An elephant dead on every day; extinction may not be that far away!
Rohan Wijesinha, Member of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society subcommittee on Human Elephant coexistence
As reported in the media on March 25, the Secretary to the Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Conservation announced that 83 wild elephants had been killed in as many days. As at March 29, according to media reports, this number has now risen to 87. These are the number of carcasses that have been counted. Others may have crawled into the depths of the jungles to die, far away from the prying eyes of their tormentors. For, as the Secretary said, at least 50 of the 83 deaths had been caused by electrocution, the connection of mainline electricity to fences, and by hakka patas, explosives hidden in food items favoured by elephants that explode in their mouths when chewed on.
A census of wild elephants, conducted over six years ago, claimed that there were a little over 6, 000 left in the wild. In 2019, official records showed that 407 elephants and 122 humans fell victim to the human – elephant conflict (HEC); the highest number of deaths ever recorded. That figure may be dwarfed at the rate of attrition recorded this year, thus far. With the increasing, and illegal, clearing of their natural habitat, more and more populations of wild elephants are being displaced and are inevitably seeking sustenance in adjacent cultivations, placing those farmers and their families in danger; for let us not forget the human victims of this unfolding tragedy. Populations of wild elephants are not increasing, in fact, the opposite, but they are just being seen more as they desperately search for new refuges and sources of food.
Who are the real beneficiaries of electric fencing?
In a media report of March 27, the Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) has found that in 2019 and 2020, a mind blowing Rs. 490 Million had been spent on electric fencing, in an attempt to reduce the conflict. It is clearly not working, and is due to the fact that most of these fences are in the wrong place; erected at the whims of politicians and not that of science, and commons sense; many separating Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) and Forest Department protected areas, with elephants on both sides of the fences.
Science, and the DWC, has provided a solution in the form of the National Policy for the Conservation of the Wild Elephant, which was passed by Cabinet. In addition, a National Human – Elephant Conflict Mitigation Action Plan (AP) was submitted to His Excellency the President, in December 2020, by a Presidential Committee appointed by him expressly to prepare this plan. Therefore, the AP which not only addresses human needs but is also based on science, takes into account elephant biology, ranging patterns and behaviour, and is available to the Government.
This plan proposes a paradigm shift in the way the Human – Elephant Conflict is addressed, based on pilot models that have operated successfully in the Galgamuwa area for the past eight years. Even with the demonstrated success of these pilot projects, the Government seems determined to pursue with the tested, and failed, model that resulted in this Rs. 490 million investment on ineffective fences at the wrong locations. Sadly, these science-based, practical solutions, that can save human and elephant lives, are just pieces of paper that lie on some Presidential or Ministerial shelf, yet to be acted on.
There is, however, a sacrifice that has to be made in implementing these solutions. It takes away the opportunity for politicians to exhibit their apparent powers of largesse; of gifting away the natural heritage of this country in exchange for votes, while placing those villagers in danger, and retreating themselves to the safety of Colombo where there is no HEC. Though the statistics show that this crisis has accelerated in the last 12 months, this erosion in wildlife conservation has been politically encouraged by all Governments who have held power in the last half century.
What do we bequeath to our children?
Sri Lanka, its policy makers and people, have to decide, and now, whether wildlife and forests are to be preserved for the next generation. For as a keystone species, the health of forests, and of other wildlife, depends on elephants. In addition, are we to leave our children fresh air to breathe and clean water to drink? For without forests, these vital necessities of life will be under threat.
In addition, wild elephants and wildlife are an important source of foreign exchange to this country that provide, and can provide even more, to those who have wildlife as neighbours. How then do we attract visitors to these shores? Come and see barren lands where exotic wildlife once used to be? Surely not.
This is not about party politics or anti-government propaganda; this is fact! Preserve Nature today, or it will kill us tomorrow. In the words of Lyn Margulis, co-president of Gaia (as in The Independent, 23rd October, 2011),
Life on Earth doesn’t need us. We are like other species. We cannot put an end to Nature: we can only pose a threat to ourselves.
Showcasing the epitome of elegance and craftsmanship
Pure Gold by Tiesh has a well renowned Sri Lankan actress Yehali Tashiya Kalidasa as its brand ambassador. She is a multi-faceted young personality who has made her international debut in Pakistani cinema, and perfectly embodies the essence of the Pure Gold by Tiesh brand.
Tiesh, recognized for its exceptional craftsmanship and timeless designs, launched thier latest filigree collection under its subsidiary, Pure Gold by Tiesh. Imported from the best jewellery houses in Europe, Italy, Turkey, and Dubai, this collection features a stunning array of Italian 18-karat jewellery and 22-carat gold pieces adorned with pearls.
The newly unveiled filigree collection showcases a range of breathtaking earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings that exude elegance, dynamism, and vitality. With pieces available in tri-colours, rose gold, white gold, and yellow gold, Pure Gold by Tiesh has curated this collection with careful attention to detail, catering specifically to the wedding season.
Director Thiyasha expressed the brand’s dedication to excellence, stating, “Our jewellery stands out compared to other bridal jewellers. We are deeply invested in every aspect, from design to quality and craftsmanship. Our customers have repeatedly expressed their satisfaction, stating that our collections surpass those of many leading jewellery houses.”
What sets the filigree collection by Pure Gold by Tiesh apart is its versatility, allowing each piece to be worn in multiple ways. With a commitment to inclusivity, Tiesh caters to diverse cultures and ethnicities, offering something for everyone, from beautiful Hindu brides to Muslim brides and traditional Kandian brides.
Director Ayesh De Fonseka elaborated on the collection’s uniqueness, saying, “Each piece is distinct and one-of-a-kind. What’s truly captivating about this collection is its transformative aspect. We are reintroducing our special ring that transforms into a bangle, a design we first introduced in Sri Lanka in 2015.”
The dazzling filigree collection showcases the sheer intricacy and timeless allure of filigree work through an exquisite range. The inclusion of transformative jewellery adds an innovative touch to the collection, setting it apart from Tiesh’s other offerings. Every piece of jewellery from Tiesh is a fusion of traditional and trendsetting elements, allowing customers to express their individual preferences. This exclusivity distinguishes the brand from its competitors, while the meticulous attention to detail adds a touch of modern luxury to each creation.
“We wanted a collection that could complement any look: beautifully paired with your favourite watch, worn as a classic stack of bangles, or simply worn alone for a more subtle appearance,” Thiyasha further added.
The campaign surrounding the filigree collection not only celebrates the grandeur and glamour of modern Sri Lankan women but also pays tribute to the rich culture and bridal market. Tiesh continues to be at the forefront of the jewellery industry, offering exquisite designs that capture the hearts and desires of jewellery enthusiasts worldwide.
Fellowship and networking
Institute of Hospitality Sri Lanka
The Institute of Hospitality, Sri Lanka International branch had their 31st Annual General Meeting recently meeting at Movenpic Hotel Colombo followed by cocktails and fellowship.
This is an annual event, organised by the President Dr. Harsha Jayasinghe and Executive Committee of the Institute.This event is organised for members of the Institute of Hospitality who have shown their dedication and commitment to the tourist industry.
The evening started with a speech from the President of the Institute Dr. Harsha. He spoke about the challenges ahead for the hospitality industry. Sri Lanka is making progress and economy is slowing signs of settling down. There are many tourists to Sri Lanka and this is definitely positive signs for the country said Director/CEO of National Development Bank Dimantha Seneviratne.
It was an entertaining evening with many members of the hospitality industry in attendance. The General Manager of the Movenpick hotel Roshan Perera gave his unstinted support to make a successful event The Chief Guest Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management Shirantha Peiris also spoke
Denara Eid Durbar
The Denara Vocational Training Institute a subsidiary of the All Ceylon Muslim Women’s Association is for the first time conducting a full day’s programme comprising a mini Eid Bazaar, Sale of items produced by the students of Denara and Cuty Rose and an evening of entertainment. It will be open to the public on Saturday,17th June from 9 am to 5 pm and entrance tickets to the exhibition are priced at Rs. 100/- .
Denara was established in October 2021 where courses in dressmaking, needlework, computer classes, cookery classes and Mehendi Art have been carried out. Despite the economic crisis, and all the challenges endured during these past few years, Denara has been able to still conduct the above classes giving many opportunities to the youth. The Vocational and Training Institute is supported by the All Ceylon Muslin Women’s Association, a reputed charity organization of 70 years history to date!
More than 200 items will be exhibited and available for sale, in addition to bed linen, table linen, cushion covers, cloth bags, and others lovingly crafted with beautiful hand embroidery.
Different to regular exhibitions and sales, a second part is being introduced to the day’s activities where a complete Moghul feel will take over! Ambassador for Turkey Demet Sekercioglu, Ambassador for Turkey in Colombo will grace the exhibition at 4 pm.
A spokesperson from the organising committee said that it will be a festive occasion in keeping with Eid, where an evening of music and games, a fashion show by the students of Denara and Cuty Rose showcasing their creations will be held not only to encourage the talented students who have worked hard to showcase their talents, but also to create an entertaining afternoon. The widely acclaimed Muslim Chorale Choir will make a guest appearance complementing the occasion. The day’s proceedings will conclude with a light dinner where tickets for this are priced at Rs. 3,000/- and already available for sale at the Denara Vocational Training Institute Office located at 191/50, Mangala Gardens, Colombo 5. . Please call on 077 853 9890 for further details.
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