Saturday, May 26, 2018

17 Elephants have escaped from the high security fence built at Horowopothana Reserve meant to hold the most dangerous elephants

There is a relatively recently created area in Horowapothana (3,000 Hectares, which was overseen by the then Wildlife Minister, SM Chandrasena, the brother of the NCP Chief Minister in the MR Government time, SM Ranjith.

It was built at a very high cost, to retain the post dangerous elephants captured and brought to this place from all parts of the Country. The concrete pillars and the electric fencing was supposed to prevent any animal from escaping. Unfortunately, as always, the Contractor pocketed half the money and did the job with shoddy materials and not to the specified standards, and this practice continues to this date.

So some months back a Tusker was caught and released there. This smart tusker used his tusks to override the current and broke this supposedly impenetrable fence and got away, much to the chagrin of the local villages who protested initially against the setting up of this knowing full well the reality of Govt Contracts!

After this Tusker got free, the other wily elephants got the bush telegraph that the door was open, let’s get out and before the alarm was raised to the Rangers guarding the place another 16 of the worst marauders had escaped. (16 still remain and one more was added last week, the Ihakuluwewa Elephant that killed a few people in the periphery of the Minneriya National Park)

So the Minister pinned the blame on the Park Rangers for not stopping this exodus and not preventing this escape. They expressed incredulity that there were supposed to be 33 elephants in a high security fenced in Reserve and now only 16 can be accounted for.

He must look into the circumstances before making statements that are then reported to the Press, who further put these hard working thankless Rangers into disrepute.

What is the reality? 

The contractor who built the fence should have been the one accused. 

Secondly, the DWC must provide adequate facilities like good vehicles to patrol the perimeter of the reserve once every 3 hours to ensure no breaks, otherwise it is too late when the break is discovered. 

Without resources, in a DWC that makes billions from overcharging tourists for a lousy safari experience, if they cannot allocate the needed resources to protect Wildlife and manage the Human Elephant conflict, who can? 

Now we have open season by 17 additional marauders (Elephants) ready to raid villagers in the Anuradhapura District.

Where is the media in all this? Deaf, dumb and blind as always.

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