19 April 2012
Students of the Environmental Society of Rathambalagama School had a debate organised by Born Free as the main activity of their monthly awareness programme for March 2012. The topic was Conserving elephants is / is not considered in the Sri Lankan society.
The proponents were the 10th Graders. They referred to newspaper articles and praised the projects conducted by the government and non-government institutes with considerable efforts in conservation of wild elephants. Being familiar with the nearby Elephant Transit Home, they argued that Sri Lankans care for the endangered species and that’s why they rehabilitate orphan juvenile elephants and release them back to the wild. The proponents didn’t forget to mention about Born Free Rathambalagama Project – they thought elephant-resistant crop farming is a good solution not to invite wild elephants to their village.
Grade 11 argued against them, referring frequently to daily newspapers. Elephant deaths due to human-elephant conflict featured in every single newspaper they showed, sometimes more than one article. ‘If the Sri Lankans care for the wild elephants, this many deaths can’t be possible!’, they debated. They explained a great deal about abuse of captive elephants in Sri Lanka too.
Each team had five members. Grade 11 won the debate for their strong arguments and all the students who participated in the debate were awarded school supplies by Born Free. There were about seventy students and staff members at the event which the staff felt was very successful in raising the level of student awareness on the issue. The headmaster thanked Born Free for their conservation education efforts at Rathambalagama School.