Another Black Leopard Death in Deniyaya
Another black leopard faced a brutal death in Deniyaya a few days back (last week of September 2013). Its decomposing body was recovered from a forest patch close to Handford Estate in the village of Thalapalakanda.
(Place where the black leopard died)
Leopard death in Thandikulam
An individual suspected to have killed a leopard in Thandikulam, Vavuniya, who sold the animal’s teeth for Rs. 6,000 each was arrested when he attempted to sell the hide of the leopard.
Leopard Mother's Skin at Minister Duminda Dissanayake's Residence
According to internal sources in the Forest Department the skin of the mother of the three leopard cubs that were found in Thabbowa jungles has been found at the first floor of the super luxury house belonging to Minister Duminda Dissanayake at Skelton Gardens, Havelock Town in Colombo.
This has been revealed when the house was raided recently by a team led by the head of the Forest Protection and Law Enforcement unit of the Department Upali Paddmasiri. With this raid information regarding a massive racket that had been carried out in Thabbowa jungles with political protection has been revealed say officers of the Forest Department.
However, the team of range officers who carried out the raid at Minister Duminda Dissanayake’s residence had to abandon the raid and leave the skin when the Director General of the Forest Department Chandrawansa Pathiraja intervened.
Despite the owners of the house promising that the skin would be handed over to the Forest Department, it has not been handed over yet. As such, forest officers have taken measures to forward a ‘B’ report to Court regarding this incident.
According to forest officers the Member for North-Western PC Priyankara Jayaratne and the Member of Karuwalagaswewa PS Neel had handed over the three leopard cubs to the officers of the department only after the raid had been carried out.
There had been an attempt to sell the cubs for Rs.500,000 but the attempt was abandoned when forest officers were able to find the skin of the mother in their raid at Minister Duminda Dissanayake’s residence. The racketeers had handed over the cubs to prevent the exposure of the massive racket of selling flora and fauna.
The forest officers say information has been received that the racket has been carried out for a considerable period. However, due to pressure from politicians involved in the racket the higher officials do not take any action to take legal action they point out.
The leopard, scientifically known as ‘Panthera pardus kotiya,’ is a sub species that is endemic to Sri Lanka. According to ‘the IUCN Red List’ these leopards are an endangered species.
Another hill-country leopard bites the dust
Villagers’ warning letter to Wildlife officers 5 days before goes unanswered
By Malaka Rodrigo
Snares have killed a number of Nuwara Eliya leopards in recent years and these death traps’ latest victim was reported from Pedro (Pidurutalagala) on June 13. This leopard was caught in the wire trap set up at the edge of the Pedro Forest Reserve, less than 500 metres from the Nuwara Eliya police station, according to eyewitnesses. The trap’s wires had tightened across the leopard’s belly when it attempted to break free, causing internal injuries to its vital organs, ultimately killing the beautiful animal.
Snares have become the worst death traps for hill-country leopards, but this was a preventable one, if Wildlife officers had taken prompt action, point out environmental activists. The incident had taken place at Gemunu Mawatha village bordering the Pedro Forest Reserve. Villagers enjoy sighting many animals that cross into their village, but in recent months, poaching has increased in the area even resulting in the death of a pair of rare barking deer, which were frequent visitors to the village, and of rabbits trapped in snares.
Even the villagers’ dogs have got entangled in these wire traps which mainly target wild boar. Therefore nature-loving villagers of Gemunu Mawatha Nature Society had sent a letter to the Wildlife Minister S.M. Chandrasena and the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) to take immediate action to stop this rampant poaching. In the letter sent on June 8, it was highlighted that wire traps used by poachers posed a serious danger to the leopards living in the Pedro Forest too.
But no action was taken, and five days later, on June 13, their worst fears came true. The villagers even named the two poachers who are active in the area and the villager who supports them, but still no action has been taken to date. “It was indeed preventable, if action was taken immediately,” said Dr. Janaka Gallangoda of the Nature Exploration & Protection Society of Nuwara Eliya (NEPS). These poachers are also said to have settled in an area of the Pedro Forest, which is a high security zone where the main Rupavahini Tower is located.
Dr. Gallangoda said that the illegal meat trade was thriving in Nuwara Eliya, indicating that poaching activities were on the rise. Trap guns and hakka patas (devices that explode in the mouth) are usually not used in Nuwara Eliya, due to the wet conditions.
Hence, snares and electrocution have become the main tools of killing animals – mainly wild boar and Sambur. Snares are cheap to set up and are therefore popular among poachers. Three-wheeler brake cables are used to set up these wire traps.