DWC seeks to recruit 3,000 range officers | Sunday Observer

DWC seeks to recruit 3,000 range officers

The understaffed Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) has put forward a proposal to recruit 3,000 range officers.

According to DWC Director General Chandana Sooriyabandara, the proposal has been forwarded to the National Pay Commission.

“They have asked us for a clarification on our requirement,” he said, adding that the DWC will make a further presentation to the Commission on the matter.

The Department has only 1,000 range officers to protect the land mass and wildlife that come under the purview of the DWC in accordance with the Fauna and Flora Ordinance. The need for more range officers arose when part of the Anawilundawa wetland sanctuary was illegally cleared by several persons on June 25.

According to Sooriyabandara, the Department has only two wildlife range officers to man over 1,000 hectares of the wetland park.

“We have a few civil security defence officers helping us,” he said. “This is the situation in all parks and sanctuaries under the DWC,” Sooriyabandara added. Attorney-at Law and environmentalist Jagath Gunawardana said the DWC cannot be blamed for what happened at the Anawilundawa wetland sanctuary as the Department is understaffed.

“The two range officers cannot cover the area even if they travel within the park all day,” he said. A businessman at Udappuwa was arrested by the Police yesterday for illegal clearing of the Anawilundawa wetland sanctuary. On Friday, the Police also arrested the operator of the bulldozer used for the clearing. Nearly a hectare had been cleared by the suspects on June 25.

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