Environmentalists raise concerns over swifts’ nests swindle

Published : 9:09 am  October 12, 2018 | No comments so far |  |  (53) reads | 

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By Kalathma Jayawardhaneand Ranjith Rajapakshe   

Environmental Lawyer Jagath Gunawardena yesterday raised concerns over the recent incident reported on the swifts’ nests that were being collected from a railway tunnel in Singamale, Hatton for trade and added it was a periodically popping up issue since 1993.   


It was recently reported that thousands of swifts’ nests available in the Singamale railway tunnel, Hatton were removed and sold off to some luxurious hotels.   


Mr. Gunawardena said the Indian Swifts had been a protected species under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance since 1964 and as provided by its Section 31, it was an offence to kill, wound any bird or take, destroy or keep in possession any bird, nest or egg or parts of these.   


“Accordingly, it is an offence to sell or attempt to sell any part of any bird. The first instance of edible-nest collection came to notice in 1993. This ordinance has been amended in 2009, where the people engaged in such activities were liable to a penalty of Rs.20,000 to 50,000 or/and a jail term of 2 to 5 years,” he said.   


“We have conducted many raids to nab those who were engaged in this illegal activity with the support of the Police, Wild Life Officers and the Customs Officers. Earlier, people used to export these nests for trade and now there is a high tendency to sell them off to luxury hotels, possibly to make some food cuisines,” he added.   


Meanwhile, the Wildlife Conservation Department Director General M. G. C. Sooriyabandara said they were informed of such an incident and they would take legal actions with this regard as they used to do earlier.   


When contacted Wildlife Deputy Minister Palitha Thewarapperuma said he was not informed of such an incident earlier and added that he would make inquiries into it.   


Pics by Ranjith Rajapakshe