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Sri Lanka returns stolen elephants to captors

COLOMBO: Two Sri Lankan elephant properties have returned 13 of the younger animals stolen from wildlife parks again to their alleged captors following a courtroom order, officers mentioned on Friday (Sep 10).

Elephants are thought of sacred in Sri Lanka and their seize within the wild is illegitimate, however many individuals personal the animals below particular permits as a logo of wealth.

Prison investigators in 2015 seized a minimum of 13 child elephants stolen from wildlife parks, together with by a Buddhist monk.

However in a controversial twist this week, the police Prison Investigations Division secured an order from a Colombo courtroom to return them to the alleged captors.

The CID instructed the courtroom that new laws on tamed elephants allowed homeowners to register their pets with wildlife authorities.

Six elephants had been taken away from the Pinnawala orphanage chained up and moved in vehicles, whereas one other seven had been returned from a house within the south of the island.

One other elephant {that a} courtroom mentioned was given by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to the orphanage six years in the past was additionally returned.

Rajapaksa despatched two child elephants to the orphanage in January 2015, earlier than he was head of state, reportedly saying he couldn’t afford to take care of them.

One feminine, Charika, was returned to the president’s custody on Thursday, however a second, Charaka, stays at Pinnawala, an official instructed AFP.

Asian elephant skilled Jayantha Jayewardene mentioned he was appalled by the return of the stolen elephants, describing it as a “jumbo step again for animal welfare”.

“I’m very upset,” Jayewardene instructed AFP. “This may solely encourage the unlawful seize of child elephants from our nationwide parks.”

The switch of the elephants from Pinnawala, about 80km east of Colombo, was an “emotional second” for his or her carers, an official mentioned.

“These animals should not used to travelling by truck and so they had been very reluctant to get into the autos,” they mentioned.

The return of the animals from the orphanage comes just some weeks after it introduced a uncommon start of elephant twins in August – the primary in Sri Lanka in 80 years.

Jayewardene mentioned about 40 calves might have been stolen from herds throughout a 10-year interval as much as 2015 and bought for about US$125,000 every.

Poachers normally kill the mom to grab the younger, he added.

A 2011 survey confirmed Sri Lanka had 7,379 elephants residing within the wild, together with about 1,100 infants. There have been 12,000 elephants in 1900.

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