Sri Lanka Digs Trench to Keep Elephants Away From Garbage Dump

A trench is being dug around a garbage dump in Sri Lanka to deter elephants from scavenging for food among mounds of plastic waste.

Elephants regularly swarm to the landfill site near a wildlife sanctuary in the eastern town of Ampara. Along with food scraps, they consume plastic, which slowly kills them, officials say.

Images of the elephants foraging through the waste have shocked environmentalists. Plastic from landfill sites is a known killer of wild elephants, which are estimated to number about 7,500 in Sri Lanka.

The landfill site in Ampara was created about a decade ago near a protected wildlife zone that is home to about 300 elephants.

The Sri Lankan government has sought to protect elephants and other wildlife by moving to ban the import of most plastic products.

In Ampara, electric fences were installed around the landfill site to keep elephants at bay. But the fences did not work, prompting the government to dig a moat around landfill site instead.

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