COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, May 7 (UPI) -- Amid increasing human-elephant conflicts ending in the deaths of many of the big animals, Sri Lanka says it is establishing a national conservation center.
Deputy Economic Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywaradana said the decision to create a National Elephant Conservation Center had been made to streamline protection techniques and address those conflicts, Xinhua reported Saturday.
"We will establish the center in an area called Horowapathana, about 220 kilometers [135 miles] from Colombo, where elephant density is high," he said.
A census last year found an elephant population of 5,879 animals, 1,107 of which were baby elephants, he said.
Since the survey was completed in October, there have been reports of at least 100 elephant deaths, officials said.
No timeline was announced for setting up the center, which will cost about $1.45 million.