Environmentalists demand tough action – Killing of elephants (Sri Lanka)


Maheesha Mudugamuwa, The Island

Date Published

See link for photo.

Following the recent killing of the Galgamuwa Tusker, environmentalist have been calling upon the government to declare the killing of any wild elephant as a crime and legalistate for stringent punishment to be meted out to the perpetrators. 

During a media briefing in Colombo on Wednesday, environmentalists said legislation should be introduced that adequately reflected the gravity of the offence and justice meted out accordingly and those who committed such offences considered traitors. 

Lashing out at the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) for not having a proper national policy to tackle the human-elephant conflict, the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) urged the Wildlife and Sustainable Development Minister to immediately implement the National Policy on Human-Elephant Co-existence (HEC) drafted last year. 

The National Policy on HEC was drafted in mid-2016 by a committee set up by the Minister in 2015 to upgrade the draft policy of 2006, which has also not been implemented, according to the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS). 

The Committee was chaired by Dr. Prithiviraj Fernando, a leading expert on elephant conservation and human-elephant conflict mitigation in the country. It consisted of senior officers of the DWC, both past and present as well as representatives from the Forestry Department (FD), officials of the Ministry, conservation organisations and eminent academics. 

WNPS President Rukshan Jayawardene urged the Minister to place the final draft for public scrutiny and comment and thereafter and ensure that the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) would adopt it with or without ammendments to find solutions to the wildlife related problems. 

Jayewardene said the National Policy on HEC included proposals for strategic fencing and habitat enrichment among other things. 

According to WPNS, only about six percent of male elephants in Sri Lanka have tusks and they numbered about 100.