Facilities at Sigiriya Inamaluwa Forest Conservation Training Institute improved
Sat, Sep 10, 2022, 10:46 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
Sept 10, Colombo: Minister of Agriculture, Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation Mahinda Amaraweera Friday declared open the Sigiriya Inamaluwa Forest Conservation Training Institute.
A large number of students are already studying forest conservation in this training institute which has been started by the Department of Forestry to train officers.
This training building was established to increase the facilities provided to them for study and training activities. This will provide practical training facilities that are needed for the field staff of the Forest Department. In addition, this will be used to provide field training for all other relevant people who are interested in experiencing dry zone forest environment.
Speaking at the event, Minister Amaraweera said implementing Sri Lanka’s agriculture as well as wildlife conservation and conservation of forest resources in parallel is a difficult task.
“Our country is currently facing a severe food shortage. Malnutrition is gradually rising in the country. To escape this situation, the only thing to do is to effectively cultivate all the land across the country. But about 40% of crops grown in our country are destroyed by wild animals every year. This situation strongly affects the food shortage in the country. Therefore, by the end of this year, a permanent solution must be provided to stop the damage caused to crops by wild animals. Among the animals that cause crop damage, wild elephants are not removed from the list of protected animals. We must save the elephant. Foreign tourists come to Sri Lanka in large numbers to see the wild elephant resources of our country. Therefore, protecting wild elephants is our primary responsibility.”
The Minister noted that according to the information of the wildlife department, the number of elephants with tusks in Sri Lanka is less than 40, but still some are killing the tusk elephants.
“Therefore, I advised the Wildlife Department to take steps to amend the Wildlife Act so that people who kill elephants can be given maximum punishment. By amending the Act, we are taking steps to increase the amount of fines to a very high level and to increase the amount of jail time for people who kill elephants.”
He said a list of animals that damage food crops has been prepared and wild boars, porcupines, Squirrels, Monkeys and Peacocks are included in that list.
The Minister further said the permanent program to stop crop damage caused by wild animals will be implemented before the end of this year.