Mother elephant named ‘Sujeewa‘ and her baby elephant will continue to stay under the custody of the Department of Wildlife Conservation until it submits recommendations regarding their release, Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court observed today.

Sujeewa‘ is one of 14 tamed elephants recently ordered to be released back to their original claimants.

Environmental organizations including the Centre for Environmental Justice raised objections against the release of this mother and baby elephant. However, the Criminal Investigations Department did not raise objections to release these elephants back to the claimants.

Accordingly, Colombo Additional Magistrate T.J. Prabhakaran refrained from issuing an order releasing ‘Sujeewa‘ to the claimant and thereby called for a report from the Department of Wildlife Conservation.

The Court was informed that Sujeewa has recently given birth to a baby elephant and her separation would adversely affect the well-being of the baby elephant.

The environmental organizations alleged that 14 elephants held under the custody of the Department of National Zoological Gardens as productions were released back to those accused of illegally capturing them from the wild and keeping them in their possession under fraudulent documents and without registering them in terms of the provisions of Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance No. 2 of 1937 as amended.



State Minister of Wildlife Protection Wimalaweera Dissanayake had recently issued an extraordinary gazette notification to regularise the registration of tamed elephants. According to this new regulation, the Director-General of Wildlife is vested with the power to register and issue a license in respect of a tamed elephant.



The CID had earlier filed a facts report before Colombo Chief Magistrate’s court alleging that over 40 illegally caught wild elephants have been taken into Wildlife Department custody following CID investigations into a racket where illegally caught wild elephant calves were sold to third parties.


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