Local media had not been allowed to cover the raid carried out by Hikkaduwa wildlife officials on the baby elephant that was being held at the Ambalangoda residence of Sajin de Vass Gunawardena.
The Wildlife officials had raided Sajin’s residence on Monday afternoon, which the media had been allowed to cover. The residents had not submitted the permit which is required to legally hold an elephant domestically and had requested the officials to return on Tuesday in order to submit the necessary documents of proof of ownership.
According to the regulations of the Fauna and Flora Ordinance any individual who holds an elephant domestically is bound to present documents of ownership including the permit immediately at any point if demanded by the Wildlife Department.
However, when the Wildlife Department officials visited Sajin’s home yesterday, a group of individuals who stood by the gate of Sajin’s residence had only permitted the Wildlife officials to enter and had prevented the media from entering the premises to cover the raid.
The Wildlife officials who returned in a few minutes, said the necessary documents were submitted and that the baby elephant had been bought by the former Monitoring MP of External Affairs for Rs. 10 million.
Animal activists expressed their disappointment and concern about this ‘raid’, describing the effort as a ‘post-election show’ while stating if the law was properly executed, the officials should explain as to why the necessary documents were not submitted by the owners yesterday since the law demands it.
Meanwhile, Sajin’s Ambalangoda home had been attacked last night with petrol bombs.