Sustainable Development, Wildlife and Regional Development Minister Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka said no political authority would be able to pressure or influence him on how to conduct his duties as the minister in charge of protecting our wildlife.
He said he was happy he got the Wild Life, Sustainable Development portfolio in addition to Regional Development because the protection of wildlife was a national need.
The minister told a media conference that his top priority would be to find a sustainable solution to the human-elephant conflict and protect wild animals which were in danger of extinction.
“I got invitations to accept many other important portfolios but I preferred the portfolio I received. I have already received inquiries from many politicians and businessmen on my new job and I am determined to put an end to poaching and the killing of elephants. But at the same time I must also protect farmers from being attacked by elephants as well as preserve their crops,” he said.
The minister said special attention had to be drawn to visitors to the National Wild Life Parks as many of them behaved in ways that were harmful to wild animals.
“Those who visit wildlife sanctuaries think of it as an opportunity for merry making and partying which is wrong. Wildlife sanctuaries are meant for those who love wildlife and want to preserve it. If they want to drink, dance and play they must find some other place to do those things,” the minister said.
He said he would consider setting up a special location for these fun seekers with a tank, tavern and other facilities to enjoy without harassing wild animals. (Sandun A Jayasekera)