Written by Bella Dalima
28 Feb, 2014 | 8:46 pm
A woman has been killed in Ambalantota after being dragged away by a crocodile.
Residents say that she was dragged away when she was collecting water from a tributary of the Walawe River.
People in Ambalantota rely on the Walawe River and its tributaries for their day to day water needs.
The woman was dragged away by a crocodile in Ambalantota on Thursday evening when she was collecting water from the Karagasara Anicut. The victim was a fifty-seven-year-old mother of four from Dehigahalanda. The woman’s husband had begun to look for his wife when she did not return home. He had searched for her near the anicut.
Her body was found at about 7:30 Thursday night in a marshland located about a kilometre away from the anicut. On several occasions News1st has highlighted the threat posed by crocodiles to residents around the Walawe River.
Residents said that crocodiles are prolific in the Walawe River from the river mouth in Ambalantota to about two kilometres upriver.
District Secretary of Hambantota, R.C. Soysa said: “Money has been allocated this year to build crocodile fences, through a permanent programme and to raise awareness among the people in order to mitigate the risk, with the assistance of the Ministry of Disaster Management and the Ministry of Economic Development. As a result of the chronic water shortage there is a risk of crocodiles wandering onto land. We are raising awareness about this through the Disaster Management Unit.”
Crocodile attacks were also a frequent occurrence recently around the Nilwala River. Newsfirst made inquiries into the present situation at the Nilwala River.
District Secretary of Matara, G.A.C. Vidanagamachchi said that the fences have been erected for the people to enter the river through projects of the Ministry of Disaster Management and the Ministry of Fisheries. At the same time the community aroubnd the Nilwala River have been made aware of the risk and informed not to bathe in the river except in the fenced off areas.
Last year, authorities said that crocodiles living in the Nilwala River would be captured and relocated to crocodile conservation centers being constructed by the Department of Wildlife Conservation.
However, this task has not been carried out as yet.
As regard, Minister of Wildlife Resource Conservation Vijith Wijayamuni Zoysa shared these views:
” Building crocodile conservation centres cannot be done in an instant. We need money. Through this budget, the President has allocated funds. Building a crocodile fence is a simple task and it need not be undertaken by a Ministry. The public representatives in the area should intervene when it comes to the problems of their people. They should build these crocodile fences. Just because there is a Ministry regarding animals it does not mean that everything that animals do should be piled onto that ministry alone.”
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