“Wildlife laws should be amended and new laws should be implemented for common animal species that are considered threat to humans. There are about 6,000 elephants in the country and its population is increasing rapidly. 6,000 elephants are too many for Sri Lankan forests to sustain. 4,000 elephants are more than enough. The laws should be amended to rear elephants as pets and surplus wild-elephants should be sold to other countries to control the elephant population. If laws had been enforced to legalise the killing of wild boars and monkeys, people should be allowed to sell their meat as well. No one fusses about killing of mosquitoes. The social dialog regarding animal rights has become no more practical.”
“This was done to prevent commercial misuse. On the other hand, the Asian Elephant has been identified as a globally endangered species and hence it has been listed in Appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES Convention) as well. In fact we will also be hosting the CITES Convention of Parties (COP) in 2019. The statement has to be taken seriously because it will tarnish the image of the country as it was told by a person in the Parliament. In addition to that he also mentioned about legalizing the killing of monkeys and wild boars. Although wild boars are not a protected species, they neither could be killed nor sold for meat. Since we abide by Buddhist doctrines and speak so much about compassion, the trade of animal flesh isn’t allowed.”
“This will also encourage people involved in nefarious activities or those who are attempting to do them to go ahead with their agendas. I believe that people, who are members of the highest legislative body of the country, should always speak in the best interest of the country.”
“This is because the Government of Sri Lanka is a signatory to the CITES Convention—which is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. CITES is an international agreement between governments which aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. The Asian Elephant (Elephas Maximus), which includes the Sri Lankan sub-species, is listed as a species where international trade is strictly prohibited. As a signatory to CITES, the Government of Sri Lanka has already accepted that the Asian Elephant will not be traded.”
“The Deputy Minister’s statement becomes even more damaging when one considers the fact that the Government of Sri Lanka has volunteered to host the next CITES Conference in Sri Lanka in 2019. If Sri Lanka sells its elephants to foreign countries as proposed by the Deputy Minister, the Government of Sri Lanka will have the unique distinction of being the first country to be expelled from CITES at the conference hosted by them. The sad plight of Sri Lanka is that politicians think they are experts on everything just because they are appointed as Ministers (and deputies) and make ignorant, irresponsible statements jeopardizing the credibility of a nation, as has been done in this instance.”
“As of today with a dwindling elephant population, their conservation has become a major issue of concern in Sri Lanka. Besides, it is not elephants, but humans who are responsible for HEC. Experts have recommended scientific measures to mitigate HEC, but have they been considered seriously? Then there is the cruelty aspect. The nation’s elephant acknowledged as the “Star of Sri Lanka’s Wildlife” should be in the wilds, not in foreign zoos where they will live in strange climatic conditions, deprived of their natural habitat where they forage, bathe, play in rivers and roam vast territories with their herds. There are several tragic instances of elephants gifted to other countries, like Mali, in the Manila zoo who remain isolated in a barren enclosure for over forty years, Saheli gifted to Pakistan alleged to have been poisoned, Kadir put down in the Prague zoo when that zoo was flooded, Kaavan in Pakistan suffering from a mental illness due to prolonged isolation and Jayathu gifted to the US when only twenty months old, dying within weeks of arrival, of a mysterious illness. In fact, at present there is a case filed by a group of us seeking court intervention to stop a baby elephant being sent to the Auckland zoo.”
Ramesh : We are a Nation who exports everything thing that we have. So, we shouldn't be surprised about sending our elephants, monkeys and other animals too. It’s good if it stops only with elephants. Why don’t we export the entire lot (including citizens) who are here so that only the Parliamentarians can stay?Mangalika : Don’t destroy forests. They must have enough space as we do. When every government comes into power -the first thing they touch is the forests, in the name of development. Sadly some of our people approve of that. So how can you solve that unless children are taught from childhood how to appreciate the environment? The destruction of forests in Uva-Wellassa, by this government has caused a lot of problems. When one talks against that he will be labelled as a person who is against progress. So how do you balance progress and destruction of nature?Dev : How does he define excess? What qualifications does he possess to come to that conclusion? These are our natural resources and we need to protect them. How does this fall under his remit as a Deputy Minister of Skills Development and Vocational Training? I suggest that he stick to his portfolio without talking about subjects he clearly has no knowledge about. Leave wildlife to the experts.Nirmalie : Please explain where he is thinking of exporting these wild animals too. Zoos are going out of fashion in many counties as natural habitats are being favoured. So if we are going to export our wild animals then we will need to make sure they have their natural habitat and the correct climatic conditions. May be a better idea would be to restrict new birth numbers in a scientific and humane way. Also would be good if we stop destroying their natural habitats.Shamilka : The first politician I have heard of in Sri Lanka to promote the slaughter of wild boars and even recommending it for selling as meat. So much for a country that is proud of its Buddhist doctrines.Ana : Wild boar has to be controlled in the hills of Sri Lanka as it destroy many cash crops. The farmers suffer many losses. Hence, there should be a solution for the farming community as well. Illegally they are being shot and even sold for meat. But let the system decide what could be done to control this issue.