Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Sinharaja elephants to be transferred to protection center

A project to establish a protection center to translocate the two rare elephants in the Sinharaja forest Reserve is in progress.

The Minister of Sustainable Development, Wildlife and Regional Development Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka has proposed the exaction of sixty-two hectares of land from the Parugala area in Dolekanda Grama Niladhari division of Kalawana, which consists of adaptable environmental conditions for the two elephants.

The proposal has also received the Cabinet approval.

The attention of the government has been drawn to the recent damages to lives and properties in vicinity of Sinharaja Forest Reserve, and the protection of the two wild elephants.

Meanwhile the proposal to establish a protection centre for the two rare elephants in the Sinharaja forest reserve has received massive backlash from environmentalists.

The environmental organizations oppose the confinement of the two elephants, roaming in the Sinharaja forest reserve that spreads over 11,189 hectares, to an area of 50 acres with an electric fence.

They point out that the authorities should heed to implement more practical solutions to the human-elephant conflict.

Last month, the President instructed the Secretary for the Ministry of Environment and the Director General of the Department of Wildlife Conservation to keep the two rare elephants in the Sinharaja Forest Reserve, a World Heritage site, until a decision is taken after formulating a proper procedure.

He instructed that further steps should be taken after consulting a group of experts in the regard and following a scientific study by those experts, if there is any need to relocate these elephants.

Authorities had planned to translocate the two elephants to the Horowpathana elephant protection centre, however environmental conservationists had vehemently opposed the  move.

The ‘Protect Sri Lanka’ national movement had claimed that UNESCO has notified Sri Lanka’s Department of Wildlife Conservation that the Sinharaja Forest Reserve will be at risk of losing its status as a World Heritage Site if the two wild elephants roaming the reserve are translocated.

It also charged that if the government follows through with that decision, the public will have to suffer the dangerous consequences.

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