Photographer Tharmaplan Tilaxan, from Jaffna in Sri Lanka, has taken a series of very powerful photos that depict the plight of some of nature’s most majestic animals. In a shocking array, these pictures captured a herd of elephants rummaging through heaps of trash that were beside a jungle.
The photos were shared by Cover Images along with the photographer’s Facebook.
And Tilaxan cited to MSN that elephants are so important to the environment as they will travel more than 30 kilometers daily, and will seed up to 3,500 new trees a day. But because of the changing world, these elephants have had to adjust – something that may end up changing our landscape along with it. The sad reality is that elephants consuming plastic and other human waste isn’t new.
Asian elephant expert Jayantha Jayewardene shared with Yahoo! News back in 2018 that there were hundreds of elephants from Sri Lanka’s estimated 7,500 native elephant population, who were consuming waste and becoming sick by what they were eating.
Jayewardene stated at the time that the issue of illegal dumping contributed to the problem. Jayewardene shared that the elephants had become accustomed to people, and they were turning towards dependence on illegal dumping as a food source.
He added, “These elephants no longer forage in the jungle. They are like zoo animals. It is a sad sight to see national treasures picking through rotting rubbish.”
Many experts have voiced concern that plastics, along with other harmful materials, are being found inside the excrements of elephants, meaning that they’re ingesting these toxins. Jayewardene noted that while elephants are consuming plastic, they still didn’t have post mortem evidence of plastic causing death in the elephants – although it was a major concern.
Then, in 2017, the Inida.com reported that the Sri Lankan government had passed a ban on dumping garbage close to animal sanctuaries, citing the concern to elephant well-being from consuming “bacteria-infested waste.”
As a result of their ban, there were more than 50 dump sites that were forced to erect electric fences around their perimeters.
Then, in August of this year, the import of plastic was banned by the Sri Lankan government in an effort to preserve the health of their wild elephants as well as other animals. According to MSN, these measures are expected to be in effect within the next couple months.
According to MSN, the environment minister Mahinda Amaraweera told AFP, “Plastics are doing untold damage to our wildlife — elephants, deer and other animals. We need to take immediate action to arrest this situation.”
We can only hope that these distressing images will help propel the cause to protect and salvage the environment further, since we only have one planet and we can’t ruin her.
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.