"The dog is known to be an animal of high sensibility reacting sharply to shock and pain. Imagine the terror that will grip this animal held captive in a small cage adjacent to the big cage where the leopard, lured by the live bait enters and is trapped. For the hapless dog it will be totally terrifying because the fierce predator and the dog will be in full view of each other at very close quarters"
It is now more than a month since it was reported that the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) is making efforts to capture a leopard that had attacked several people at an estate in Hatton and that it was believed to be on the prowl. However, the search for this animal by wildlife officers was halted and instead they resorted to using a live bait to lure and trap the wild cat.
Using a live bait is a primitive and cruel method and totally unworthy of our culture, which recognizes the right to life of all living species from as early as the 2nd century BC. It is unpardonable that the Department of Wildlife Conservation should resort to this barbaric method. The live bait used by the DWC was a domesticated dog, friendly with the people of the area and living among them.
The dog is known to be an animal of high sensibility reacting sharply to shock and pain. Imagine the terror that will grip this animal held captive in a small cage adjacent to the big cage where the leopard, lured by the live bait enters and is trapped. For the hapless dog it will be totally terrifying because the fierce predator and the dog will be in full view of each other at very close quarters. Not only a dog, any live animal used as bait will be totally terrified placed in this situation. It is also seen that using live bait is not effective after much effort has been made in the area by the people and the DWC to pursue and catch the animal. Many wildlife officers, as well as conservationists, are of the opinion that the animal will not return to the area for a long period or maybe even not at all. Yet the DWC continues the cruelty of keeping a live dog as bait. Senior officers say that the decision to stop it lies with the minister.
Ironically the Minister of Wildlife is also the Minister of Buddha Sasana. Yet, he is continuing a failed strategy to trap the leopard, while subjecting an innocent animal to indescribable terror and fear of death. It appears we have to remind the sanctimonious political custodians of Buddhist morals of the Buddha’s words, that all beings fear punishment; all beings fear death, therefore one should neither kill nor cause to kill. The minister, advised by officials, may say the dog cannot be killed by the leopard trapped in its cage. But surely, death itself will be merciful to an animal placed cheek by jowl with a furious leopard.
"We ask the minister to immediately end this cruel and primitive method of shamelessly keeping an innocent animal captive as a live bait"
It is apparent that the minister’s reason for continuing with this failed strategy is political. At the outset, after the leopard attack on the people in the area created a big uproar and threatened trade union action until the leopard was captured. Bankrupt for a proper strategy, the DWC came up with the primitive live bait method, which the Minister is allowing to drag on despite failure, and the continued cruelty to the dog used as bait.
It will be asked what about the threat to human life from these big cats that may keep turning up in search of prey, be it dogs or people. The answer for the DWC and the minister is not to turn to primitive methods that are cruel, but seek proper solutions by turning to
In technologically advanced countries hidden hi-tech cameras help to locate images at night of animals that cannot be located or even sighted by people. In Europe, there is much excitement among environmentalists over the sighting of a wild wolf in the region of Flanders in more than a century. Wolves had disappeared from European countries due to over hunting and over industrialization. Attempts to re-colonize the wolf in parts of Europe is greatly helped by hi tech cameras resorted to by naturalists.
We ask the minister to immediately end this cruel and primitive method of shamelessly keeping an innocent animal captive as a live bait and start talking to experts in developed countries, as well as Sri Lankan photographers, about high tech methods and equipment for this purpose.
With regard to the other hat he wears as Minister of the Buddha Sasana, we would say he owes an apology to the people of this country he has offended, by cruelly exploiting an innocent animal, against all Buddhist teachings.