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Foreigners detained for bio-piracy

Aug 25, 2010 4:36:35 AM - itnnews.lk

A court has ordered to detain two foreign nationals who have been illegally collecting endemic species from a World Heritage site in the highlands.

Jan Pyreh and Monica Melacova, were arrested by the police in Nuwara Eliya on Monday. Conservation authorities said the two Czech students were collecting endangered insects at Horton Plains. Horton Plains has been recently named as a World Heritage by the UN’s cultural body, UNESCO.

Deputy controller of Horton Plains National Park Manoj Vidyaratne said that with increased attention on the highlands and rise of the tourist industry, conservationists have to be more vigilant about bio-piracy. He said suspects were arrested with samples of endangered species and the equipment used to collect them. They also found more insects collected by them in other areas including the Yala National Park during a search of their residence. The two students were remanded after being produced before the Nuwara Eliya Additional Magistrate. They are due to be presented before the Nuwara Eliya Magistrate today. It is reported that the two foreigners who had arrived in the island on the 13th of this month were due to lave the country on the 3rd of next month.