Cabinet approves consulting AG on life-imprisonment | Daily News
Wildlife killings:

Cabinet approves consulting AG on life-imprisonment

Sustainable Development and Wildlife, Minister Gamini Jayawickrema Perera has received cabinet approval to consult the Attorney General (AG) on imposing ‘lifelong imprisonment’ for offenders who kill elephants.

The Minister has also recommended that Wildlife officers conduct combined operations and patrolling of wildlife-protected areas and areas managed by the Department of Forest Conservation and Mahaweli Authority, with the Security Forces and Police Special Task Force.

The Flora and Fauna Protection Ordinance, which provides legal authority to officers to enforce laws on wildlife protection, would be amended to accommodate such legal action. These changes come in the wake of a series of killings of tuskers within protected areas, thus shedding a spotlight on the inadequate protection given to wildlife within these areas.

The Minister, in his cabinet paper noted that these lapses were a result of management issues faced by the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC). One such major issue was the lack of field staff. Though a total cadre of 1,200 had been approved for the DWC, at present there were less than 750 officers working in the field.

Thus, a Combined Task Force would be more productive and efficient in covering all protected land—a massive task given that 14 of the island’s land mass has been declared as protected. Furthermore, in 2016 alone, the total income generated by providing visitor facilities and Wildlife Protected areas amounted to Rs. 1,800 million, making conservation economically paramount. 


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