A provincial journalist who visited the village of Pasiyawewa in Minneriya to cover the arrival of an elephant reported to invade the village, was attacked and killed by the wild elephant in question yesterday morning.
The dead provincial journalist is Priyantha Ratnayake,46 year old father of three. As he was on a mission to reveal the entrance of the elephant, he had been attacked by the pachyderm unexpectedly. He was severely injured in the head and died shortly after being admitted to the the Hingurakgoda hospital.
It had been with great effort that the other local correspondent from Hiru, Rasanga Niroshana who went with him, had saved himself.
We made an inquiry of Gamini Vaidyathilake, the park trustee of the Minneriya Wildlife Office, about the allegation that the Minneriya Wildlife Office did not take immediate action when they were informed of the incident, yet he rejected the allegations.
Specialist on Asian wild elephants, Managing Director of the Bio-diversity and Elephant Conservation Foundation Jayantha Jayawardena, explaining the method which must be followed by a journalist or any other person when videoing a wild elephant, said that one must launch on a mission of this kind only with the help of a well-experienced person.
Meanwhile another person had died due to an elephant attack in Monaragala-Buttala-Pelwatta-Minindoru Kolaniya. The incident had taken place at about 5.30 in the morning and the victim is a worker at the sugar factory in Pelwatta. Our Hiru correspondent reports that he is a 48 year old father of two.