Written by Bella Dalima
01 Mar, 2014 | 10:17 pm
An elephant calf which was being kept illegally in the Mirigama area, using false documentation, has been relocated to the Lunugamwehera Wildlife Office after being taken into the custody of wildlife officials.
A senior official at the Wildlife Department said the calf would be taken to the Elephant Sanctuary in Udawala following a health examination.
The four-year-old elephant calf was discovered at the Kandalama Walawwa in, Mirigama on Friday evening, when the Department of Wildlife Conservation carried out a raid based on a tip off.
It was reported that the inhabitants of the house had fled when the raid was being carried out and that the only person in the house was an employee.
Although a document claiming the calf was registered had been presented to wildlife officers, it was later proven to be a fake.
Environmentalist, Pubudu Weeraratne said; “When this calf was registered in 2012, its height was noted as 4 feet 5 inches, However, today the calf’s height was 4 feet 7 inches. Over a two year period the calf’s height had only increased by an inch. Thereby, it was established that the documents were false and that the calf had been captured from the wild and was being kept inhumanely and was being tamed. We ask that the authorities seize calves that are being kept in this fashion.”
Environmentalists say that although the calf was being kept in Mirigama, the address on the permit had been listed as Old Road in Meegoda.
Wildlife Officers say that the calf was in chains when they took it into their custody and had sustained wounds on three of its feet.
Environmentalists say that Wildlife Officers also found an adult elephant that was being kept at this residence with false documentation.
Environmentalist added; “Over the recent past we have revealed through the media that calves are being kept illegally in this was across Sri Lanka. At the same time several instances where calves were being captured from the wild and were being kept in this manner were also reported. This activity is continuing in the form of a racket.”
The two elephants that were seized by the wildlife officers have been brought before the Attanagalla Additional Magistrate.
The Additional Magistrate ordered that the calf be taken to the Ethathura Sevana sanctuary in Udawala and that the adult be taken to the Pinnawala Elephant orphanage.
We made inquiries from the Mirigama Police as to whether the owners of the residence in question had been arrested.
A senior officer said that while the police provided security when the two elephants were taken into the custody of wildlife officers, further investigations are being carried out by the Department of Wildlife Conservation.
News1st made several attempts, to contact the Director General of the Department of Wildlife Conservation to inquire into what legal action would be initiated against persons who keep elephants illegally, in this manner.
Our attempts were not successful.
The calf that was taken into the custody of Wildlife Officers on Friday was brought, to the Lunugamwehera Wildlife Office on Saturday.
Wildlife Veterinarian, Dr. W.A. Dharmakeerthi said that as the elephant had been held in a domestic setting, it would be tested for diseases like tuberculosis prior to being taken to the Ethathura Sevana sanctuary in Udawalawa.
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