Herd Of Elephants Seen Foraging In Rubbish Dump For Food
Heartbreaking images show a herd of Sri Lankan elephants foraging through a rubbish dump.
The picture show the wild animals picking through plastic at a refuse facility in Oluvil, where they can be seen eating some of the rubbish they find.
The dump encroaches on the herd's natural habitat in the jungles in the eastern province - however, the local elephants' health is now at risk as they accidentally eat plastics that they find in the pile of waste.
Jaffna-based photographer Tharmaplan Tilaxan witnessed the sad sight, capturing and sharing the images that you see in this article.
Mr Tilaxan said: "In the eastern province, a herd of wild elephants have picked up a peculiar and sad habit.
"Since of late, these elephants have been seen foraging for food in garbage dumps."
The dump is by the forest that borders the Ampara district, and the increase in waste means that it has spread closer to the forest, subsequently attracting elephants as they look for food.
A fence was initially put up around the dump but this has since broken, meaning the animals can enter freely.
Since the dump began to spread, carrier bags and plastic packaging have covered the forest, with quantities of undigested plastics found in the faeces of the animals.
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Tragically, this is not the only instance of elephants being spotted eating from rubbish dumps in recent times - similar photos emerged from another site last month.
Pictures show an elephant in India covered in trash as it uses its trunk to sift through a mound of plastic waste.
Sports journalist Pranab Das captured the moment in the state of West Bengal and said the rubbish had been left there by tourists.
He said: "I hope these photos encourage people to stop littering. The garbage was left behind by vans.
"The elephant was snacking on plastic which was painful for me to see."
Plastic is causing significant damage to environments and wildlife across the world, in large part due to the fact it doesn't biodegrade.
As well as the pollution it causes, animals can often mistakenly eat plastic, which can have fatal consequences.
In May, a vet in Thailand removed a 30cm long plastic bag from a sea turtle's intestines.
Around 12.7 million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans every year and traces of plastic are appearing in the seafood on our plates, having being mistakenly consumed by aquatic animals.
As such, plastic pollution is affecting the food chain at every level, and the extent of the danger posed by microplastic consumption in humans is not yet fully understood.
LADbible's campaign, Trash Isles, pressured the United Nations to formally acknowledge an area of accumulative plastic garbage that continues to pollute the Pacific Ocean.
Featured Image Credit: Tharmaplan Tilaxan/Cover Images
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