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Eelam's elephants dying from eating plastic waste

At least two elephants in Amparai were found dead this week, after eating plastic waste in an open landfill site that conservationists have been warning about for years.

Around 20 elephants have died over the last eight years in the region alone after they consumed plastic waste left at the site, according to the latest reports.

Rubbish from neighbouring towns, including Sammanthurai, Kalmunai, Karaitheevu and Alayadivembu, have been dumped near Ashraf Nagar, which borders the Oluvil Pallakkadu area, where the elephants roam freely.

The elephants have reportedly become so accustomed to foraging through the mound for food and ingesting plastics, that they now wait for trucks to unload waste into the dump.

Post-mortem reports from elephants who had previously passed recovered polythene and plastics in their stomachs. 

These photographs by Jaffna-based photographer Tharmapalan Tilaxan, captured a wild herd rummaging through a garbage mound in Amparai, which encroaches on the elephant’s habitat, posing a serious threat to their wellbeing.

It is reported that waste is dumped in over 54 forests with over 300 elephants passing through these areas on a daily basis.

Read more in our piece:  Eelam's elephants under threat

Also see more from ABC News here.

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