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