More than 100 villagers with the backing of local politicians yesterday started clearing forests at the Dahayiyagala sanctuary despite objections from some 50 Wildlife department officers.
A Wildlife Officer told The Island these lands come under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance and any human activity there was illegal.
The Rally for Animal Rights and Environment (RARE) said that a campaign to clear 300 acres of forest had been launched. “
An environmental Scientist warned the forest clearance would aggravate the human-elephant conflict.