Sri Lanka’s civil war left a lasting fear in the country’s birds

More than a decade after Sri Lanka’s civil war ended, wild birds are still wary of humans in areas of the country that saw armed conflict

Life



26 October 2021

By Jake Buehler

A cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) stands near a roadway in Sri Lanka. Birds in the country still fear humans years after the end of a civil war.

A cattle egret stands near a roadway in Sri Lanka

Michael Weston

Sri Lanka’s civil war lasted 26 years, coming to an end in 2009. But the country’s birds haven’t forgotten.

“There were many incidents reported, while growing up in Sri Lanka, of landmines causing injury or death to animals in war zones,” says Jonathan Gnanapragasam at Deakin University in Burwood, Australia.

He and his colleagues have found that in former war zones, wild birds are still wary of humans, while birds in areas that didn’t see armed conflict during the …

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