Saturday, January 17, 2009

Wild life experts lock horns over baby elephant transfers

Kumudini Hettiarachchi, Sunday Times
January 1, 2009

As controversy surrounded preparations to transfer two “babies” from the Elephant Transit Home (ETH) at Uda Walawe to the Pinnawela Orphanage, opinion among activists was divided whether this was a good or bad move.

“We are hoping to move ‘Atlas’ and another baby elephant from ETH to Pinnawela on Sunday (today) or this week,” said W.A.D.A. Wijesooriya, Director-General of the Department of Wild Life Conservation (DWLC), when contacted by The Sunday Times.

The Sunday Times reliably learns that the transfer of baby elephants will take place today. (January 11)
When asked whether the transfer was to ensure that foreign tourists could see babies being bottle-fed milk at Pinnawela as alleged by conservationists, the Director-General was quick to reject it, saying that the ETH was overcrowded. “Whereas there should only be about 20-25 elephants there, we have about 35,” he said.

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