Wildlife picks up with end of war
Sri Lanka which is trying to rise from the debris of a decade long
war, is seeking to flaunt her world famous natural beauty adorned with
flora and fauna. In the aftermath of the successful battle against
terrorism, the Government has focused its attention to promote the
beaches and wildlife parks among local and foreign tourists. With
improved facilities, the 20 wildlife parks under the Department of
Wildlife Conservation (DWLC) have how opened the gates to attract more
local and foreign tourists.
The revenue earned by these wildlife parks during the last six
months, according to DWLC officials is Rs. 83.67 million. The Department
has expedited its activities of habitat management, water hole
development, destroying invasive plants, developing road net work and
improving facilities for visitors. The security in these parks including
Yala, Wilpattu, Gal-Oya, Kumana, Uda Walawe, Lahugala, Wasgamuwa,
Lunugamvehera and Minneriya National Parks have been strengthened.
The Yala National Park, which earns a monthly income of nearly Rs. 3
million has now become a popular destination among the day visitors. The
water scarcity due to drought has been solved by constructing new water
holes and pumping water from the adjoining Menik River to Yala Weva.
With 1,259 sqkm, Yala is the country's second largest National Park with
its Eastern part of the park a popular destination for watching water
birds.The Yala Park in the dry zone is having the world's highest
concentration of leopards and a one of the best places in the country to
observe large number of mammals. There are 32 species of mammals living
in the park and over 230 species of resident, migrant and endemic
species of birds.
According to DWLC sources, the income earned by the Yala Park has
increased during the last six months compared with the total amount of
revenue earned in the same period in 2008. The total earnings from Yala
in June 2008 which was Rs. 872,741 has increased to Rs. 1.3 million by
June this year.
Wasgamuwa National Park is another popular wildlife destination lying
in between the Polonnaruwa and Matale Districts where the elephants,
wild buffaloes, spotted deer, leopards, sloth bears, water monitors and
crocodiles are the major wildlife attractions in the park.
If someone wants to spot wild elephants and to experience a close
encounter with a wild jumbo, the Uda Walawe National Park is the ideal
hub where a large population of elephants is roaming. It lies within the
Ratnapura and Moneragala districts and shelters spotted deer, sambhur,
water buffaloes, mongoose, bandicoots, foxes, water monitor lizards,
crocodiles, wild boars, toque monkeys, grey langur, leopards and various
varieties of snakes.
Another wildlife park maintained by the DWLC is the Horton Plains
National Park in the hills of Nuwara Eliya District. The 'World's End',
is famously 700 meter steep and its unique diversity of wildlife has
attracted many a local and foreign tourists to the park.
The Bundala National Park, the internationally acclaimed park for the
migratory water birds in Sri Lanka, is the fourth biosphere reserve
designated by UNESCO. It is a habitat for over 197 species of birds and
a major haunt for the migratory Greater Flamingos.
According to officials the total revenue of the Yala National Park
during the last six months was Rs. 26.7 million, Horton Plains Rs. 20.1
m Udawalawe Rs. 18.2 m, Minneriya Rs. 10.7 m and Kaudulla Rs. 2.6 m.
The Wilpattu National Park, which was shut down to visitors during
the past due to LTTE threats, will be opened before the end of this
year, and the new road network constructions and bungalows are going
ahead. The existing bungalows in all the national parks will also be
renovated while the two fully furnished bungalows at Lunugamwehera is