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Vets deployed to treat injured tuskers in herd brawl

Sustainable Development and Wildlife Minister Raveendra Samaraweera assuming office.

Two groups of veterinary surgeons were deployed at the Yala National Park to treat three tuskers who have sustained injuries in their brawl, Sustainable Development and Wildlife Minister Raveendra Samaraweera said.

He said the three were injured in their brawl due to harsh weather for the elephants in the park. He said the incident was reported in many media channels. “These brawls are natural, but we have to attend to their health as we need to save tuskers,” Minister Samaraweera said.

Minister Samaraweera made these observations after assuming duties in his office yesterday morning at the Ministry in Sethsiripaya.

He said he was really pleased with his new position. He added that he had been appreciated as one of the oldest members of the UNP since he had been representing the Parliament since 1989. He said he belived he was appreciated for his patience because he remained without complaints though many young members get ministerial portfolios.

“If I was not given this opportunity at this moment, what could I do?” Minister Samaraweera quetioned. “Should I criticise my party? I can’t do it. If I don’t agree, I shall have to leave. In such a way, I have set an example.”

Questioned by the media personnel on the elephants seized from the temples, Minister Samaraweera said the complaint against them was they were caught from forests without permission. He said that around 30 such elephants were under the care of the government at Udawalawe. He said a decision would be made on them following the legal action.

“Retaining those elephants is costly as around Rs 200,000 is spent on each per day,” Minister Samaraweera said.

“There is another complaint that they are not properly provided with food and facilities by those who have obtained the tenders.”

The Minister said the would take measures to solve the human-elephant conflict, assuring water for the animals in the forests during the dry season.

He said the people’s issues have to be addressed keeping an eye on the wild animals’ rights as well.