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Disturbing Photo of Elephants Feeding at Garbage Dump in Sri Lanka Wins Prestigious Photo Award

A disturbing photo of elephants foraging in garbage has won the Royal Society of Biology Award this year | Image credit: Facebook

A disturbing photo of elephants foraging in garbage has won the Royal Society of Biology Award this year | Image credit: Facebook

The image, titled 'The story Of Pallakaddu Elephants', was captured by Jaffna-based documentary filmmaker and photographer Tharmapalan Tilaxan at a garbage dump near a wildlife sanctuary in Ampara.

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Buzz Staff

A stark image of a herd of elephants feeding at a garbage dump in Sri Lanka has won the Royal Society of Biology (RSB) photo competition this year.

The image was captured by Jaffna-based documentary filmmaker and photographer Tharmapalan Tilaxan at a garbage dump near a wildlife sanctuary in Ampara. Titled 'The story Of Pallakaddu Elephants', the photograph conveys a disturbing message about the changing face of Earth. It also beat several other photographers that had been selected for the final round of the reputed RSB competition, whose theme this year was "Our Changing World".

Following his victory, Tilaxan took to Facebook to share the news as well as the spectacular image. "I am so honored to be here in this wonderful platform of photographers and grateful to be the recipient of this award," he wrote.

The award was announced at a ceremony in London recently and Tilaxan also won a £1,000 cash prize for the image.

The garbage dump facility located at Oluvil, where the images were taken, receives dump from a number of nearby regions in Ampara including Sammanthurai, Karaitheevu, Kalmunai, Alaiyadi Vembu, and others.

The dump is also extremely close to the protected forest zone in Ampara which is home to several elephants. The image highlights the plight of the animals that are being driven to forage garbage due to loss of habitat. It also is a reminder of the elephant-human conflict in the area.

While elephants themselves are unable to find food, residents including farmers who live in surrounding villages also perennially face the threat of attacks from wild elephants.

The Sri Lankan government in 2017 banned the dumping of garbage near wildlife sanctuaries to discourage elephants from foraging for rotting food scraps and risking their lives.

As an immediate measure, the cabinet ordered that electric fences be erected around more than 50 dumps near elephant habitats to keep the roaming beasts away.

(With inputs from AFP)


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