Urgent action called for saving sanctuary
The Kokilai sanctuary has been cleared by using backhoes, harming the
ecosystem of the whole area. About 40 hectares from the lagoon boundary
into the forest have already been cleared.
Kokilai, a treasure
|* Located in
* Declared sanctuary 1952
* Land area: 1995 hectares
* Wildlife: 35 elephants, 176
The cleared land is in Kuchchaweli in the Thenamaranwadiya Divisional
Secretariat in the Trincomalee district.
Two people involved in this activity have been arrested by
Trincomalee wildlife officers Sunday. They are to be produced before the
Kebithigollewa High Court today.
Sri Lanka Nature Forum Sajeewa Chamikara said, cleared mangroves are
piled up in the bare land, and the forest was set on fire resulting in a
massive destruction to the area.
The fire has also spread deeper into the forest. The intention could
be to clear the land for cultivation.
“Two people were seen clearing the forest even yesterday, and a
hidden backhoe was also spotted in the forest,” Chamikara said.
“The impact has become severe with the prevailing rainy weather. Soil
in the cleared areas will be carried to the lagoon with the rain water
filling up the lagoon,” he noted.
Kokilai was declared a sanctuary in 1952, and it consists 1,995
hectares. Chamikara emphasized that, “the forest is the abode for about
35 wild elephants, and is a haven for migrant birds. Migrant birds enter
the country over the Kokilai lagoon.
The number of resident and migrant birds in the sanctuary amount to
176. Three Black-necked stork birds, which are included in IUCN 2007
data book as critically endangered bird species, are also found in this
He also mentioned that this is a clear violation of the National
“The main problem against taking action against these activities is
the lack of Wildlife Conservation and Central Environmental Authority
branches in the region. While carrying out accelerated development
projects in the North and East, natural habitats of wildlife should be
secured, by understanding the importance of conserving natural
ecosystems,” he said.