he Federation of Environmental Organisations in Sri Lanka, an umbrella organisation for the conservation community, in an open letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Clinton Global Initiative, New York, USA described the tragedy faced by Sri Lankan elephants and many vices related to it.
The Federation of Environmental Organizations (FEO) in Sri Lanka is a non-political and non-partisan organization that seeks to provide a platform for connecting diverse interest groups with a patriotic interest in safeguarding Sri Lanka’s natural heritage through conservation and advocacy.
The FEO has noted with pleasure Your Excellency’s commitment to support the Elephant Action Network under the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), and to work towards conserving these magnificent but endangered animals. The long history and cultural ties the people of Sri Lanka have had with elephants enable us to support one of the largest populations of Asian elephants in the world.
The FEO therefore takes this opportunity to draw Your Excellency’s attention to the issues that need to be addressed to continue with these ties, that we can proudly include in the principles and commitments espoused by the CGI.
1. Capture of Baby Elephants From the Wild
Your Excellency would have recently noted the numerous reports on the deplorable practice of capturing baby elephants from the wild. Since the authorities have been unable or disinclined to enforce the law it has led to a burgeoning trade in baby elephants. Not only is this practice illegal, but it also usually entails the slaughter of the mother elephants to capture the babies, that are then subjected to extremely cruel treatment resulting in the death of many. We therefore appeal to you to ensure that the existing provisions of law are strictly applied and enforced to stop this practice.
2. Blood Ivory at Sri Lanka Customs
Your Excellency is no doubt aware of the confiscation of a large stock of Blood Ivory that was intercepted by Sri Lanka Customs in 2012 and is now in storage under their charge. The CGI explicitly recognizes the close links between the trade in ivory and terrorist groups and terrorism, which you successfully eliminated in our country. We therefore, call upon you to demonstrate your sincere commitment to the CGI’s effort by publicly burning the stock of blood ivory, as has been done by many other countries with a similar commitment to stop the brutal practice of killing elephants and supporting global terrorism.
The FEO cordially requests Your Excellency, President Rajapaksa and the Clinton Global Initiative to follow through with your commitment to protect Sri Lanka’s natural heritage to a peaceful and safe global society.
THE FEDERATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
Trustees Arittha Wickramanayake, Dr. Rishani Gunasingha, Rohan Wijesinha, Rukshan Jayawardene, Sharmini Ratwatte, Sunela Jayawardene, Radhika Philip and Rahula Perera.