It was the year 2014 and those days I was working in Batticaloa District. There are several Reserves located in Batticaloa District and they all belong to the Department of Forest Conservation. There were no Reserves belonging to the Wildlife Department in this area. But the problem of wild elephants is there throughout the Batticaloa District. Therefore, the Beet Office was also maintained by the Wildlife Department. It was located near KalAdi Bridge. Several other officers worked under me in this office.
One day we received a message that a baby elephant was injured. When we went to the place, we saw male elephant calf about five years old lying down. When the calf was given saline, it got up and walked with difficulty towards the forest. Later we continued to look for the young elephant but did not find it. It was the time that L. T. T. E. terror era and we didn’t walk much in the forests because there may be landmines planted by the terrorists.
About a week after this incident, a message came at around ten in the morning that an elephant had run into the village and was behaving violently. I had a limited staff to support me. Therefore, we went to the village with two army personnel. The elephant has behaved very violently. Usually, wild elephants attack villages at night but this incident happened in the morning. The elephant had gone to vicinity of a house and trampled a dog in front of it. There was also a pre-school nearby where children and people were shouting. We were looking for the elephant and the officers separated and went from place to place. In the meantime, we saw the elephant, it chased after us. Our vehicle was parked nearby and the driver was able to get into the vehicle. I did not get into the vehicle until others get into the it. But I realized that I don’t have time to get into the car. I ran and hid behind a tree. The elephant ran forward and I escaped. After some time, we shot the elephant and chased the elephant into the forest.
Then we investigated how this incident happened. We got to know that the baby elephant mentioned earlier is dead. While searching further, we found the dead body. The calf has eaten a hakkapatas (a food implanted with locally made mines). A male elephant has been crying and screaming near this calf for days. According to the information given by the villagers, it is the same elephant that came to this village. It was thought that the elephant had come to the village because of the suffering elephant calf.
I remembered this as a sensitive and pathetic event. Usually, elephants are accompanied by a mother or a herd, but here a male elephant is sitting with the calf. Maybe another elephant took care of a baby elephant that got away from the herd.
Many lives could have been lost in that incident.
Mr. Janaka Shanta Kumara joined the Wildlife Department as a Grade 03 Wildlife Guard on 09.11.1998. He first worked at Bundala National Park, then worked at Thotabowa Site, Leegala Site and Mullegama Sites of the Gallawala National Park, Palatupana Headquarters and 3, 4, 5 Zones of the Yala National Park, Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home, Batticaloa Elephant Surveillance Unit and Turtle Conservation Center at Dodankumbura.
Currently he is working in Boondala National Park as a Grade I Wildlife Guard and also as the park Warden there.
He has completed a Diploma course conducted by the Department of Wildlife and as a part of the same course he has also received training for about a month in India and also received short training in China as well.
The wife of Mr. JanakaShanta Kumara, Mrs. ThushariBuddhikaAbeyratne, is working as a teacher at the Diyagaha East Junior School, Matara. His son is studying for his Advanced Level Examination while his daughter is studying at the Grade Eight.
His address is Ratnamali, Navimana South, Matara.
Wildlife Reserves in the Batticaloa District include the Kayankarni Marine Sanctuary, part of the Trikonamadu Nature Reserve and a small part of the Seruvila Ale Sanctuary.
Kayankarni Marine Sanctuary
Kayankarni Coral Reef in Madakapu, which is one of the main marine ecological sites on the coast of the eastern region of Sri Lanka, has been declared as a marine sanctuary on April 11, 2019 under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance. Thus, the “Kayankarni Marine Sanctuary” declared for the conservation of marine ecosystems consists of an area of 953 hectares located in the Batticaloa District, KoralePattuwa – North Divisional Secretariat of the Eastern Province and an area of marine land adjacent to that area. It is a precious habitat for a variety of coral reefs and other living plant and animal communities. Kayankarni Marine Sanctuary, located off Kalkuda in Batticaloa District, possess a marine area several times larger than the land area and is highly biologically diverse, including many species of fish that have been discovered so far. This coral reef is said to extend about 800 meters from the north shore of Batticaloa. It is like an underwater garden decorated with colorful fish; this park has been able to attract tourists naturally.
18 species of butterfly fish live on coral reefs are found in clear waters here. Examples for butterfly fish include Chaetodon species; Red-tailed butterflyfish (Chaetodon collare), Speckled butterflyfish (Chaetodon citrinellus), Blackwedged butterflyfish (Chaetodon falcula), Yellowhead butterflyfish (Chaetodon xanthocephalus), Lined butterflyfish (Chaetodon lineolatus), Scrawled butterflyfish (Chaetodon meyeri), Black-backed butterflyfish (Chaetodon melannotus), Latticed butterflyfish (Chaetodon rafflesi), Melon butterflyfish (Chaetodon trifasciatus) and Triangle butterflyfish (Chaetodon triangulum). These are very striking and colorful butterfly fish. They only live in healthy coral reefs. The abundance of these species in these habitats indicates the biodiversity of the habitat. Tourists are naturally attracted by the variety of their colors. Among algae, there are Caulerpa taxifolia, Ulva, Sargassam and Padina species. Among the coral reefs on the thin muddy bottom are Halophile species and sea grass species such as Enhalus acoroides. They are the only flowering plants on the sea floor and the only plants that live in the ocean. A diver will see a variety of coral species, including Devil’s hand corals (Lobophytum) and staghorn corals such as Acropora cervicornis, Acropora formosa, Rose coral (Montipora aequituberuulata). Another variety of coral species found in these coral reefs are Cauliflower coral or Lace coral (Pocillopora damicornis), Rasp coral (Pocillopora verrucosa), Pocillopora eydouxi, Stony coral (Porites rus), Star coral (Favites abdita). Feather duster worms (Sabella species), lobsters (Panulirus species), common spider conch (Lambis lambis), giant spider conch (Lambis truncate), coral snails (Drupa species), onus species and sea urchin (Echinethrix calamaris) are among some of the invertebrates found here.
A large number of stakeholders are engaged in a joint round-the-clock effort to protect Kayankarni Marine Sanctuary and the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA), Wildlife Department and District Secretary are involved in this conservation exercise.
Trikonamaduwa Nature Reserve
Trikonamaduwa, a little-known wildlife reserve, stretches over the districts of Polonnaruwa, Trincomalee and Batticaloa, where Madu trees are widespread. This land with dry mixed evergreen forest cover was gazetted on 24th October 1986 under Gazette Notification No. 424/24. As the entire land is flat topographical, grasslands are also spread and the land is consisting of high forest density of about 25019 hectares. Plants like Satin (Chloroxylon swietenia), Palu (Manilkara hexandra), Veera (Drypetes sepiaria), Milla (Vitex altissima), Ebony (Diospyros altissima), Kalumadiriya (Diospyros quaesita), Maila (Bauhinia racemosa), Grass species such as Vasmen and ManaMana (Cymbopogon confertiflorus), Illuk (Imperata cylindrica), etc. can be seen here. Elephants, who add solemnity to the wilderness, use the Trikonamadu Nature Reserve during their annual seasonal migration. Two tributaries of the Mahaweli River, Verugal Aru and Kandakadu Aru, flow through the reserve and consist of 5-10 tanks and two lakes. This is a native land of animals belonging to the dry region and mammals such as Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), Spotted deer (Axis axis ceylonensis), Sambar bull (Rusa unicolor), Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) can also be seen here.
Ale Sanctuary in Seruwila
Seruwila Ale has been gazetted as a sanctuary on 09.10.1970 under the Gazette Notification No. 14925. This sanctuary is spread over an area of 15,540 hectares in Koddiar Pattuwa Grama Niladhari Division under Seruvila Divisional Secretariat Division of the Trincomalee Administrative District. The vegetation of the sanctuary consists of dry zone evergreen forests and due to the diversity of vegetation, the animals living here get food, shade and shelter. A large shallow lagoon, about 2 meters deep, called Ullackalie is located within the territory of this sanctuary.
Panthera pardus kotiya
Axis axis ceylonensis
සමනල මත්ස්යයන් Chaetodon විශේෂ
Butterfly fish species
Feather duster worms
Common spider conch
The giant spider conch
Coral snails (Drupa species)
இரட்டை சுழல் முல்லை
Devil’s hand corals
Cauliflower coral or Lace coral
Hedge Box wood
මුහුදු තෘණ විශේෂ -හලෝෆිලා
Editor– DammikaMalsinghe, Additional Secretary,Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation, Section, Ministry of Agriculture and Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation (MAWFRC)
Article on park written by– HasiniSarathchandra, Chief Media Officer, Department of Wildlife Coservation (DWLC) MaheshaChathuraniPerera (Graduate Trainee), (DWLC)
Tamil Translations– A.R.F. Rifna, Development Officer, MAWFRC
English Translations – Asoka Palihawadana, Translator, MAWFRC
Web Designing–N.I.Gayathri, Development Officer,MAWFRC -C.A.D.D.A. Kollure, Management Service Officer, MAWFRC
Photography– pictures are from internet.
Sunday Observer (16.12.2018)
Kayankerni Marine Sanctuary; Ecological grandeur, Ravi Ladduwahetti, Sunday Observer (04.09.2022)
Preliminary report on the Status of Kayankerni Coral Reef, Sri Lanka 2019, NishanPerera, Consultant, SACEP
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