Wildlife officers continue strike

Wildlife officers in Sri Lanka boycotted work for a fourth day on Thursday in protest over an assault on some officers last week.

President of the All Ceylon Wildlife Association Prabath Karunaratne said that they were not getting involved in controlling the human elephant conflict as part of the protest.

The wildlife officers are usually called in to chase away wild elephants which stray into villages and damage crops, houses and at time kill or injure people.

However, Karunaratne said that as part of the protest, the officers were refraining from chasing away the animals, which was putting both the lives of elephants and humans at risk.

Last week, a group of wildlife officers were assaulted by angry villagers in Ambanpola, north western Sri Lanka when they attempted to rescue an elephant which was stuck in a pit.

The villagers demanded that the elephant be rescued only if it can be shifted away from a jungle next to the village.

As a result of the protest, the elephant was in the pit for two days and was later rescued by officials of the wildlife department and released at a nearby forest reserve.

The villagers were, however, angry over the move as they claimed that the elephant was involved in attacks on some nearby houses.

A vehicle of the wildlife department was damaged in the attack by the villagers while a driver was also injured.

The police said that one suspect was arrested on Wednesday over the incident, but Karunaratne said they would continue to boycott work until all those involved in the attack are taken into custody. (Xinhua)