By Corey Everitt
A Pakenham local is calling on others to join him in fundraising efforts to protect elephants in Sri Lanka.
Lakeside resident Kuma Perera is an avid painter and wants to offer his paintings to raise funds for a vital project that will help elephants in central Sri Lanka.
With elephants as the subject, Kuma is planning to run galleries, auction paintings and, most of all, get others involved in providing financial support to the construction of a fence in Sri Lanka that will protect elephants.
“Last year alone, 430 elephants died and this keeps on happening, so I just want to do whatever I can to stop this,” Kuma said.
“I just want to have some sort of protection for them so at least they can contain them inside that area because it is so sad when you see it.”
As people populate the territories of elephants, the frequency of encounters between the two rises.
With more encounters, more dangerous or invasive incidents occur on farms or dwellings.
With more incidents, more humans and elephants are killed due to these hard to manage situations.
With the help of the Sri Lankan Government, locals in the central part of the country are attempting to construct approximately 97 kilometres of fence that can assist in reducing these uncontrolled encounters and reduce fatalities of both humans and elephants.
“They are building the fence already, but they are just struggling with the funds,” Kuma said.
“So I just want to do what I can do just to help them, a lot of people are happy to join with me, but I need a voice.”
Having set up the charity that will get the funds to the project, Kuma is hoping to start organising ways in which he can raise funds through his passion for painting.
Building upon a set of his pieces depicting elephants, Kuma plans to find ways of raising funds with them.
“I just want to spread my word to everybody to join me. I’m planning to have an art exhibition with just elephants and encourage people to be a part of it and on that day we can get donations to put towards that,” Kuma said.
“I’m trying to sell, auction, whatever that I can do I’m just doing from my side as well, plus people can donate.”
He hopes to work with institutions to help promote and spread the word. Already he has promising signs for a gallery with Greater Dandenong Council.
However, while he is in the initial stages, he wants to call out for others who care for the lives of elephants to join him.
Whether it be producing art and products of their own, donating directly or joining in efforts to organise and spread the word.
“I started it, but I’m calling everyone to join with me,” Kuma said.
“They are in Sri Lanka, of course, but it’s a world thing, we have to protect them for the future generation to see.
“If you are sad about it, so we do something about it together, I can’t do it only by myself.”
If you wish to get in touch with Kuma, you can email email@example.com