New boss for Dehiwela zoo, Pinnawala Elephant OrphanageJune 25, 2012, 9:33 pm
By Ifham Nizam
Former Deputy Forest Conservator, Anura de Silva yesterday assumed duties as the Director General of the National Zoological Gardens, Dehiwela and Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage.
Soon after assuming duties, he had number of meetings. At one of the meetings, The Island learns that he took up the salary issues of the employees of both establishments with the Salary and Cadres Commission.
During his discussion with the zoo officials he had stressed on the importance of animal welfare and law and order within the department coming under his purview, according to zoo officials.
They also said that the newly appointed director general was very keen on installing a closed circuit television or CCTV system at the Pinnawala elephant orphanage next.
The idea was that of former Director General, Bashwara Senanka Gunaratne to closely monitor animal activities and monitor closely visitor movements and mahout attitude towards the elephants.
The former zoo chief took the decision in February when there were numerous cases of animal cruelty reported but due to lack of evidence culprits often got away.
Pinnawala is notable for having the largest herd of captive elephants in the world.
In 2011, there were 88 elephants, including 37 males and 51 females from three generations, living in Pinnawala. However, the orphanage now shelters only 83 as five were given away.
Most of the elephants in Pinnawala were either those abandoned or separated from their herds when they were babies. Several were born at the orphanage.
The orphanage was originally founded in order to afford care and protection to many of the orphaned unweaned wild elephants found wandering in and near forests of Sri Lanka.
It was established in 1975 by the Sri Lanka Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC).
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