Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sri Lanka: Kokilai nature reserve 'bulldozed'

A nature reserve in north eastern Sri Lanka is being bulldozed for development and for resettlement after the war, environmentalists say.

Sri Lanka Nature Forum (SLNF), said that over 40 acres of Kokilai nature reserve has been bulldozed during April-May this year.

"It is sad that authorities keep quiet and many environmental problems will emerge as a result of this destruction in an area which is home to herd of 35 elephants," it said.

It warned that the large parts of Kokilai lagoon might soon be filled as a result of this destructive action.

The wetlands surrounding Kokilai lagoon is the habitat of hundreds of birds including migrants. The lagoon itself is renown for its marine life.

SLNF Project Manager Sajeewa Chamikara who recently visited Kokilai told BBC Sandeshaya that a huge area with mangroves was affected by the bulldozing.

"The area adjacent to the bulldozed nature reserve is also destroyed by the fire" he said.

He added that the government has failed to appoint either forestry or wildlife authorities to look after the nature reserve in the north.

However, Resettlement Minister Milroy Fernando told BBC Sandeshaya that government has no need to destroy a nature reserve to resettle war displaced.

"It is not done by the government," he said.

The minister pledged to investigate the accusations when he visit the north on Monday.

© BBC Sinhala

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