In recent years, Sri Lanka has had an epidemic of baby elephant smuggling. The babies are stolen from the wild, after their mothers are killed, and sold illegally or gifted to politicians, Buddhist temples and wealthy businessmen. Elephants are considered a status symbol in Sri Lanka, and can be rented out for use in festivals, for big profits.
In January of 2015, when newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena came into office, there were 60 plus illegally owned baby elephants held in captivity. These baby elephants had been stolen from the wild during the previous corrupt Rajapaksa regime. Rajapaksa himself was involved in this heinous criminal activiy, along with other businessmen, politicians, and monks. A team under the new government, went on a mission to seize the illegally owned baby elephants. As with all captive elephants in Sri Lanka, they were all chained or tied, and unable to even turn around.
At present, legal action is being taken to free all the babies. The case for 15 of these elephants was won, and they have been in the process of their rehabilitation, at the Elephant Transit Home. Older ones are at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, waiting for court cases, and others are still with their illegal owners, with court cases pending.
In a cruel twist of fate, legal action has been taken to return the 15 baby elephants to their captors, for a period of 3 months, to be used in festivals. This will have devastating conseqeunces. If that weren't bad enough, President Sirisena also talked about the baby elephants being used for "industrial purposes" meaning hard labor. It is a travesty that the president of a Buddhist country, would support such heinous, illegal activity, and put festivals above the welfare of it's precious elephants. Hopefully with this petition, along with other acitons being taken, the president will come to his senses and do the right thing, showing the world that Sri Lanka is true to it's Buddhist religoin.