Killing of the Dala Puttuwa

 Case Number

Once grandeur and a common sight in its habitat, the Galagamuwa Tusker, also known as the “Dala Puttuwa” (cross tusker) sadly became another victim of poaching which has increased rapidly in recent times in Sri Lanka. The tusker was partially blind and was last seen in Kekirawa and its surrounding areas.

On 23rd November 2017, the 1st and the 2nd suspects were arrested from the Nikawewa Nagala Rajamaha vihara premises in possession of a pair of tusks and 6 ivory gemstones  (Gajamuthu). The suspects were arrested by the Walana anti-corruption unit while they were attempting to sell the tusks for Rs.2.6 Million.

Subsequently, on the 29th of November 2017, a wild elephant’s carcass was found in a catchment of Horow Wewa tank in the Kahala Pallakele Sanctuary. The next day, four other suspects were arrested through further investigations by the police in relation to removing the tusks of the Dala Puttuwa. The 7th suspect was arrested for having ivory based items in his possession. Finally, the 8th suspect was arrested in possession of a gun which was allegedly used to kill the tusker.

On 04th December 2017, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) took over the investigations and filed a post-mortem report of the elephant carcass. According to the post-mortem report, the carcass was found 4-5 weeks after the death of the tusker where both tusks were removed without damaging the skull. Several gunshots pellets were recovered from the carcass where one had been shot over the nasal bone and three others in the abdomen area which believed to have caused the death of the tusker from heavy bleeding. Furthermore, Dr. Chandana Jayasinghe, who had treated the tusker on previous occasions, confirmed that the carcass belonged to the Galgamuwa Tusker.

On the 26th of December 2017, Environmental Foundation Limited (EFL) along with Wildlife Nature Protection Society  (WNPS) intervening in public interest, were added as aggrieved parties to this case.

Applicable Laws

Under the Offences Against Public Property Act No. 12 of 1982, the tusker and the carcass is a Government property which belongs to the public. The killing of a tusker and removing tusks is a mischief which is punishable under the said act. Moreover, Part II of the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance (FFPO) dedicated to the protection of elephants is applicable in this case.


When the case came up on the 05th of July 2023, the phone of the 3rd Defendant was released and the case got fixed for calling to obtain the instructions from Attorney-General for the 06th of December 2023.