A promise from Additional Secretary Wildlife to drive wild elephants

Samanthi Ranasinghe, Additional Secretary of the Department of Wildlife and Forest Conservation, said that programs are being implemented under several stages to reduce the damage caused to crops by wild animals.

She further said that under this, several options are being considered, including the evacuation of wild elephants to nearby sanctuaries.

The Additional Secretary made these comments during a special discussion held at the Minipe Divisional Secretariat yesterday to provide solutions to the problems faced by the farmers in the Minipe Wildlife Zone.

The discussion was held under the chairmanship of Kandy District Secretary Chandana Tennakoon to resolve the legal problems faced by the farmers for a long time due to the location of nearly thirty thousand hectares of agricultural land adjacent to the wildlife zone.

There was a discussion between representatives of farmers’ organizations and officials regarding the damage caused to wild elephant cultivation, the barriers to obtaining permission from the wildlife office in agricultural development activities, and the inclusion of private lands in the wildlife zone.

The additional secretary said that since the harvesting of paddy in the high season has already started, steps will be taken to provide elephant shots to meet the demand to protect the crops from wild animals.

It was suggested that it would be more appropriate to contact the Gramasewaka as it is difficult to constantly contact the wildlife department to obtain permission for human activities in the wildlife zone.

Mrs. Samanthi Ranasinghe, Additional Secretary, further stated that regarding the belonging of private lands to the wildlife zone, a quick solution will be reached after discussions at the national level.

Kandy Additional District Secretary Anusha Bulatge, Wildlife Conservation Department Deputy Director UL Tawfeek, Kandy District Forest Officer Bharata Dissanayake, National United Farmers Organization President Sunil Gamage and many officials and representatives of farmer organizations joined the discussion.