By Darshana Sanjeewa Balasuriya
As Sri Lanka has been seeing killing of elephants due to negligence during the past few days, Acting Minister of Defence Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon has ordered the relevant authorities to conduct an impartial investigation into the shooting at an elephant at Mahiyangana.
An officer from the Civil Defence Department at the Mapakada Wewa Wildlife Regional Office has been arrested following an incident in which an elephant named “Sita” was shot at during the Mahiyangana Rajamaha Viharaya’s Randoli Perahera.
The Ministry of Defence said that disciplinary action will be taken against the CSD personnel for misconduct if he was found to have committed any disciplinary offense while on duty.
CSD has also begun an internal inquiry into the incident.
The Ministry said that as elephants from different parts of the country participate in the annual Mahiyangana Perahera, the chief prelate of the Mahiyangana temple has made a request to the Wildlife Department to establish a wildlife team in the temple to drive out wild elephants as there is frequent roaming of these animals in the area.
In response to the request, a team of Wildlife Department officers along with one Civil Security Department (CSD) personnel had been entrusted to drive away the wild elephants.
On 30 September at around 3.15 am, an incident was reported of rubber bullets being fired at an elephant named Sita, which had kept chained near the banks of the Mahaweli River, presuming it to be a wild elephant.
The CSD has commenced an internal disciplinary investigation into this incident, the Ministry said. This is the seventh elephant to be killed within five days as six elephants were killed in Palugaswewa Railway in the East last Wednesday when they were hit by a moving train.