The sports category has moved to a new website.
ADVERTISEMENT

Sri Lankans charged over traffic in baby elephants

A senior Sri Lankan conservation official was among eight people charged Tuesday in a landmark case over the capture and sale to the wealthy of dozens of baby elephants as status symbols.

There are an estimated 7,500 elephants in the wild in Sri Lanka

Wildlife experts say about 40 calves may have been stolen from their herds during a 10-year period and sold for around $125,000 each.

The deputy director of the wildlife conservation department, Upali Pathmasiri, and seven others were charged with 33 counts of capturing and possessing baby elephants in 2014-15, state attorney Nishara Jayaratne said.

It is the "first ever elephant trafficking case in our legal history", Jayaratne told AFP.

If convicted they face up to 20 years in jail.

ADVERTISEMENT

The practice stopped when the current government came to power in January 2015 and launched a crackdown. Recovered animals were moved to a state sanctuary for elephant orphans.

The super-rich consider having a baby elephant at home as the ultimate status symbol.

It was also a tradition by aristocrats to keep the animals, which are paraded at Buddhist temple festivals.

The illegal trade has been blamed for the drop in the elephant population, with conservationists saying mother elephants were often killed so the calf could be taken.

Elephant conflict with humans near wildlife sanctuaries has led to the deaths of 375 people in the past five years, according to official figures.

ADVERTISEMENT

During the same period, enraged villagers have retaliated by slaughtering nearly 1,200 elephants.

The Sri Lankan elephant population in the wild is estimated at 7,500.

Conservationists also say that a large number of elephants are killed by improvised explosive devices hidden in bait used by villagers to hunt other animals, especially wild boar.

The devices explode when bitten, causing the animals a prolonged and painful death.

The US-based conservation website Mongabay.com said 64 Sri Lankan elephants were killed.

JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!

Unblock notifications in browser settings.
ADVERTISEMENT

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: news@pulselive.co.ke

Recommended articles

High Court rules that hiring of KRA paramilitary-trained officers as unconstitutional

High Court rules that hiring of KRA paramilitary-trained officers as unconstitutional

Outrage erupts as Super Metro violates traffic rules on Thika Road [Video]

Outrage erupts as Super Metro violates traffic rules on Thika Road [Video]

Ruto unlocks an extra Sh46 billion for counties

Ruto unlocks an extra Sh46 billion for counties

5 cartels giving DP Gachagua sleepless nights

5 cartels giving DP Gachagua sleepless nights

How EPRA determines electricity prices in Kenya

How EPRA determines electricity prices in Kenya

Overwhelmed Haitian police plead for help as gangs storm main prison to release convicts

Overwhelmed Haitian police plead for help as gangs storm main prison to release convicts

Final moments of woman found dead after falling from Kasarani apartment

Final moments of woman found dead after falling from Kasarani apartment

Wetangula addresses claims of plot to make Raila exit politics through AU bid

Wetangula addresses claims of plot to make Raila exit politics through AU bid

Woman dies after falling from apartment in Kasarani

Woman dies after falling from apartment in Kasarani

ADVERTISEMENT