The Wildlife Ministry has ordered a probe on the incident where a 70-year-old elephant named Tikiri had been used in the Esala Perahera despite her health condition.
Wildlife Minister John Amaratunge said he had instructed the Ministry officials to initiate an inquiry into this matter to ascertain how and why an elephant in such poor health was used in the perahera and to take necessary action against those responsible for this.
“I have noted with concern media reports of a 70-year-old elephant named Tikiri that has been used in the Esala Perahera while her health condition, according to published photographs, appears to be bad. I have been informed that the elephant had collapsed yesterday,” he said.
The Minister said he had instructed the veterinary surgeons of the Department of Wildlife Conservation to immediately inspect the condition of the elephant and recommend remedial measures to the owner of the elephant.
“We must take every possible step to ensure an incident of this nature does not occur again. I have instructed officials of the Department of Wildlife Conservation to revive the work that a committee of experts had done in 2015-2016 on preparing guidelines for owners of captive elephants so that the health of these elephants can be ensured,” he said in a statement.
He said these guidelines would be reviewed by an expert committee already appointed by him to look into developing mitigation measures for human-elephant conflict (HEC) and finalised for implementation as soon as possible.
“I’m also appointing a team of veterinary surgeons from the Department of Wildlife Conservation and Department of Zoological Gardens to inspect the health of all elephants in captivity and to submit a report to me on the status of their health,” the Minister said.