Kalana, the servant of God Katharagama | Sunday Observer

Kalana, the servant of God Katharagama

Kalana, the jumbo who originally belonged to the Pinnawala herd and gifted by former President, Ranasinghe Premadasa to the Devinuwara Vishnu Devalaya in 1989, was neglected by the Basnayake Nilame of the Devalaya and his mahout. It was reported that he was tied at the same place by heavy chains for around three years and as a result, the chain has cut into the skin of a leg, which has become infected. Certain animal rights activists have demanded that Kalana be released to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, instead of leaving him at Ridiyagama Safari Park, where he currently remains.

However, Sujeewa says this is not a good solution as Kalana will again be chained in Pinnawala. “Earlier on, there was a similar instance where an elephant was relocated to Pinnawala and remained tied at the same place for about 12 years. Kalana should be freed from the chains at least gradually, not tied up. At least he should not be chained on all four legs,” he says.

Sujeewa sees the ‘Ath Athuru Sevana’ in Udawalawe as a better option than Pinnawala. “There are experienced officers to look after the elephants and to rehabilitate them there,” he says, adding that Kalana, although from the Pinnawala herd, has become agressive since being tied up at the Devalaya. As he is aggressive he cannot be released to the wild. Further, as he was domesticated, like Bandula, he also doesn’t know to identify food sources in the wild.

Weerarathna on the other hand, believes Kalana should be returned to Pinnawala, where he is originally from, since he might calm down and become less aggressive. “ His mentality might change thus it might be possible to free him from the chains,” Weerarathna says.