Regrettably, there is a danger for trekkers in Sri Lanka unknown to many foreigners. We do not want to frighten you and not to push you to use our services by dubious scarce stories. Indeed, we would be much more happy not to have this problem in Sri Lanka. So what we are talking about in today’s blogpost?
Trekkers and hikers in Sri Lanka face a risk of being wounded or even killed by trap guns in every province of Sri Lanka. The risks are higher in the Cultural Triangle and North-Western and Eastern Province than in the Central, Western and Southern Provinces. Spring guns are used by poachers and, much more frequently, by farmers who intend to protect crop and livestock from wild elephants, boars, deers, porcupines and leopards. Each year people get injured or permanently disabled or even killed by trap guns of poachers and of those locals trying to protect their paddy fields. Victims are playing children, neighbouring farmers, forestry workers, Wildlife Department officials and police officers. The trap gun has a feature that is similar to most landmines: both are activated by the victim. There are many incidents related to trap guns in Sri Lanka not being reported due to various reasons. For instance, most of the victims are family members or neighbours.
How to prevent to become a victim of illegal trap guns? There is no such risk in areas which are frequented regularly by hikers and trekkers, for example on Horton Plains or at Deanston in the Kuckles Range. But what to do in unknown areas? Our advice is:
1. You should always spend a little bit more money for secure holidays and ask for the assistance of a local guide. This is highly recommendable anyway, because there are other risks in wildlife areas, too, particularly wild elefants cause fatal incidents almost every week.
2. You should not leave the treks and pathes. When using the “bush toilet”, ask your guide where to leave the jungle path.
Only be aware of the risks, there is no reason to panic or to avoid hiking and trekking in Sri Lanka. Until know, no foreigner became a victim of trap guns.
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