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Sri Lanka To Release Elephants

June 28, 2000

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Sri Lankan forest officials will release five orphaned elephants into the wild, a conservation official said Wednesday.

The elephants, which are about five years old, will be moved out of a state-run elephant transit home and taken to a wildlife sanctuary Saturday.

It was the second time that elephants were to be released in the wild since the project began three years ago. The first batch of four elephants were released into the sanctuary in 1998, said wildlife director A.P.A. Gunasekera.

There are 29 baby elephants currently in the transit home.

The animals will be fitted with radio collars to monitor their movement, he said.

The elephants were rescued after they got separated from their herds or were wounded in the ongoing civil war.

The Biodiversity and Elephant Conservation Trust has said 131 elephants were killed in 1998, compared to 115 in 1997.

This South Asian nation is home to 2,500 to 3,000 wild elephants.

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