By Risidra Mendis, The Sunday Leader
April 12, 2009
A pair of tusks presented to President Mahinda Rajapakse by Environment Minister Champika Ranawaka has created an uproar among environmentalists.
The presentation of the tusks to President Mahinda Rajapakse at Temple Trees two weeks ago though not illegal has been criticised by environmentalists and the public, who feel that the Minister should set an example to the public by not making such presentations.
Speaking to The Sunday Leader environmentalists said even though there are special provisions for the head of state, ministers and the wildlife director to present a pair of tusks with an authorised permit, the Minister should set an example to the public by not making announcements when presenting tusks to the President.
"The elephant population is rapidly decreasing in the country. According to recent surveys the elephant human conflict and killing these animals for their tusks are the main reasons for their dwindling population. A large number of elephants were killed during the recent past and their tusks used for decorative accessories in the country. At a time when animal welfare activists and environmentalists are fighting to save the dwindling elephant population in the country the Environment Minister is presenting a pair of tusks to the President," environmentalists said, requesting anonymity in view of the fact that the tusks had been donated to the President.
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