Pinus And Eucalyptus Trees Replaced While Elephants Are Renamed For Respect
Identifying the serious impact on watershed/ catchment areas, the Ministry of Environment has launched a programme to replace eucalyptus and pinus cultivations with endemic plants under the Indigenous Tree Canopy Programme (Hela Thuru Viyana).
Minister of Environment Anura Priydharshana Yapa in response to a question for oral answers revealed that the Indigenous Tree Canopy Programme has already replaced eucalyptus and pinus cultivations in 241.4 hectares (596.26 acres) with endemic plant species including hora (Dipterocarpus zeylanicas), pelan (Kurrima zeylanica – celastraceae), lunumidella (Barringtonia acutangula), mahogany and pihimbiya.
Meanwhile, Minister of Agrarian Services and Wild Life S.M. Chandrasena revealed to the House that measures are being taken to rename the wild elephant (Wal Aliya) as (Wana Aliya) following a suggestion made to respect the animal. He added, “Although we have renamed the wild elephant Government has no intention to rename the wildbore as “Wana Oora”.
In response to a question for oral answers submitted by Sajith Premadasa, Chandrasena replied that a corporate plan has been compiled for the Departent of Wildlife Conservation as per the National Wildlife Policy launched in 2000. “Management plans have been prepared for practical implementation of conservation in the main national parks, and some wildlife reserves in the country as identified in this corporate plan. These plans would be implemented by allocating financial provisions from consolidated accounts for each activity recognized in these management plans as per the annual action plan of this department,” he said.
According to Chandrasena set time frames have been determined for the activities recognized in management plans for wildlife conservation prepared as per the National Wildlife Policy. “Financial provisions received from consolidated funds will be implemented as per departmental annual action plan with set timeframes,” he added.
In response to a supplementary question by Sajith Premadasa regarding state plans to minimize the friction between wild elephants and the villagers, Chandrasena said, “In the Veheragala area we have allocated some 3,000 acres of land, which is being used to house elephants that have been transferred due to aggressive behaviour. Although a formal census was not carried out, we trust that the number of elephants in Sri Lanka has increased from 3,000 numbers in 1993 to 5,000.”