Endangered elephants scavenge for food in dump — increasing fears for their welfare

ENDANGERED elephants scavenge for food at a dump — increasing fears for their welfare.

Two died last weekend after swallowing plastic from the open landfill site in Pallakkadu, eastern Sri Lanka.

Local experts say it brings the death toll to around 20 in the past eight years.

Large amounts of plastic were found in their stomachs, local scientists said.

Nihal Pushpakumara, a wildlife veterinarian, said: “Polythene, food wrappers, plastic, other non-digestibles and water were the only things we could see in the postmortem.

"The normal food that elephants eat and digest was not evident.”

The number of elephants in the country has dwindled from about 14,000 in the 19th century to 6,000 in 2011.

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