Over the years, concerned citizens of Sri Lanka, organizations, visitors to the Zoo and the media have highlighted issues of suffering and inadequate care at the Dehiwala Zoo, which we have brought to the attention of authorities time and again. These criticisms, appeals, requests and recommendations have all been largely ignored. , In the face of inaction, the animals at the Dehiwala Zoo continue to suffer in silence: some visibly in pain from injuries and illness; some in cramped or over-crowded conditions; some in solitary confinemen! some in spaces so constrained that they can barely move; some tied to the same spot for decades; some in concrete pits; some separated from their newborn offspring; many without adequate food or water; and all visibly distressed and depressed. The Dehiwala Zoo has become a place of suffering for all its animals from the largest to the smallest.
l, together with all those who have joined this appeal, wish for a Sri Lanka where our animals enjoy the same freedom, happiness and protection from fear and harm as our people do.
As such we appealfor: . A rescue and rehabilitation plan with a clear timeline for the animals. . The conversion of the premisesforalternate public use-a parkand botanicalgarden that protects the valuable flora on the site and provides skilled employment to the Zoo employees . The commitment to provide Sri Lanka's children with the right education in conseruation and compassion.
We believe in a compassionate Sri Lanka that cares for all lives. A better Sri Lanka for our animals, environment, and our children who must grow up to become their protectors. l, together with the compassionate citizens of Sri Lanka,'request your intervention as custodians of these animals in state care to end the suffering faced by these animals.
The time is NOW for you to close the Dehiwala Zoo and rescue its animals from the suffering that they have endured. The time is NOW for you to close this sordid chapter in Sri Lanka's history. The time is NOW for you to demonstrate to the world that we will lead, not follow, conservation efforts based on the Abhayabumi principle of our ancient heritage. The time is NOW to provide our children with the right education so that they grow up to earn the right living. The time is NOW for us to become a differently educated Sri Lanka that respects, values and truly protects our animals and forests; and transfers that knowledge to our children, so that they grow up to be kind, compassionate, ethical, and environmentally responsible adults. Only then will our country prosper.