Harming crocs, taboo
A crocodile captured by villagers recently
The Wildlife Conservation Department (WCD) has requested the public
not to resort to killing or poisoning crocodiles but to inform the
Department about cases of crocodile related threats so that safety
measures could be taken.
“Killing crocodiles is prohibited by law and the department can take
legal action against the offenders,”
WCD spokesman and operations director H D Ratnayake told the Daily
News yesterday. He said so when asked about the reports of mysterious
deaths of crocodiles in several parts of the island.
The deaths of crocodiles were reported following the death of a
schoolgirl in Akuressa after a crocodile attack. He said investigations
are continuing to find out the cause for the deaths of these crocodiles.
Ratnayake said the captured crocodiles will be released to the Yala
National Park as a temporary measure adding that once the Crocodile
Conservation Centre is constructed, the crocodiles which are a threat to
humans will be housed there.
He said a special meeting with the Agrarian Services and Wildlife
Minister was held yesterday to discuss about the future measures to
control the human - crocodile conflict. Ratnayake said the people should
be blamed for the human- crocodile conflict.
Environmental lawyer Jagath Gunawardena said both crocodile species
found in Sri Lanka, the saltwater crocodile and the mugger crocodile are
threatened with extinction according to the IUCN red list as well as the
National red list prepared by the Environment Ministry in 2007.
He said according to the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance, the
Sri Lankan crocodile is a strictly protected reptile.
“Harming or injuring a crocodile is an offence under law where a fine
of Rs 100,000 or an imprisonment of two to five years can be imposed,”