Colombo Additional Magistrate Lochani Abeywickrama today observed that the cow elephant named ‘Sujeewa‘ and her baby elephant should continue to stay under the custody of the Department of Wildlife Conservation until Colombo Chief Magistrate makes an order regarding their release.

Accordingly, cow elephant Sujeewa and her calf will continue to stay under the custody of the Department of Wildlife Conservation until September 24.

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

Meanwhile, the Additional Magistrate observed that public interest parties should be given a hearing as this is a matter that comes under the Public Property Act. Accordingly, the case was referred to the Chief Magistrate’s Court for inquiry and the matter is to be taken up again on September 24.  

The Criminal Investigations Department had requested the court to release these elephants back to the claimants.

On a previous occasion, a request made by environmental organizations to revoke the order previously made for the release of 14 tamed elephants back to their original claimants was rejected by Colombo Additional Magistrate  T.J. Prabhakaran.



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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