Donkey population in Kalpitiya at risk

By Pathma Kumar - Kalpitiya

The unique donkey population native to the Kalpitiya Peninsula, which contributed to the area's biodiversity, is facing the threat of extinction, causing concern among environmentalists.

Residents of the area said the donkey had lost its natural habitat due to illegal felling of trees and clearing of jungle for agriculture. They pointed out that mangroves and sand dunes were the breeding grounds of the donkey but the prawn farms expelled the animal from its habitat and breeding grounds.

Roshan Priyalal Silva of Erambukudella, a businessman, said the donkey, an animal endemic to Kalpitiya would soon be a thing of the past. It is endangered with extinction due to human activities. Quite often donkeys frequenting the roads are knocked down to death by vehicles. Cruelties inflicted by unscrupulous individuals resulted in the death of donkeys. Development activities including prawn farms, salterns and illegal clearing of jungles resulted in this state. Donkey population in Kalpitiya has a long history. They had been used to transport salt from Puttalam,” he said.

He further said that it was imperative that a wildlife authorities, and animal lovers’ organizations should put their heads together and workout a plan to protect the donkey population endemic to Kalpitiya.

However, Kalapitiya Wildlife Ranger Upali Kumaratunga said the donkey is a domestic animal used as a beast of burden under the Fauna and Flora Ordinance and not a wild animal protected by wildlife regulations.

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