How about strictly enforcing the ban on traps and use of trap guns with increased vigor, distinguishing it from other form of hunting?
Poaching is an organized crime, and like felling of trees, sand mining, distilling moonshine, they continue unabated as they receive patronage from the very top, and the connivance of the security forces by way of corruption to look the other way.
If you speak to staff of the Department of Wildlife Conservation, whose task it is to catch poachers, their biggest fear when out patrolling is being injured or killed by traps and trap guns that are very carefully camouflaged. Most often no one is apprehended for trap guns and traps as the deed is done remotely, without the culprit present, except when setting it. Trap guns also kill many innocent civilians who happen to go into the forest to pick medicinal plants or berries for personal use, the occasional poacher falls prey to his own trap. If my suggestion below is acted upon, the DWC staffers will be more productive in their tasks too. A win win proposition.
It is time to distinguish this particularly nasty method of maiming and killing, including Hakka Pattas where food items are wrapped in poison or fuses that blow up upon touch.
Man has hunted for a livelihood since the beginning of the human race, however they have been banned from hunting in Sri Lanka only in the last 50 years. However due to this urge for continuation, there are poachers everywhere and every day in the Island now.
If poachers know that society does not or will never tolerate this particularly nasty form of killing and maiming where even small elephants fall prey to this vicious form of cruelty, we may as a society be able to reduce the incidence of this form of horrific killing. It is state sponsorship of publicity, of show trials covering all media when people are apprehended, and earnestly informing the police that they too will be harshly punished, if there are traps found in their jurisdiction, that will show results by seeing a reduction.
My contention is that every rural police station knows who poach. So it is actually easy for them to give out the message that as they too will be implicated in such instances, poachers are more likely to listen and desist. With new technology, this form of killing becomes easy and nastier and more horrific. Why have we not been able to get a handle on it?
Traps are indiscriminate forms of killing as they don’t select which man or beast is caught in the trap. It is the worst form of killing. In nations that permit hunting, they are able to prevent such practices, as they are able to provide the hunter with an outlet for their desire that is hard wired in their DNA in a more humane way! My contention then is that the laws in Sri Lanka have not prevented the worst form of animal cruelty, by banning all killing, and in fact created a bigger platform for traps and trap guns.
There are professional trappers in many countries, who are competent in only catching the vermin they are permitted to kill, and so don’t engage in the practices that poachers use in Sri Lanka. The Media and Police must act publicize this form of killing as being totally unacceptable and the Government do its part by increasing the sentences and fines for their use.
I can only hope that common sense prevails and we are able to civilize our poachers from being indiscriminate killers to more selective type. Of course my desire is to see a species management program, so that their energies are directed in the right direction and we are then able to save animals that are endangered at the same time. After all the suggestion above is not to encourage hunting, but to re direct their skills in the right direction eventually, when Sri Lanka matures to a true era of sustainable practices of farming and wildlife management.