The Sri Lankan Baby Elephants Crisis

Baby elephant

The gut-wrenching plight of baby elephants in Sri Lanka that are being ripped apart from their herds in the wild and illegally trafficked is causing a global outrage, as this tiny tear-shaped island has implemented a new rule that permits owners to buy back elephants for 10 million rupees each. In late July, the illegally captured baby elephants were released to their owners in a court ruling in Colombo, for use in religious and cultural pageants island wide.

In the above image taken in August, this baby elephant was among 15 others confiscated under the present regime since 2015. The baby is tethered outside the God Pattini shrine.

In the meantime, according to one petition site, “The scenes of [kidnappings] are popular wildlife protected areas Habarana, Udavalave, Kalavava, Yala and Hambantota, among other less popular sites. The baby elephants are sold as commodities from between US$50,000 and US$170,000 to be trained for use in temples and the tourist industry, in rides — that must be stopped due to the intense abuse endured by the elephants.”

Torture at capture, in a lucrative illegal trade, carried out by organized wildlife criminal network

It all began during the Rajapakse regime between 2005 and 2014, when more than 50 Asian elephants were robbed from the wild and subjugated by brutal training for tourism and religious festivals. Allegedly, parliamentarians, temple monks, lawyers, veterinarians, businessmen, safari ride owners and the like became part of an organized wildlife criminal network operation in Sri Lanka.

An article titled Will Baby Jumbos Snatched from Wild Find Justice? alleged that “raids have at times resulted in elephant calves being taken into custody but because high-ranking people are behind the captive baby elephant racket, investigations have stagnated despite environmentalists publishing a list of owners of suspect elephant calves.”

This practice was discontinued by the new government that took office in January 2015, after it declared that it was illegal to trade elephants. The state authorities then confiscated all elephants in hard-fought court battles across Sri Lanka. In this YouTube video, the ministers are elaborating on the steps they took to take back the elephants into “state custody.”

Now, after this acknowledgment, the Sri Lankan government has allowed the elephants to be returned

Source:: The Huffington Post – Canada Travel

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