Highlighting the pressing issue of wildlife damage to agriculture and crops, Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera emphasized the need for a permanent and expeditious solution. The extent of damage caused by wild animals to the agricultural sector is substantial, with last year alone witnessing the destruction of three million coconuts by toque macaques and monkeys. Surprisingly, environmentalists, who are vocal on various conservation matters, have not engaged in discussions or proposed viable solutions in collaboration with the Agriculture Ministry to address this growing concern.
In addition to toque macaques and monkeys, several other wild animals, including wild boars, peacocks, and giant squirrels, contribute to the damage inflicted on crops.
Expressing his disappointment, Minister Amaraweera highlighted the failure of environmentalists to submit even a single proposal for controlling this damage. In many countries, wildlife populations are managed by culling them when their numbers exceed sustainable levels. However, such a method is not feasible in Sri Lanka. Consequently, the minister stressed the importance of open dialogue and collaborative efforts to swiftly devise an effective solution.
Finding a balance between wildlife conservation and safeguarding agricultural interests is paramount. Minister Amaraweera urged all stakeholders to come together and explore innovative approaches that would mitigate crop damage caused by wild animals. By pooling their expertise and perspectives, a comprehensive strategy can be formulated to address the issue at hand.