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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

More pachyderms being targeted by deadly jaw bomb

via TRAFFIC - the wildlife trade monitoring network
From Lakimba News

Patas! More pachyderms being targeted by deadly jaw bomb
By Saliya Kumara Gunasekera

Wildlife and Conservation Department officials in the Wayamba, North and North Central Provinces state that over 300 elephants in total die annually in the above areas.
These officials said that the elephants are being killed by the use of a primitive explosive device known as hakka patas.

Hakka patas are explosives made to resemble loaves of bread and laced with dry fish curry. When an elephant attempts to swallow one, the device explodes, injuring its jaws and sometimes even causing death. Department of Wildlife and Conservation sources told LAKBIMAnEWS that at least ten elephants have been injured by hakka patas in the Wayamba Province alone.

Poachers thriving
According to Wildlife Department officials, poachers use this method to obtain elephant tusks. And with the Department’s raids not having measured up, such ruthless poachers continue to thrive. The officials added elephants have suffered at the hands of these poachers in a wide range of areas including Thuruvila, Rambewa Vavuniya, Padaviya,Kahatagasdigiliya, Galgamuwa and Kala weva.

Environmentalists claimed that Wildlife Department officials have even dispensed with night patrols due to a lack of vehicular facilities. A Department official told LAKBIMAnEWS, on condition of anonymity, “We do not have the necessary vehicles to transport injured animals, nor to bring back to our office suspected poachers.”

Spike in use
When contacted, Director General of the Department of Wildlife and Conservation H.D. Ratnayake commented: “Hakka patas has come into use only relatively recently and its use has increased this year. Not only is it difficult to treat elephants injured by hakka patas, but it is also difficult to track down those using the devices.” He added that they will also be attempting to enlighten villagers on the dangers of using hakka patas.

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