Selling of animal parts on Facebook; two arrested in Seeduwa
ECONOMYNEXT – Two men who had tried to sell Leopard teeth, nails, skin, oil and ivory products on Facebook were arrested in Seeduwa by the Department of Wildlife Conservation on Sunday, officials said.
This was following a tip-off given by Animal Rights Activist Iraki Kodithuwakku.
She told EconomyNext that the accused is a custodian of a Devalaya in the Seeduwa area.
Kodithuwakku appearing as a potential buyer had made contact with the sellers through Facebook and had gone to buy products with officers from the Wildlife Department where one was arrested while trying to make a deal with her.
Later the officers were led to the main dealer who was a custodian at a ‘dewalaya’
“They offered Leopard teeth for a price of Rs 12,000 and Rs 25,000 for Leopard oil,” she said.
Further, She said although these alleged racketeers had said that the Leopard’s tooth was found from the remains of a dead animal which had been killed by a bear at Wilpattu.
However Kodithuwakku said it was quite clear that the teeth were from Leopards of different ages.
Kodithuwakku said that both the Sri Lankan Leopard and Sri Lankan Elephant are listed as endangered in IUCN red list. Possession and trade in body parts is a criminal offence.
“Yet there were many buyers asking for the price of these products for the use of superstitious beliefs to wear as pendants or talismans for prosperity and power,” she added.
The two men were fined Rs 180,000 each by the Negombo Magistrate after they pleaded guilty.