Colombo: Sri Lanka will relocate over 200 wild elephants to develop a new airport and massive games city in the south of the country in a bid to host the Commonwealth Games, Xinhua reported Thursday.
Sri Lanka is bidding to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the coastal city Hambantota. If selected, a massive games city will be developed at the selected location which borders a national park.
"Some 200 elephants will be relocated from parts of Hambantota where the massive development is expected to take place and they will be shifted to Weheragala in Monaragala situated 60 km from Hambantota," said Minister of Agrarian Services and Wildlife S.M. Chandrasena.
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A Sri Lankan environmental group, however, said it will strongly protest the move as shifting the elephants will affect their natural habitat.
Banduranga Kariyawasam of the Green Campaign of Sri Lanka told Xinhua that Sri Lanka has already begun constructing the new airport in the area and the runway of the airport goes between an elephant corridor.
Kariyawasam said environmental groups are preparing to go to court against the environmental impact being created by the construction of the games city.
A delegation from the Commonwealth Federation was in Sri Lanka last week to evaluate Sri Lanka's bid for the 2018 event. Australia's Gold Coast is the other city bidding to host the Games.