Former Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has handed over two baby elephants that were kept in his care to the zoo, Deputy Minister of Wildlife Wasantha Senanayake said.
During a press briefing held today, Minister Senanayake stated one of the elephant calves, which is four years old – had been held in his care upon obtaining legal authorization through a valid registration.
“He has handed over two elephant calves to the zoo with his own consent. The baby elephants are in good health. The two calves had been taken into his care in 2009 and 2010. The second calf without a valid registration had been handed over to him by the Pinnawala elephant orphanage through a contract in agreement to care for it,” he said.
The Minister also added that Gotabhaya had obtained an application to register the second calf and therefore, the allegations that are being leveled against him on holding baby elephants illegally, are not acceptable.
However, Minister Senanayake further stated that although no illegalities have occurred, measures will be taken to track down the original owners of the two calves.