Today (April 4, 2011) is International Landmine Awareness Day and I wish I could report good news, such as 10 of the remaining 39 countries signed and ratified the Mine Ban Treaty. But instead I get to report that while humans held Mine Awareness events across the globe, two new elephants in Sri Lanka have stepped on landmines. Experts estimate that up to 10 wild Asian Elephants have been injured by landmines since the government moved its conservation area to a former war zone. This was precisely our fear when we heard of the relocation in January 2011 and sadly it’s come true.If you’d like to watch a news clip of the elephants, you can view it here.
According to the wildlife officer in charge of the zone, the two elephants (aged 25-30 years old) probably sustained the landmine injuries a week ago. Veterinarian Dr. Chandana Jayasinghe treated them yesterday and treatment continues today. Soraida Salwala, the founder of FAE’s Elephant Hospital and featured in The Eyes of Thailand documentary, said via Twitter that she would reach out to wildlife NGOs in Sri Lanka. Hopefully they will be open to input from Soraida and Dr. Therdchai Jivacite, Assoc. Professor of Thailand’s Prostheses Foundation, who designed the prostheses for elephant landmine survivors Mosha and Motala.
Director/Producer, The Eyes of Thailand