Written by Staff Writer
28 Sep, 2019 | 9:44 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st):- The remains of another three elephants, suspected to have died of food poisoning, were found today (September 28) increasing the total count to seven. For the onlookers, it was heartbreaking to see how this elephant calf remained close to his mother, who no longer breathed. The remains of four elephants were first discovered last morning, in the Habarana, Digampathana, Hiriwadunna and Thumbikulama forest reserves.
The remains of two elephants were then discovered near the Hiriwadunna tank, while the remains of the other two elephants were discovered inside the forest reserve adjacent to the tank. The remains of another elephant was discovered this morning, near the Hiriwadunna tank. Subseqeuntly, the remains of another two elephants were dicovered in the Thumbikulama forest reserve. Accordingly, as of now, the remains of seven elephants, all between the ages of 20 and 30, have been discovered.
Subsequently, wildlife officers launched a search operation in an attempt to search for the remains of more elephants. Thereby seven teams were engaged in operations across the Thumbi-Kulama forest reserve. Chandra Bandaranayaka of the Sigiriya Wildlife site protection said, there was suspicion as to whether these elephants died of food poisoning. However, the post mortem that was performed on the remains of two elephants yesterday, did not reveal an exact reason for the death of these elephants.
Wildlife veterinary surgeon in Girithale, Dinusha de Silva prepared to perform the post mortem on the remains of another elephant this morning, however, the procedure had to be delayed, as the calf of the deceased elephant refused to leave his mother. Subsequently, the wildlife officers were compelled to sedate the elephant calf and perform the post mortem. The postmortem on the remaining elephant is due to be performed.
Speaking to News 1st, the Assistant Director in charge of the Polonnaruwa region of the Wildlife Department, W.D.M.J. Wickramasinghe said that since revealing certain information would pose a threat for further investigations, that she could only state the fact that these deaths were a result of some form of human activity. She further said that they are in the process of obtaining a report based on the data gathered so far. The assistant director added that they could assume that the deceased elephants were part of a herd.
He further said that if the investigations do not turn out to be a success that the samples will be sent to the research department to ascertain the cause of the death. She added that if they conclude that the death of these elephants were caused due to human activity that the necessary legal action will be taken against the responsible parties.
Director-General of the Department of Wildlife Conservation Chandana Sooriyabandara says, remains of the elephants will be sent to the Government Analyst’s Department. The Director-General said, although a post mortem examination was done on the remains of the elephants, a definite reason for the cause of the deaths had not been ascertained. The Director-General added that a probe into the deaths has been launched by the Department of Wildlife Conservation as well as the Police.
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