Wildlife Ministry to conduct internal probe

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The Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Conservation has appointed an Additional Secretary to lead an investigation into the recent death of a leopard caught in a trap attached to a tree in Hatton.

Minister of Wildlife and Forest Conservation Mahinda Amaraweera said the investigation will focus on determining whether Wildlife and Forest Conservation officers acted with negligence, resulting in the leopard’s death.

He said if it is proven that the leopard died as a result of the officers’ negligence, appropriate action will be taken against them.

“Rather than just receiving reports on this, we must now take immediate action. Everyone should contribute their best efforts to protect these species of wildlifeand take steps to ensure that this does not happen again,” he said.

A leopard was caught in a trap attached to a tree and died from injuries, despite wildlife officers’ efforts to cut down the tree and rescue the animal on 6 August. The leopard was caught in a trap set up by some individuals to hunt wild boars and leopards roaming in the Hatton Vanaraja Estate’s Summer Hill section.

The leopard tried to escape the trap by climbing a nearby eucalyptus tree, and by the time wildlife officers arrived and cut down the tree to save the leopard, it was already dead.

The Nallathanniya Wildlife Office’s Wildlife Conservator stated that the facts surrounding the dead leopard will be reported to the Hatton Magistrate’s Court, and its remains will be taken to Randenigala Veterinary Hospital for a post-mortem examination.

By Thameenah Razeek