Kandy Esala Perahera faces ‘elephant crisis’

Published : 9:15 am  July 27, 2017 | No comments so far |  | 


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By L.B. Senaratne and Nadeeka Daya Bandara

This year’s Kandy Esala Perahera will be without its ‘star’ attractions — the tuskers Nadungamuwe Raja, Wasana and Kelaniya Raja, while two other tuskers belonging to the Sri Dalada Maligawa would not be taking apart in the perahera.

The Maligawa officials said ‘Nadungamuwa Raja’ and ‘Wasana’ were among the elephants at the Kataragama Perahera while ‘Kelaniya Raja’ would not be available for the Kandy Perahera beginning on July 29.   

The Sri Dalada Maligawa spokesman said one of the eight tuskers — ‘Migara’ would not be available during the Perahera season and therefore the organisers may have to manage with the remaining five tuskers. He said usually three elephants were required to carry the sacred relics casket, whereas only two other elephants would take part in the Perahera.   

According to him, another tusker, a gift from former Myanmar President to President Maithripala Sirisena, was expected to arrive in the country soon. But it was doubtful whether it would arrive before the Perahera, as it took time to be sufficiently trained.   Meanwhile the Basnayake Nilame for Natha Devale, Gayan Heenkenda said the four Devales participating in the Perahera were facing a similar issue without elephants.   

Court releases 15 elephants for Dalada Perahera

By Yoshitha Perera   
The Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court yesterday released 15 elephants taken into custody by the Wildlife Department for the Sri Dalada Perahera. The elephants were released on temporary licences and a bond of Rs.10 million each.

Some 40 elephants being reared without valid licences were taken into custody by the Wildlife Department. A motion was filed by several owners, requesting that 21 elephants be released to be used in peraheras.   

However, when the matter was taken up by Colombo Chief Magistrate Lal Ranasinghe Bandara, he allowed only 15 elephants to be released for the Dalada Perahera, as it was a special cultural event held in Sri Lanka.   
The Court instructed the Wildlife Department Director to issue temporary licences which will be valid from July 27 to August 15, and also allowed the Director to set out the conditions for the issuance of the licenses.   

The Court had refused to release the elephants belonging to suspects Thilina Gamage, Ajith Gallage and Samarappulige Niraj Roshan as there were cases pending against them in Court. Earlier, investigations had revealed S. Niraj Roshan alias Ali Roshan was directly involved in selling elephants and elephant calves for more than 15 years.