President orders not to relocate the two elephants at Sinharaja

President orders not to relocate the two elephants at Sinharaja

June 14, 2018   05:26 pm

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President Maithripala Sirisena has instructed the Secretary for the Ministry of Environment and the Director General of the Department of Wildlife Conservation to keep the two rare elephants in the Sinharaja Forest Reserve, a World Heritage site until a decision is taken after formulating a proper procedure.

The President further instructed the Secretary for the Ministry of Environment Mr. Anura Dissanayake and the Director General of the Department of Wildlife Conservation Mr. Anura Saturusinghe if there is any need to relocate these elephants, further steps should be taken after consulting a group of experts in the regard and following a scientific study by those experts.

President Sirisena has given these instructions during a meeting held with the officials of the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment, today (14), the President’s Media Division said. 

President Maithripala Sirisena further instructed the officials to take steps to conserve the animals within the lands that belong to them in order to protect the wild elephants.

The President also showed the importance of the responsibility behind protecting the Sinharaja forest which has a bio diversity valued by the entire world.

In order to prevent the harm caused by these two elephants to the people residing in the area, President Sirisena advised to complete the construction of a protective elephant fence as early as possible.

Mr. Ajith Mannapperuma who was newly appointed as the Deputy Minister of Environment started his duties in his position and President Maithripala Sirisena also joined this event.

Then the President also held this discussion with the officials of the ministries. Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera and other officials were also present in this discussion.

Authorities had planned to translocate the two elephants to the Horowpathana elephant protection centre, however environmental conservationists had vehemently opposed this move. 

Chairman of the  ‘Protect Sri Lanka’ national movement, Ven. Pahiyangala Ananda Sagara Thero, speaking at a press conference held in Colombo on Wednesday (13), had said that if the government follows through with that decision, the public will have to suffer the dangerous consequences.

He also claimed that UNESCO has notified Sri Lanka’s Department of Wildlife Conservation that the Sinharaja Forest Reserve will be at risk of losing its status as a World Heritage Site if the two wild elephants roaming the reserve are translocated.

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