitats. Conservation of endangered species works best with attention not only to the species but also to the needs of the people who may be adjacent to or bordering habitats. Southern Sri Lanka fall into the category of globally important biodiversity hotspots. The biggest land animal, the elephant is the keystone species in Sri Lanka outside the highlands. The population of elephants in Sri Lanka is estimated to be between 3000 and 4,000; yet there has been an alarming loss of 1000 elephants during from 1990-2003. Given its island setting and rich hydro-climatic data, Sri Lanka provides a unique opportunity to study the dynamics leading to species loss. Our work in this project was initially motivated by the practical concerns of our project partners in the Mahaweli River Basin in Sri Lanka where the human-elephant conflict was a major problem. The question that arose was: "Are the climate, water availability and river basin management practices contributing to conflict between elephants and people?" If this was indeed the case, then, could one adaptively manage the river basin, organize agricultural practices, and prioritize conflict mitigation options such as separate habitat enrichment programs? Moreover, could we propose various adaptive measures in changes if one could monitor the climate and environmental conditions and take advantage of seasonal climate predictions.
Science--Social aspects
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Lareef M. Zubair, Martin Benno Blumenthal, Ousmane Ndiaye, Ruvini Perera, M. Neil Ward, Zeenas Yahiya, Janaki Chandimala, Vidhura Ralapanawe, Upamala Tennakoon, M. R. A. Siraj, Herath Manthrithillake, W. L. Hendawitharna, , Climate Influences on Human-Elephant Conflict in Sri Lanka, Columbia University Academic Commons, .

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