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    Proper mechanism and ample time needed to remove cattle form nature reserves

    October 29, 2014

    Wildlife Resources Conservation Minister Wijith Wijayamuni Zoysa said in Parliament today that a formal mechanism and ample time was needed to remove herds of cattle that had been released to Lunugamvehera, Maduru Oya and Udawalawa forest reserves by villagers in the surrounding areas.

    Discussions in this regard were being conducted with the officials of the National Livestock Development Board, the minister said in response to a question raised by UNP Colombo District MP Rosy Senanayake.

    Minister Zoysa said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was the only ruler who had allocated funds to construct ‘Kulu Wewa’s (Ground water replenishing tanks made in the form of winnowing fan) for the benefit of animals after the ancient Sinhala kings. “Therefore, the opposition should understand the fact that this government does its utmost for our wildlife resource,” the Minister said.

    The Minister said that the wildlife officials were aware of the matter of villagers releasing their herds of cattle to the reserve parks though it was illegal. “Action had been taken to increase awareness among villagers and to explain them the possible legal action that could be instituted against them. Cattle owners too have lost the grazing lands and they have been releasing their cattle to the forest reserves. This has also resulted in losing possible pasturelands for elephants that would later maraud to villages,” the Minister said.

    The removal of herds of cattle from the nature reserves would take some more time as it had to be done according to a proper plan, the minister added. (Special Reporter/HC)

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