Mystery shrouds destruction o Kokilaif bird sanctuary
Posted on May 31st, 2010

Mahinda Gunasekera

By E-mailƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 
ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 84 Tambrook Drive
ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Agincourt, Ontario
ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Canada, M1W 3L9
May 30, 2010
Hon. Anura Priyadarshana Yapa
Minister of the Environment
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Honourable Minister,
Destruction of Kokilai Bird Sanctuary
ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 
I refer to the news item carried in the Island Newspaper on May 4, 2010 relating to the bulldozing of nearly 1,000 acres and torching the area using petrol resulting in the destruction of Weaver Bird Nests found in the Kokilai BirdƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 
I am somewhat encouraged to learn that you had undertaken to have the matter investigated and act to restore these rare and rich environmental treasures. However, as I have not read of the outcome of your investigations and the
steps if any being taken to bring the culprits to book, and take corrective measures to rectify the situation with speed, I feel obliged to address this note to you.
I was saddened and shocked to read that the police were helpless as there appeared to be a powerful politician backing theƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ miscreants who want to take over this land for other purposes.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 
It is Sri Lanka’s bane to have corrupt politicians who mistakenly think that they are above the law, andƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ they can resort to any type of illegal activity for personalƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ profit, and a law enforcement department which has to dance to the tune of the policiansƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ fearing toƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ perform their duty as they could be penalised for doing the right thing.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Law and order and disciplineƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ should be given a high priority to enable the country to progress in an orderly manner.
I shall be glad if you would kindlyƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ letƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ the public knowƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ the outcome of your investigations andƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ the nature of theƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ actionƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ taken so far by the ministry.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 
Yours sincerely,
Mahinda Gunasekera
ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 
Mystery shrouds destruction of bird sanctuary
ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The North East coast lost a valuable portion of another tourist attraction yesterday, a large section of the Kokilai Bird Sanctuary.

Nearly 1,000 acres were bull dozed destroying between 2,000 and 3,000 Weaver bird nests forever.

The cleared areas were immediately torched after petrol had been sprayed.

The sanctuary has about 6,000 acres. “We urge the authorities to act immediately. We fear there is a hidden political hand behind this,” a senior citizen said.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ “Police were helpless when we inquired. They said the clearance was taking place for agricultural purposes. While some say for construction purposes,” a senior resident said.

Ornithologists said that of the 13 Black headed Storks found in Sri Lanka, three were reported in the Sanctuary, apart from large number of pelicans and other hundreds of migrants.

Villagers also said that the said area was home to 35 elephants including a tusker.

Environment Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa told The Island yesterday that he would investigate and act swiftly.

Environmental Lawyer Jagath Gunawardena told The Island that no one can clear a sanctuary without getting the Environmental Impact Assessment and the approval through the National Environment Act.

He said that under the Fauna and Flora Ordinance too it is prohibited to clear land belonging to a sanctuary.

Gunawardena said if anyone complains either to the Central Environment Authority or the Department of Wildlife, authorities must act.

Such clearance would also affect the fisheries in the area and also damage aquatic resources, he said.

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