Never a day goes by without word of environmental destruction or degradation, and one finds one or other of Govt. henchman, (known as henchaiyas) at the back of every effort to do so. Whether it is in the interests of tourism or development, or to solve the human elephant conflict the modus operandi are the same.
Recently, there were three leopard cubs who were found when a local politician was trying to sell them for over Rs500K each, its mother's skin having been found in a national politician's, skelton gardens address. The sleuths were ordered out from investigating at the instigation of no less than the Director of Wildlife himself.
Then a woman was killed by a leopard while on her way in the Kataragama Pada Yatra. It is alleged that the leopard had become a man eater owing to the location of her killing being an official campsite where in order to draw high spending tourists, beef is used to attract the animal. No wonder then that a usually harmless leopard thought it was open season to attack a woman while taking part in her morning ablutions which then begs the question of allowing people to walk in the National Parks. The latte activity is banned but in order to fulfill rituals it is permitted for this event.
We then have the road through the Wilpattu National Park, and the wanton destruction of majestic trees in the area, which has been the result as the road is still not being constructed after the clearing of the path, which results in further top soil erosion until a the road is paved.
We then have the expected move of over 200 elephants in order that the Commonwealth Games can be accommodated. It is now a no brainer that this would not be awarded despite the huge publicity cost to get the games, because of the unacceptable damage to the environment that most people except those in this regime will not tolerate.
Finally the more pressing issue of changing the law with regard to buffer zones, to allow development therein in which even to the hardened developer or capitalist is very short term and self defeating in the wrong term and where people say we are embarking on killing the goose that lays the golden egg.
In summary in my opinion, there is no one who really cares a toss about conservation of our heritage and preserving it in a pristine state for the future. We have enough land and locations to carry out all our tourist related activity without resort to this destruction, as in any case any benefit is only to the owners of these establishments and the foreigner until the resource is completely removed by this over use or exploitation. We have nothing to leave to the future generation, but a mess created in our lifetime, unless we have the courage to take a stand and do something about it.
When I speak to environmentalists they raise their arms in horror and disgust, but say there is nothing they can do about it as the powers just steamroll any objections, and threaten anyone if they use the law to combat this crime. This mad rush to develop tourism without any checks and balances must stop if we are to save what little remains for posterity.
Please comment here on your thoughts and then write or mail your leaders to do something about this before it is irreversible.
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