By Ifham Nizam
Two monks had sought the help of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to obtain two baby tuskers from the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, a top official said.
The two baby tuskers, Kadol and Isira, are among the 16 baby jumbos born in 2011 at Pinnawala. It has only four tuskers including the two calves.
According to Wildlife and Tourism Ministry officials, letters have been issued by politicians for the elephants to be donated to temples.
However, Zoological Gardens Director General, Anura de Silva, contacted for comment, said that the baby elephants could not be released due to number of reasons.
The animals were sucklings under five years of age and tuskers were very rare; Kadol and Isira were the youngest and a key tourist attraction at the elephant orphanage, the official said.
The zoo director said that plans were underway to make use of the two tuskers for a breeding programme so that the country would have more tuskers in years to come.
Recent research had indicated that the population of tuskers in the wild had come down to less than five per cent, the director said, stressing the need for protecting elephants, especially tuskers.