Conservationists who happen to keep the world's elephants very close at heart will most likely frown at the news that Sri Lanka intends to present a Buddhist temple with a gift consisting of 359 elephant tusks.Granted, Sri Lanka only came to own these elephant tusks following their being seized by the country's authorities in last year's May, while being transported from Dubai to Kenya.
Still, this piece of information does little – if anything, that is – to change the fact that, as Mongabay explains, this gift very much goes against the rules and regulations listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
More so given the fact that, as previously reported, religions such as Buddhism, Catholicism and others of their kind must be held accountable for promoting poaching activities as a result of their marketing various trinkets made from ivory.
Commenting on Sri Lanka's decision to offer these seized elephant tusks to a Buddhist temple, Patrick Omondi, currently employed as the senior assistant director with the Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS) argued as follows:
“We want the ivory back to undertake DNA profiling to establish its exact origin; to use as exhibit in case of any arrest. The Sri Lanka Government should follow the rules of CITES convention as a party to CITES.”
Meanwhile, Manori Gunawardena, an elephant researcher now working in Sri Lanka, maintains that these elephant tusks must be destroyed, both because this would send poachers a noteworthy message, and because this so-called blood ivory is not fit to be a gift for a temple.
Backing up his statements, conservationist Pubudu Weeraratne said that, “They [the poachers] may have killed a herd of 170 to 200 elephants to obtain these tusks. By gifting this blood ivory to Dalada Maligawa our rulers are trying to bring discredit to this sacred temple.”
Hopefully, Sri Lanka's government will soon agree to reconsider its decision.