Written by Zulfick Farzan
09 Sep, 2020 | 2:11 pm
Colombo (News 1st); The report of the five-member committee appointed to probe the damage caused to Anawilundawa Wetland Sanctuary in Puttalam was tabled in Parliament by Minister C. B. Rathnayake.
The Director-General of Wildlife had instructed all wildlife officers to enforce the provisions of the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance and to increase mobile patrols in protected areas, said the Minister, adding the assistance of Sri Lanka Police was obtained for this purpose.
No one will be permitted to cause destruction to protected areas, irrespective of their status and position, affirmed the Minister.
On the 28th of August, in a statement, the Department of Wildlife and Forest Conservation said in terms of the Flora and Fauna Protection Ordinance, this 1397 hectares land has been declared as a sanctuary on 11th May 1997, and on August 25th, 2020, the mangrove ecosystem in the sanctuary has been cleared using machinery illegally when there were no officers from the Department of Wildlife and Forest Conservation in the vicinity.
The department said the area where illegal activity had taken place is approximately 0.697 hectares.
The destruction was caused at a time when a program was to be implemented to regrow and restore the mangrove ecosystem in the sanctuary.
The Department of Wildlife and Forest Conservation said the incident was reported to wildlife officials on 26th August 2020.
Further, the Minister went on to note the alleged destruction to a section of the 5660 acre of land in Wanathawilluwa will also be probed by the Ministry of Environment adding he will not hesitate to take strict action on any perpetrator.
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