Importer gets his birds backJuly 3, 2012, 9:53 pm
By Ifham Nizam
Attempts by the government to allow those involved in the illegal importation of birds to get away would demoralise those who had done their duty by the country, Environmental Lawyer/Activist Jagath Gunawardena said yesterday.
He told The Island that law abiding people were being victimised while those who had been involved in illegal activities were going scot free.
He stressed that such a move by the government would encourage smugglers to bring in whatever they wanted.
On May 7, 121 birds, including some of the most exotic species in the world were seized by the Customs Department as they had been illegally imported from Bangkok.
Those birds were later handed over to the Zoological Gardens in Dehiwela.
The then Zoo Director General, Bashwara Senanka
Gunarathne, instructed officials to house the birds on a farm belonging to the Zoo. The Island learns that the former DG, despite numerous efforts by the importers to have the birds released to them, decided to keep them under the Zoo’s control.
Last week the birds were returned to the importers by the present Director General, Anura de Silva.
De Silva has told officials that the zoo was without funds and facilities to look after the birds. Our efforts to contact him were in vain.
The importer was fined Rs. 450,000 and the birds valued at Rs. 15 million were confiscated.
The blue and yellow Macaw, indigenous to South America, sells at Rs. 1.2 million.
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Last Updated May 22 2013 | 10:58 pm