COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Aug. 16 (UPI) — Sri Lanka says it has completed the first nationwide survey of its elephant population, intended to increase protection of the animals and their habitat.
The results of the survey in which 3.500 people counted the pachyderms from watchtowers near 1,500 watering holes and lakes will be released in a few weeks, the BBC reported.
The survey was an attempt to classify the animals by age and gather data on their movements and distribution, government wildlife officials said.
Sri Lanka is a mainly Buddhist country where elephants are revered as sacred, but conflict between farmers and elephants results in dozens of human and elephant deaths each year, the BBC reported.
The survey results would help minimize the ongoing clashes and help select new protected areas for the elephants, government wildlife official R.B. Dissanayake said.