- 200 Elephants to be relocated for sports village to be built
By Indika Sri Aravinda
The government is to amend the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance and Forest Ordinance to facilitate the massive development plans for the Hambantota Commonwealth Games in 2018.
Environmentalists say the move is aimed at “legalising” the destruction of forests to construct the proposed games city which will in turn pose a threat to wildlife in the area.
The Haritha Viyaparaya (Green Campaign) of Sri Lanka, an environmental organisation, said that it will go to courts against the amendment of the two Acts.
Wildlife department Director General Chandrawansa Pathiraja confirmed to The Sunday Leader that discussions were underway to amend the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance and Forest Ordinance but refused to say why it is being amended.
Coordinator of the Haritha Viyaparaya, Banduranga Kariyawasam told The Sunday Leader that construction for the proposed Hambantota games city is to include border areas of the Yala, Kumana and Lahugala national parks.
He said that this will result in the disruption of movement of wildlife, including a huge elephant population.
The construction of the Mattala International Airport in Hambantota will also affect the natural movements of the wild elephant population, Kariyawasam added.
When contacted by The Sunday Leader Minister of Agrarian Services and Wildlife, S M Chandrasena said that some 200 elephants will be relocated from parts of Hambantota where the massive development is expected to take place to Weheragala in Monaragala situated 60 kilometres from Hambantota.
Sri Lanka is bidding to host the Commonwealth Games in Hambantota in 2018 and last week unveiled a model of the proposed games city which will include the games venues, hotels and a hospital.