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10 jackals killed to prevent rabies in Milleniya

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by Ifham Nizam

Ten Sri Lankan jackals (Canis aereus naria) have been killed so far with the assistance of the police to prevent rabies in Milleniya, Horana in the Kalutata distinct, a senior official of the Department of Wildlife Conservation said.

“There was no option but to kill the rabies- infected jackals”, he noted.

“We were very systematic in our approach. We don’t like to kill animals but it was beyond our control and with the Covid-19 spread in most parts of the country, we had to act fast,” the official said.

However, villagers were not given the authority to carry out the task, he said. “Some animals did have natural deaths due to rabies infection.”

When jackals are infected with rabies, they have a tendency to attack people and animals, the official explained. “Otherwise, they are generally very shy, especially when it comes to people.”

The threat is under control now, though there’s an ongoing battle between the villagers and jackals especially at nights and early in the morning, he further said.

The Sri Lanka jackal (Canis aereus naria), a subspecies of the golden jackal, is the country’s only wild canid.

Jackals are widespread hunters and scavengers; thus, animal activists strongly believe any attempt to cull them would lead to ecological imbalances across its range.

An animal activist said the Wildlife Department failed to take timely action to neutralize the threat. “This led to dozens of jackals being killed. We were told villagers in Milleniya are now carrying out frequent attacks”.

Dogs are the main source of human rabies deaths, according to the World Health Organization. It accounts for nearly 99 per cent of all rabies transmissions to humans globally.

Dog bites account for about 96 per cent of all animal bites in Sri Lanka, while another 2% come through domesticated cats. Wild animals accounted only for two per cent of reported cases.

Reported cases of rabies in different species in Sri Lanka from 2005 to 2014, based on data from the government’s Medical Research Institute (MRI) and the Department of Animal Production and Health, had not included jackals in the list of 18 animals.

The jackals with rabies in Milleniya must have contracted the disease from dogs, an expert says.

Veterinarians will inoculate the dogs in the area, Director of Wildlife at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of Peradeniya, Dr. Tharaka Prasad told The Sunday Island.

“We have found dogs with rabies in the area and the jackals must have contracted rabies from them. We are confident the vaccination program could be completed soon. We have ruled out the use of a rabies bait vaccine (a sachet containing a rabies vaccine) for the jackals as it would lead to other complications’, he added.



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BASL urges President to de-escalate tensions in different parts of country

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The Bar Association of Sri Lanka has called upon President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to instruct the Defence Secretary, the Commanders of the Tri Forces and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is an immediate de-escalation of tensions in different parts of the country – especially at fuel stations – understanding the difficulties faced by the public.”

 “Whilst keeping in mind that the police and armed forces are acting under very trying circumstances, nevertheless it is necessary to give strict instructions to the police and the forces to desist from violence in dealing with the public and to act with utmost restraint”, the BASL has said in a media statement.

 “We also call upon you to ensure that steps are taken under the law to deal with errant officers who have subjected civilians to such violence.”

The BASL is of the view that it is not appropriate for service personnel to be deployed in the present manner in matters which essentially should be managed by the Sri Lanka Police.

 The armed forces should also not be used to disturb or hinder peaceful protests as was seen last week in Galle.

Full text of the BASL letter to the President:

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) expresses its gravest concerns at the current situation at fuel stations throughout the country and the reports of several incidents of conflicts between civilians and members of the police force and the armed forces at fuel stations. There has been video footage of civilians being assaulted by personnel of the armed forces and the police, the latest being of a civilian being kicked by an Army officer at a fuel station. There have also been situations of the police and Army opening fire into the air to contain the crowd.

Your Excellency is no doubt aware that thousands of desperate civilians are waiting in queues at hundreds of fuel stations in the country. The queues are kilometres long. The tension at the fuel stations have arisen from this desperation for which there is no immediate solution in sight.

The BASL wishes to warn Your Excellency of the imminent dangers this situation could give rise to. The present unrest could result in a conflagration between civilians and members of the armed forces or the police. Some years ago, confrontations between members of the public and the armed forces resulted in the deaths of civilians. Such incidents between the members of the armed forces or the police and the civilians will discredit Sri Lanka’s armed forces and the police.

We call upon Your Excellency to take all necessary steps to give instructions to the Defence Secretary, the Commanders of the Tri Forces and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is an immediate de-escalation of the situation in different parts of the country – especially at fuel stations – understanding the difficulties faced by public. Whilst keeping in mind that the police and armed forces are acting under very trying circumstances, nevertheless it is necessary to give strict instructions to the police and the forces to desist from violence in dealing with the public and to act with utmost restraint. We also call upon you to ensure that steps be taken under the law to deal with errant officers who have subjected civilians to such violence.

The Sri Lanka Army and other service personnel must be deployed only in very limited circumstances as contemplated in the Criminal Procedure Code. The BASL is of the view that it is not appropriate for service personnel to be deployed in the present manner in matters which essentially should be managed by the Sri Lanka Police. The Armed Forces should also not be used to disturb or hinder peaceful protests as was seen last week in Galle.

We trust that this will receive the immediate attention of the Government as to do otherwise may otherwise result in unprecedented turmoil and harm.

The BASL believes that the ultimate solution to the situation at fuel stations is to be transparent with the public and to ensure an equitable and effective system of fuel distribution throughout the country.

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SC orders AG to submit report on fuel purchases and distribution

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By A.J.A. Abeynayake

A three-member Supreme Court bench consisting of Justices Vijith Malalgoda, Mahinda Samayawardena and Arjuna Obeysekera yesterday ordered the Attorney General to submit a report on fuel purchases, the distribution thereof and the sectors to be provided with fuel on a priority basis.

The Supreme Court made the order after considering two fundamental rights petitions presented by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka.

The BASL has requested the Supreme Court to direct the Cabinet of Ministers to consult all stakeholders and independent experts to formulate and implement the necessary policies, and to provide concessions in relation to the prices of essential goods and services to the people including LP gas, fuel, electricity, milk powder, medicines and food.

The petitions were filed by the President of the BASL Saliya Pieris PC, Deputy President Anura Meddegoda PC, former Secretary Rajeev Amarasuriya, Treasurer Rajindh Perera and the Assistant Secretary Pasindu Silva.

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A/L may be delayed by one month

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Education Minister Sushil Premajayantha told Parliament yesterday that although it had been scheduled to hold the G.C.E. A/L Examination 2022 in November this year, it could be further delayed by another month.

Responding to a question by MP Shantha Bandara, the Minister said: “The examination should be held at least after three months of releasing the results of the previous A/L exam because the students who need to sit it again should have enough time to prepare,” the Minister said.

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