A registration book on all the tame elephants in the country, in the possession of the Wildlife Department, that had allegedly gone missing, has re-surfaced, sources said.
The book, maintained by the Law Enforcement Division of the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC), and if misplaced, could encourage people to register their illegal elephants with the department.
However, after the book went missing, the Head of the Law Enforcement Division, Deputy Director Legal, Chandani Wilson, was interdicted, and the said Department had been sealed on the instructions of the Minister of Wildlife Resources Conservation, Vijith Wijayamuni Soysa on 10 August 2013.
The minister told Ceylon Today, when he was informed that the registration book on elephants was missing, he had questioned Wilson and she had told him that the book had been misplaced.
“When I heard the book had been misplaced, I instructed the relevant officials to seal the Law Enforcement Department and interdict the head of the department. I informed President Mahinda Rajapaksa as soon as I heard that the book was missing,” Minister Soysa said.
He went on to say that on 12 August 2013, he had received a letter from Wilson explaining that the book had been found, and added that even though the book was found, investigations into how it had gone missing in the first place, will be conducted by the Wildlife Ministry, the Police and even the CID, if necessary.
“It is a fact that baby elephants are being captured from the wild and attempts are made to have them registered at the DWLC illegally. Some people are trying to legalize an illegal activity by getting these animals registered at the DWLC,” the Director Operations of the Environment Foundation Ltd. (EFL), Vimukthi Weeratunga, said.
He further explained he had found out that new elephants are being registered under the names of dead elephants and such names are covertly removed from the register. “We notified the minister and when he made inquiries from the DWLC, he was told that the register had been misplaced,” Weeratunga said.
According to reliable sources, a group of people are illegally capturing baby elephants from the wild and separating them from their mothers, with the intention of selling them at Rs 10 million per animal, once the licence is illegally obtained from the DWLC.-Ceylon today