Seized tusks belonged to Dala Poottuwa, officials confirm | Daily News


Seized tusks belonged to Dala Poottuwa, officials confirm

The two elephant tusks seized at Polpothigama in Nikawewa by officers of the Panadura Walana Vice Squad were identified as those which belonged to the Tusker nicknamed 'Dala Poottuwa,' by wildlife officials at the Mahawa Magistrate's Court on November 28.

The seizing of the two tusks and six elephant pearls (Gaja Muthu) coincided with the disappearance of the tusker ‘Dala Poottuwa’ in Galgamuwa. Since search operations for the tusker carried out by wildlife officials drew a blank, they inspected the two tusks at the Mahawa Magistrate's Court and established that they were that of the tusker gone missing.

There had been no trace of the elephant since it was last seen on the banks of the Herathgama Wewa in Moragollagama on October 16.

It was usual for this tusker to leave its habitat in Galgamuwa and reach the Kalawewa National Park passing through Siyambalangamuwa and the Kahallapallakelle Reserve during this season of the year. But it had not come to the Kalawewa National Park this time, the wildlife officials had observed.

The tusker had lost vision in both eyes and had some debility on its left hind leg.

Wildlife officials had found a section of the forest bordering a village where the tusker used to frequent, cleared by the suspects arrested in this connection. Believing that the tusker had been killed and its carcass buried in this cleared section, the wildlife officers dug up the spot using a bulldozer thinking the carcass would be found at the spot. Since they could not find any trace, they have decided to continue the search with the help of three police teams.

Walana Vice Squad officials arrested the suspects while they had planned to sell the two tusks and six Gaja Muthu for a sum of Rs. 2.7 million by using a decoy. One of the suspects arrested is Rajapaksa Mudiyanselage Asanka Senarath Bandara, a resident of Moragollagama, Polpithigama.

Police have established him as the Grama Niladhari in charge of the Herathgama Grama Niladhari Division No 342. He had also served as a driver attached to the Viharadhipati of the Nikawewa Viharaya. The other suspect was identified as Ratnayake Mudiyanselage Ruwan Niroshan of ‘Gal Niwasa’, Galnewa. They had also planned to make the transaction at the Nikawewa Viharaya. The two suspects produced before the Mahawa Magistrate from remand prison on November 28 were re-remanded till December 12.

Meanwhile, wildlife officials are continuing their search for the tusker directed by Range Officer D. Ramasinghe. 


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