Lankan elephants will die off by 2045 - AG

By Rathindra Kuruwita

According to an estimate made by the Auditor General’s Department, the elephant population of Sri Lanka will die out by around 2045, Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe said yesterday addressing a media briefing.

"Around 250 elephants die a year on average and after we compared that number with birth rates, its quite likely that our elephant will be extinct in another few decades. However our Wildlife Department does not seem to care."

Commenting on other audits on state institutions, the AG said that the state had incurred a loss of Rs. 15 billion due to rice imports during the last few years. He noted that rice stocks, far in excess of the amounts approved by the Cabinet of ministers, had been imported and most of the stocks had perished at the port.

"Some stocks have been in the port for over six months and there is a lot of waste but no one seems to be responsible for this loss. The state has also lost several billions of rupees by importing cows that do not suit the Sri Lankan conditions," he said.

The Auditor General’s Department has also deployed a team of officials to visit several West Asian countries to investigate the issues faced by the migrant workers. "The Department has received a number of complaints about the Ministry of Foreign Employment. We need to take care of these workers who play a vital role in our economy. When they are in trouble, we see that they are languishing in camps for years in these countries. They need resources to get back and we need to find out why they are not taken care of."

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