Four individuals including two hunters were arrested last Sunday in connection with the death of a young but fully-grown leopard at the Udawalawe National Park, Sevanagala Police OIC Inspector Dissanayake told Daily Mirror.
The carcass with its limbs severed and teeth missing was found on January 1 in close proximity to the 14th milepost outside the Udawalawe National Park. The police have now launched a probe to determine what exactly happened in this regard.
"The suspects were arrested based on information gathered by the police investigations division. The suspects had set up a trap for animals but unfortunately, the leopard had got caught in it. It was when one of the suspects took the carcass home and his family asked him to dispose it that he, along with the other suspects, hired a trishaw and threw the dead animal to the canal connecting to the Mau-Ara tank,” he said.
Investigations were conducted by the Embilipitiya and Moneragala Police Divisions with the support of Udawalawe, Sevanagala, Thanamalwila and Hambegamuwa Police Stations.
According to Udawalawe National Park Warden R.G.R.S. Ranatunga, the carcass had been handed over to the Veterinary Department of Udawalawe Ath Athuru Sevana (Elephant Transit Home) on January 1 for an autopsy. He said the report was still pending.
The suspects were ordered to be remanded till January 17 when they were produced in the Embilipitiya Magistrate’s Court yesterday.