The reactions came as the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) translocated a female elephant for the first time.
Researcher as well as Convener of the Biodiversity Conservation Research Circle, Supun Lahiru Prakash said that environmentalists were surprised and disappointed to hear the news that DWC had captured and translocated a female wild elephant which was found in a pit in Walaswewa area of Galgamuwa Divisional Secretariat of Kurunegala District to the Wilpattu National Park.
He pointed out that they are surprised that DWC which is entrusted the primary responsibility of wildlife conservation, has taken the lead in doing this in an arbitrary, unfair and unscientific manner without considering social behavior patterns of elephants.
“It is my understanding that this is the first time a female has been translocate in this way.There is no evidence in Sri Lanka that female animals contribute to Human-Elephant conflicts and some of the mature male elephants only contribute to Human-Elephant conflicts. Therefore, Human-Elephant conflict management strategies are being implemented in Sri Lanka, focusing on male elephants.”
He pointed out that it was only the problem caused by male elephants leading tob translocation or being sent to open holding grounds such as Horowpathana. However, it has now been scientifically proven that such translocations or confining the bull elephants into holding grounds are counterproductive in terms of elephant-human conflict management or wild elephant conservation.
He pointed out that Wildlife conservation and wildlife-human conflict management is a scientific endeavor. Female elephants spend their entire lives with the herd in which they were born and raised. Females never leave the herd and spend time alone. In such a background, it is a very serious wrong precedent for a department that should work based on science to remove a female elephant from her herd and leave her stranded in an unknown area.
The Director General of the Department of Wildlife Conservation, Chandana Suriyabandara told Timesonline that there are no exact parameters that only male elephants are aggressive.