The Maharagama Sita elephant was shot with a rubber bullet rifle by a civil defense soldier attached to the regional wildlife office, according to a statement from the Police Media Spokesperson’s Office.
A spokesperson from the wildlife department explained that civil defense troops are assigned to the wildlife department to help maintain and protect the elephant fence. They are also deployed for security duties related to the wildlife department on special occasions.
An officer from the Civil Defense Department who was attached to the Mapakada Lake Wildlife Regional Office was arrested by the police in connection with the shooting. He is scheduled to appear before the Mahiyangana Magistrate Court.
The incident has sparked controversy, with some social media posts suggesting that wildlife officials attempted to carry out the shooting and blame it on a civil security guard. The wildlife department clarified that the officer involved, while a civil guard, was performing duty under the wildlife department at the time of the incident. Therefore, responsibility for the incident has been transferred to the department, which is conducting a comprehensive investigation.