ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 47

Elephant killers at large

By C.B. Perera, Colombo 4

It is heartbreaking to look at The Sunday Times Plus photograph of the elephant that starved to death at Lunugamvehera. The Page 3 story of homeguards being suspected of killing wild elephants is even sadder. If these homeguards are incapable of understanding that these weapons are given to them for the protection of villages and not for target practice on wild animals, then they should be relieved of these posts.

Soldiers of the regular army who act with far more responsibility should be entrusted with the protection of these villages in the region. According to The Sunday Times news item, 65 elephants have been shot dead last year and 19 during the first three months of this year. Shouldn’t there be an attempt to arrest the homeguards who are responsible for this carnage?

Elephant drives are carried out at the whims of the Wildlife Department. Elephants which have lived all their lives in their natural surroundings are driven with their babies (who perish on the way) for the purpose of making space available for new settlers brought in from elsewhere. So now we have elephants being trapped by electric fences and moats. With insufficient food, these majestic creatures starve to death.

Immediate action should be taken to solve this pressing problem. Why is there a deafening silence from wildlife NGOs?

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.