TUSKERS AT RISK: Activists raise flag of concern

TUSKERS AT RISK: Activists raise flag of concern

TUSKERS AT RISK: Activists raise flag of concern

Written by Zulfick Farzan

16 Aug, 2021 | 12:42 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st); The Department of Wildlife appointed a special team on Monday (16) to investigate the death of a wild elephant found dismembered inside the Yala National Park Block 03 on Sunday (15).

The Director-General of the Department of Wildlife Chandana Sooriyabandara speaking to News 1st three separate investigations are taking place with respect to the incident.

“The Department is conducting one investigation and Sri Lanka Police is conducting a separate investigation. In addition, a joint investigation is also taking place,’ he said.

Authorities have already reported facts to the court with regard to the incident and the burial of the dead wild elephant will take place as per a court order.

Investigations have revealed that the wild elephant was shot dead and then dismembered.

In addition that the elephants growing tusks were also taken away from, the investigations revealed.

Environmentalists warn that the lives of three other wild elephants living in Yala Block 03 are also at risk following this incident.

Nayanaka Ranwella, a wildlife activist claims that when observing the images of the dead wild elephant it was evident that the shot was fired at its head from a forward position.

‘We urged the authorities to immediately trace the bullet and rifle used to kill this elephant and produce them as evidence to the court,’ he added.

He said the dismembering of the elephant was a premeditated crime to remove the elephant’s tusks, as a chain saw was used for this purpose.

The last occasion when a chainsaw was used was when the tusks of the Mahakanadarawa Elephant were removed, he added.

‘There is growing concern over the mysterious disappearance of the Mahasen Tusker, several years ago,’ said Nayanaka Ranwella adding no proper investigation took place over the incident.

In addition, a skull of a large wild elephant was found in the Yala National Park buffer zone and it was evident the tusks of the elephant were removed, he pointed out.

Ranwella said it is clear that is a massive operation taking place targeting tuskers in the country.

Over the years, Sri Lanka’s wild elephant population has seen a gradual decline due to the Human-Elephant conflict.

According to reports, there are approximately 4,000 to 5,000 wild elephants in the country and 1% of them are tuskers, as authorities claim it has become a challenge to protect the tuskers due to inhumane acts by poachers

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