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Wednesday September 27th, 2023

Money shortages may force Sri Lanka zoos to consider selling or releasing animals

ECONOMYNEXT – Fears of animal feed shortage has led crisis-hit Sri Lanka’s key zoological gardens to consider selling and releasing animals to downsize animal population to a manageable level, a top Zoological Department official said, amid the island nation’s worsening economic conditions.

Amid ongoing economic crisis, officials at Sri Lanka’s three main zoological gardens are preparing for possible feed shortages in the future because the sovereign debt-defaulted country does not have dollars to import such feeds.

The move comes as the South Indian island nation is expecting a possible food shortage among the country’s 22 million population in coming months, while lack of US dollars have limited President Gotabaya Rajapaksa government in importing both essential food for people and feed for animals.

“There is no feed shortage yet. There are some due payments for some feed suppliers and that is the issue we have at the moment,” a senior Zoological Department official told EconomyNext asking not to be named fearing possible consequences from the higher ups for reveling the real conditions.

“There are excess population of certain animals in the zoos including deers. And we are discussing with the Wildlife Department to see the possibilities to see whether we can release some of those animals back to the wild. In that way we can reduce some of the expense,” the official said.

“And also there are some domestic animals such as rabbits and birds. If there are excessive population in those animals, we will take actions to sell them. through this, we can reduce the number of animals and cost.”

On Wednesday, Minister of Agriculture and Wildlife, Mahinda Amaraweera said, concerns over finding required feed for the animals in zoological gardens in the country have been raised amid current worsening economic conditions.

Sri Lanka has around 5,000 animals under three zoological gardens in Dehiwala, Pinnawala, and Safari Park in Hambanthota.

The official said precautions are being taken to increase the income of the zoological gardens and reduce the costs at the moment including cultivating  short term crops to add to the feed supply and purchasing plant based feed from third parties have also been considered.

“We need to prepare for the worst situation, considering the economic situation of the country,”  the official said adding that introducing local substitutes for import feeds.

“We have to not kept any unnecessary excessive amount of food in our stores,” the official said.

The daily feed cost of Sri Lanka’s all zoological gardens is around 250,000 rupees.

The official said other innovative options are also being considered to prevent the starvations at zoo.

“One is foster care system. This was already there but not active. Since we already have inquiry from the interested parties, we will initiate the program in the next two days as a support for the system while letting the people interact with animals,” the official said.

“Also, we are open for donation. In special occasions people can do donations and the Department will issue a certificate for the donors, appreciating their contribution towards the wellbeing of the animals in the gardens. For the people who do not like to contribute in money, they can donate goods, foods  and medicine.”

“A medicine shortage is also there, but none of the essential medicines are in shortage yet. We are securing several suppliers for other medicines as well.” (Colombo/ June 2/2022)

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Sri Lanka to have country pavilion at COP28 in bid for Climate Justice Forum

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Cabinet has approved the proposal by its Minister of Environment to maintain a country pavilion during the 28th Conference of Parties (COP28), to display “national level initiatives related to climate change”.

Sri Lankan delegates representing the country’s interests at COP28 in November are to present a proposal to establish a forum, with the aim of raising a “common voice” for the aspirations of developing countries in the global dialogue over climate change.

While attending COP28 to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change from 30 November to 12 December in Dubai, the Sri Lankan delegation is to present the proposal to the official body requesting permission for Sri Lanka to initiate a “Climate Justice Forum”.

The Cabinet decision said that the purpose of the forum is “raise a common voice regarding the aspirations of developing countries, together with countries that are more likely to be at risk due to climate change”. (Colombo/Sep27/2023)

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Sri Lanka’s sex workers face false charges: Women’s collective

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s sex workers have faced fundamental rights violations including unlawful detention and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, a representative of the Abhimani Women’s Collective said at a conference yesterday (26).

“Following their arrest, sex workers frequently experience the infringement of their fundamental rights, including the right to fair treatment, due process and protection from cruel and inhumane treatment,” said a report by the Abhimani Women’s Collective.

Soliciting on the street is currently illegal under section 7 1 (a) of the Vagrants Ordinance which criminalizes ‘any person in and about any public place soliciting any person for the commission of any act or of illicit sexual intercourse or indecency.

This provision along with section 2 of the Brothel’s Ordinance, which criminalizes the aiding and abetting of the management of a brothel, has been used to arrest sex workers in the country.

However, many sex workers claim that they have been presented before court on false charges of drug possession and have been subjected to harassment by both Police and customers.

“When inquiries are made over our arrest, the police say that we have been charged with drug possession,” Sakuni Mayadunna, a sex worker, said.

“Prostitution is not legal in Sri Lanka, so therefore, sex workers will face problems,” Chief of Police in charge of the Child and Women Abuse Prevention, Renuka Jayasundara, said.

“However, every citizen has fundamental rights in this country. We have not authorized the Police to carry out actions such as hitting detainees or not providing a female officer. If those actions happen, a complaint must be filed.”

Attorney-at-Law for the legal aid commission, Ganga Somarathna, said that the legal aid commission provides legal support for such victims whose income is below 45,000 rupees and also for women and children. (Colombo/Sep27/2023)

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Sri Lanka to introduce social security system: minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Labour minister has said that they are set to introduce a comprehensive national social security system, covering all workers.

“The system will address the weaknesses of the current system and provide much-needed support to workers and their families,” Manusha Nanayakkara, Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment said on X (formerly known as Twitter).
He did not specify the details.

Nanayakkara also spoke of the need for robust social security when he met with exporters last week to discuss labor law reforms, boosting female workforce participation and attracting FDI.

Sri Lanka plans to reform labour laws for an export-oriented economy.

The pandemic and the economic crisis highlighted the need to improve the coverage of social security.

Studies have shown that Sri Lanka’s women are kept out of formal employment by childcare, elderly care and housework, as day care and elderly homes are either too expensive or too few.

The government imposed a Social Security Contribution Levy to increase its revenue last year. (Colombo/Sep27/2023)

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