Jun 05, 2020

Mango plantation to be started in jumbo transit point! Featured

The Mahaweli Development Authority is gearing up to hand over a 100-acre portion of the Kala Wewa reserve to a private company, reports say.

The report comes as the globe marks the World Environmental Day today (05).

The company - Prime Site, is to start a mango plantation in the land, reports say.

Speaking to 'Sri Lanka Mirror', environmentalist - Sajeewa Chamikara said that there are around 400 elephants and tuskers in the area surrounding Kala Wewa.

He says that this area is prominent even among the areas elephants usually roam.

"In his manifesto, president Gotabaya Rajapaksa had pledged to uphold the rights of animals as well as that of humans. However, dashing the hopes of the 6.9 million who voted for him, he has even been unable to maintain the 30% forest cover," Mr. Sajeewa alleged.

Meanwhile, in a Tweet to mark the World Environment Day 2020, president Gotabaya Rajapaksa has said he wishes to renew his pledge to conserve the environment.

"On this #WorldEnvironmentDay I wish to renew my pledge to conserve our environment, preserve biodiversity, increase national forest cover, ensure scientific waste management & eco-friendly human settlements etc... Mother Earth needs our commitment & action now, more than ever!," he had Tweeted.

Death warrant

This project, which has been proposed to take place in the elephants' transit point in Kala Wewa, would definitely be the death warrant of the elephants in the area, who are already facing severe food and shelter issues, environmentalists say.

Several years have passed since it was proposed to hand over the area to the Department of Wildlife Conservation as a national park. Accordingly, the Kalawewa - Kahalla Pallekele area has not been declared a National Park.

361 elephant deaths last year

Environmentalists say that 361 elephants and tuskers have died in Sri Lanka in the year of 2019 alone. This is the highest figure reported since 1948, the year Sri Lanka was granted independence by the British.

In addition, 29 human lives were lost as well due to the intensifying battle between wild elephants and humans.

However, it is said that 85% of the above elephant deaths happened due to the direct involvement of humans.