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Thursday, 27 January 2011






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Government Gazette

Dangers of trap gun use

Dangers of trap guns were exhaustively explained in the article by Vidya Abhayagunawardana and published in your paper on January 10.

This gives us a measure of the level of deterioration of value and care for human life and that of wildlife. Sri Lankans are well known for their hospitality and loving kindness all over the world. Man made tragedies of the above nature would undoubtedly tarnish this image if no corrective measures are taken soon. At a time when there are powerful lobbies to protect Animal Rights etc, this type of trends do not abode well for the country’s image.

Death became a very common phenomenon during the preceding decades due to indiscriminate killing of civilians using suicide bombers and car-bus-train bombs etc by the so-called Northern liberation insurgents. These were in addition to the sacrifices made by members of the brave Armed Forces in eradicating this menace. The adverse impact on Sri Lankan social fabric is now becoming evident with this type of careless and inconsiderate actions.

Development activities

These trap guns manufactured by Local Blacksmiths mostly maim animals and disable civilians than killing. Demand for bush meat makes this a tragic reality.

Per the January 10 article under reference, Anuradhapura Judicial Medical Officer estimates up to Rs 500,000 being cost of medical care and other hospital expenses for each injured person and at an average over 200 such patients each year. This is roughly Rs 100 million of Government funds annually that could easily be channelled for development activities of the country.

We recently sponsored donation of a dozen of Wheel Chairs to disabled people in a suburb of City of Anuradhapura.

Although we initially thought the injuries may have happened due to Landmines, it was hurtful to learn that the cause was the trap guns.

A maimed animal such as an Elephant may suffer for a very long time before it succumbs to its injuries in an agonizing way.

Dangerous game

About a month ago, there were reports of an injured baby elephant in an area not too far from Anuradhapura again. In this instance, it was a pumpkin stuffed with explosives that was set up as a trap to kill a wild boar, which smashed the tongue and the jaws of the unlucky baby elephant. It may not have been instantaneous death, but a prolong suffering and an agonising death.

The culprits recklessly call these improvised bombs ‘Hakka pattas’, giving a ruthless meaning to the intended results. The barbaric objective of this device apparently is to get the body of the animal intact for meat by blowing its head. Even writing this is not easy!

The villagers who get injured or killed are the ones that go to collect fire wood or their cattle stocks in the jungle. For generations this has been part of village life and it has now become a very dangerous game between life and death.

There is an urgent need to reinstate the human values in these communities, especially in a sacred area like Anuradhapura. I appeal to the authorities in charge of civil administration in these areas to address these issues using whatever the existing powers vested in them, for the sake of ensuring the safety and well-being of people affected. I suggest steps of following nature would surely check these nefarious activities:-

* Start up an awareness campaign (involving hospital authorities too) as to the human cost resulting from trap gun incidents.

*Animal Rights campaigners in Colombo and other cities to take up a leading role in this campaign.

* Rigid implementation of a ban on manufacture of these trap guns by local blacksmiths.

* Super market chains to play their part by establishing mobile sales units to cover these areas for the distribution of food products such as fish and meat at affordable prices to these villagers, thereby effectively reducing the demand and need for bush meat.

* For hunting purposes, to set up easy and correct procedures to issue licence to the villagers to acquire guns.

* The people who still would flout these human liberties by setting up trap guns, to be found, named and shamed.



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