- Sujeewa' is one of 14 tamed elephants recently ordered to be released to their original claimants
By Lakmal Sooriyagoda
Colombo Additional Magistrate Lochani Abeywickrama yesterday observed that cow elephant named 'Sujeewa' and her baby elephant will continue to stay under the custody of the Department of Wildlife Conservation until Colombo Chief Magistrate makes a suitable order regarding their release.
Accordingly, elephant Sujeewa and her calf will continue to stay under the custody of Department of Wildlife Conservation until September 24.
'Sujeewa' is one of 14 tamed elephants recently ordered to be released to their original claimants. Meanwhile, the Additional Magistrate observed that public interest parties should be given a hearing as this was a matter that came under the Public Property Act. Accordingly, the case was referred to the Chief Magistrate's Court for inquiry and the matter was to be taken up again on September 24.
The Criminal Investigations Department had requested Court to release these elephants to the claimants. On a previous occasion, a request made by environmental organizations to revoke the previous order for the release of 14 tamed elephants to their original claimants was rejected by Colombo Additional Magistrate T.J. Prabhakaran.
The Court was informed that Sujeewa had recently given birth to a baby elephant and her separation would adversely affect the well-being of the baby elephant. The environmental organizations alleged that 14 elephants held under the custody of the Department of National Zoological Gardens as productions were released to those accused of illegally capturing them from the wild and keeping them in their possession under fraudulent documents and without registering them in terms of the provisions of Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance No. 2 of 1937 as amended.