By Manjula Fernando
Environmentalists have warned that the amnesty period for those who rear elephants illegally to register them, will have far-reaching consequences as it will promote elephant poaching.
The Environment Conservation Trust has highlighted that relaxing laws on illegally domesticated elephants will encourage poachers to pry on baby elephants, and would run contrary to the Ministry’s good intentions.
Commenting on the Ministry’s arrangements to levy one million rupees to register such illegal herd during the amnesty period, Sajeewa Chamikara of the Trust said, “This action is tantamount to issuing a licence for illegal trading of elephants, “adding that their extinction will be a near possibility if the authorities don’t intervene to stop implementing the shortsighted decision.
Tuskers and elephants have been given special protection under the Flora and Fauna Protection Ordinance. Sections 22 - 29 exclusively outline the law pertaining to domestication and punishment for poachers.
According to the laws those who illegally rear elephants can be jailed up to 20 years. Such people can be arrested without a warrant. Environmentalists said the new arrangement will run contrary to the law.