This picture captures the heartbreaking reality of life for elephants as they scavenge through garbage in Sri Lanka

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Heart-breaking images show elephants scavenging through garbage in Sri Lanka, after being drawn out of their habitat in search for food. 

They accidentally consume plastic and waste from the piles of rubbish surrounding the forests in Sri Lanka, endangering their lives. The mammals’ increased proximity to locals also causes conflict with the peril that they pose to local villagers by eating crops.

Photographer Damith Danthanarayana captured these shocking images of a herd of elephants in Ampara, Eastern Province, Sri Lanka. 

He said: ‘During our exploration, we encountered a small elephant injured by a homemade explosive. Conflicts between elephants and humans emphasise the need for conservation and proper waste management. Immediate action is crucial to safeguard both wildlife and local communities.’

Elephants eating from the landfill has been a problem in the town in the past and Sri Lanka banned the open dumping of garbage near wildlife sanctuaries in 2017 to discourage elephants from foraging for rotting food scraps. 

The government ordered that electric fences be erected around the dumps, but this seems to have been insufficient to keep the animals away.

Elephants are revered in Buddhism, the majority religion in Sri Lanka, and are protected by law. The wild elephant population in Sri Lanka is estimated at about 7,000 – as well as 200 domestic elephants living in the country.

This picture captures the heartbreaking reality of life for elephants as they scavenge through garbage in Sri Lanka

This picture captures the heartbreaking reality of life for elephants as they scavenge through garbage in Sri Lanka

The herd of elephants can be seen scavenging through the piles of garbage while foraging for food

The herd of elephants can be seen scavenging through the piles of garbage while foraging for food

The elephants accidentally consume plastic and chemical waste, which poses a severe threat to their lives

The elephants accidentally consume plastic and chemical waste, which poses a severe threat to their lives

They are joined in their search for food by stray dogs, who also rummage through the rubbish piles in the hopes of finding something edible

They are joined in their search for food by stray dogs, who also rummage through the rubbish piles in the hopes of finding something edible

The mammals are drawn out of their habitat in search for food by waste surrounding the forests in the eastern part of Sri Lanka

The mammals are drawn out of their habitat in search for food by waste surrounding the forests in the eastern part of Sri Lanka

Photographer Damith Danthanarayana captured these shocking images in Ampara, Eastern Province, Sri Lanka

Photographer Damith Danthanarayana captured these shocking images in Ampara, Eastern Province, Sri Lanka

The photographer said: 'During our exploration, we encountered a small elephant injured by a homemade explosive'

The photographer said: ‘During our exploration, we encountered a small elephant injured by a homemade explosive’

Danthanarayana said: 'Conflicts between elephants and humans emphasise the need for conservation and proper waste management. Immediate action is crucial to safeguard both wildlife and local communities'

Danthanarayana said: ‘Conflicts between elephants and humans emphasise the need for conservation and proper waste management. Immediate action is crucial to safeguard both wildlife and local communities’

The herd of elephants are not the only ones looking for food in the garbage, as dogs and birds are also picking away at the piles of rubbish

The herd of elephants are not the only ones looking for food in the garbage, as dogs and birds are also picking away at the piles of rubbish

The elephants' increased proximity to locals also causes conflict with the peril that they pose to local villagers by eating crops and attacking people when they feel threatened

The elephants’ increased proximity to locals also causes conflict with the peril that they pose to local villagers by eating crops and attacking people when they feel threatened

The natural habitat of the elephants is shrinking and they are forced to resort to eating garbage to survive

The natural habitat of the elephants is shrinking and they are forced to resort to eating garbage to survive

The elephants can be seen stuffing waste into their mouths in the heart-breaking pictures taken in Sri Lanka

The elephants can be seen stuffing waste into their mouths in the heart-breaking pictures taken in Sri Lanka

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