The Colombo Additional Magistrate has issued an order to release 13 tamed elephants taken into the custody by the CID, to their original owners.
These elephants were detained and placed under the care of the Department of National Zoological Gardens as evidence material, following cases filed in court on investigations carried out in the past.
The court order was made after submissions were made based on the Gazette issued by the Minister of Wildlife and the advice of the Attorney General.
During the period of the Government of Good Governance, several tamed elephants held illegally, were located.
The Department of Wildlife, Sri Lanka Police as well as the Criminal Investigations Department carried out investigations into these events and took measures to file cases in court.
The elephants were placed at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage and the Elephant Transit Home (ETH) in Udawalawe, which are under the Department of National Zoological Gardens.
Presenting facts to the court recently, the
OIC of the Number 01 Investigations Unit of the CID requested the release of 13 elephants.
The request was made as per the advice of the Attorney General and the Gazette issued by the Minister of Wildlife, dated the 19th of August.
Facts were presented to the court claiming that the said Gazette notes that measures have been taken to streamline the registration of tamed elephants and the registration is to be completed within three months.
Pursuant to the submissions made by the Criminal Investigations Department, Colombo Additional Magistrate S. Prabhakaran issued an order to release 13 elephants taken into custody by the CID to their original owners.
As per the court order, three elephants that were held at the Elephant Transit Home (ETH) in Udawalawe for 06 years, were released to their owners on Tuesday (7) & Wednesday (8).
In addition, four elephants held at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage since 2015 were also released on Tuesday (7) while one tamed elephant was released on Wednesday (8).
However, environmentalists have expressed dismay over the gazette issued on the matter noting that the gazette allows the illegal release of elephants.
Activist Sajeewa Chamikara called for the suspension of the program to release elephants back to their owners.