Written by Amani Nilar
17 Aug, 2021 | 12:27 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st): A suspect was arrested in connection with the killing and dismembering of a wild elephant in Block 03 of the Yala National Park.
The Wildlife Department said the arrested suspect has been identified as the owner of the firearm allegedly used in the shooting.
Meanwhile, three investigations, carried out by the Wildlife Department, the Police and as a joint investigation are currently underway into the incident.
Relevant investigations into the wildlife crime are being carried out under the direction of an Assistant Director of Wildlife Department.
According to him, the matter has been reported to the court and the autopsy has been completed, however the last rites of the elephant will be performed on a Court order.
The Department stated that in addition to shooting the elephant, the growing tusks of the elephant has also been taken away.
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 on Monday (16) claimed 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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