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Wildlife groups boycott Sri Lankan elephant census

Wildlife groups say they will boycott Sri Lanka's census of elephants because the country plans to capture some of the animals.

The groups had agreed to deploy about 200 volunteers to help Sri Lanka count its elephant population starting Thursday. But in announcing the boycott, the groups called the census a "smoke screen" to capture and tame elephants.

The Sri Lankan Wildlife Department said Tuesday it will go ahead with the count aimed at gathering information on the elephants and helping prepare conservation policies.

The elephants will be counted as they come to drink from water holes, reservoirs and tanks.

Wildlife Minister S.M. Chandransena has said 300 young elephants will be captured and handed over to Buddhist temples after the census.