Petition Closed

FREE THE WILD-BORN RITIGALA ELEPHANT CALVES AT PINNAVALA, SRI LANKA

Update on 27th Feb 2016: Our campaign continues! We still need your signatures as our team efforts on World Animal Day (2015) were futile! 

Significant changes have since taken place within the responsible agency - the  DWC (Dept of Wildlife Conservation) - with new responsibilities. With it, our campaign is moved forward through shared efforts and raised awareness.. Please circulate this Petition -- to support the cause (i.e. return the wild-born baby elephants to the rehabilitation programme enabling their reintegration into the wild)! Thank you for the much-needed campaign support!

"The Elephant Transit Home (ETH) in Ritigala was established less than four years ago in central Sri Lanka, to operate as a ‘transit’ site and administered by the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC). Its aim was to facilitate foster care for elephant babies born in the wild who were orphaned, injured or abandoned, with a mandatory right to freedom in the wild once weaned.

Ritigala ETH was home to five inseparable baby elephants (Mahasen, Kalana, Vasala, Pandula and Migara) under the age of four years, lovingly fostered by the resident carers as a transit home, for elephants. It was hastily abandoned on the 29th October 2013 when controversy surrounded its management and conflicting interests by the self-serving political set-up of the Ministry of Wildlife under whose purview it is. The five resident infants were displaced and callously separated - some for relocation for captivity to Pinnavala, as “exhibits,” others to Uda Valave, ETH. Transport was by truck, in violation of the law, and the babies shackled for the first time in their lives, as captives. Minimal consideration was given to the overall wellbeing of the wild-born calves concerned, both psychological and physical.

They were robbed of their freedom and their close companions in the wild.  Their little mentor Mahasen and Pandula, the younger were unethically showcased in captivity at the mini-zoo set up for the CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting) held in Colombo in mid-November 2013 – as mere wildlife ‘exhibits’ amidst terrible trauma. This was strongly opposed by environmentalists and animal rights activists, amidst the chaos of ‘unaware’ members of the general public.

Elephant calves in captivity are abused with ankus and sticks, neglected, exploited, chained and enslaved by untrained and uncaring individuals (whether mahouts/keepers or captor-owners) over a lifetime, without the provision of adequate care, nurture, access to drinking water, exercise or bonding within a herd in a natural environment that  sustains them in the wild.

The present alternative to suit their welfare is to relocate the foster family of babies with immediate effect to the Elephant Transit Home in Uda Valave in the custody of DWC, and to assure their safe return to a suitable natural “protected” habitat together, once weaned – devoid of the current practice of political intervention for captive exploitation.

We need your signature by World Animal Day – 4th October 2015, to ensure their freedom! Please help  these orphaned babies to secure their natural birthright in the wild, through rehabilitation and reintegration among their own kind."

References

Sri Lankan environmentalists oppose moves to shut down transit home for elephants in Ritigala, Sat, Jul 20, 2013. Colombo Page: Sri Lanka Internet Newspaper.

http://www.colombopage.com/archive_13B/Jul20_1374339027JR.php 

PARTNERS

Occupy for Elephants – San Francisco 

Action for Elephants UK

March for Elephants San Francisco

March for Elephants Santa Cruz

Global March for Elephants and Rhinos (GMFER)

 

This petition was delivered to:
  • President of Sri Lanka HE Maithripala Sirisena
  • Minister of Sustainable Development & Wildlife Hon Gamini Jayawickrama Perera
  • Director General Department of Wildlife Conservation Mr H.D Ratnayake
  • Director National Zoological Gardens Mr Anura de Silva


Sudarshani Fernando SENTINELS AGAINST WILDLIFE CRIME (SAWC) started this petition with a single signature, and now has 5,150 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.