|Thursday, 24 January 2002|
by Tharika Goonathilake
A 24-hour hotline to record complaints and tip-offs on the illegal possession, transportation, killing or domestication of wildlife will be established by the Wildlife Department next month.
The first of its kind in the department, it is aimed at curbing the current escalation of offenses against the Wildlife Ordinance.
"A large number of protected wild animals including birds and reptiles are still traded, domesticated and even killed for meat despite laws, heavy fines and even possible jail terms. The hotline seeks public help in bringing the culprits to book," WildLife Department Director Dayananda Kariyawasam told the `Daily News' yesterday.
It will be operated even during weekends and holidays with a special operator capable of initiating immediate action. The department's flying squads and regional staff countrywide will make prompt investigations round the clock.
Informants will be entitled to a special rewards based on the detection value.
"The department's flying squads with personnel in excess of 700 has been able to make a large number of detections over the years.
The hotline will further enhance their efforts since it will be operated entirely on public complaints and tip-offs," the Director said.
Under Sri Lanka's (Amended) Fauna and Flora Ordinance of 1993, it is prohibited to hunt, take or destroy eggs of protected birds, kill animals and reptiles and fire guns inside a nature reserve.
There is also a general prohibition on shooting and killing, or being in the possession of any protected animal, reptile, bird or amphibian, or be in possession of meat or any part of a protected animal, bird, reptile or amphibian species.
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