Tear-jerking photos show a herd of elephants scavenging through trash and feasting on plastic waste at an open landfill that is encroaching on their natural habitat.
The upsetting pictures were taken by photographer Tharmaplan Tilaxan in Oluvil, Sri Lanka, where a growing open rubbish dump is located just on the border of a forest that is home to local fauna including herds of elephants.
“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,” Tilaxan explained.
According to the reports, several districts in the area dump their waste at the open landfill that borders the natural habitat of dozens of elephants.
In search of food, the giant mammals in the area have learned to visit and explore the rubbish dump encroaching on their home. While a fence had reportedly been set up in an attempt to keep the animals at bay, the elephants had no problem breaking through it.
As the landfill has grown in size, the land has become covered in plastic trash and dangerous waste that elephants are freely feasting on.
According to the reports, undigested waste has been found in the wild animals’ excrements. Meanwhile, plastic waste was also found in the stomachs of local elephants during postmortems.
Besides the impacts on the local environment and the herd consisting of some thirty elephants, the landfill in question has caused the elephants to venture further out of their natural habitat and invade nearby paddy fields.
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