Sri Lanka plans to shut down a huge landfill after wild elephants died from eating plastic. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Nature said that by digging a hole around the landfill, authorities hope to prevent hungry animals from feeding on the waste anymore.
Over the past eight years, more than twenty elephants have died in this way. Two recently deceased elephants made national headlines after images of the animals foraging among the litter surfaced. A video of environmentalists removing plastic from an animal’s anus has been widely shared on social media.
Wildlife activists have called for more action to protect the animals, with about five elephants dying each year under similar conditions. There are more than fifty landfills on the island. But many more elephants in Sri Lanka are killed by explosives, electrocuted through an electric fence, or shot. According to official figures, 369 elephants were killed from unnatural causes last year.
According to the last census ten years ago, there are about 6000 elephants in the country.