Wilpattu Park, a big draw
The number of local and foreign tourists visiting the Wilpattu
National Park has been on the rise since its reopening on February 27.
A tour group ready to proceed
Weerasinghe Dissanayake is the Manager of the Wilpattu National Park.
According to K.B. Dasanayake a wildlife conservation officer since
February, 2,500 tourists have arrived at Wilpattu and the income during
the short period exceeds Rs. 750,000. He said that the staff consisted
of 20 including 10 wildlife guides.
The visitors at Wilpattu told the Sunday Observer that the promotion
on visitors spending the nightout in the park should be removed and the
departmental circuit bungalows which were in a dilapidated condition be
renovated to accommodate the tourists.
The park is open from 6.00 a.m. to 6.30 p.m.
Some of the tourists emphasised that the sites of highly significant
historic and archaeological value such as “Kuweni’s Palace at Kalivillu
and the place where Prince Wijaya came ashore located in Kudhiramale
area which are at a distance of 40 and 53 kilometres from Wilpattu
entrance, along with numerous other ancient ruins hidden in the jungle
are quite unprotected.
Conservator Dissanayake said that the Wilpattu National Park area was
declared on February 25, 1938. The National Park consists of 1,40,000
hectares with about 42 shallow lakes (willus in it.)
Chaminda Kumara Dissanayake (35) from Nochchiyagama who owns a number
of safari vehicles for visitors to go round the national park said 35 of
them have formed a tourist guider society and registered with the
“For a complete site seeing of Wilpattu it takes at least three days.
We undertake a days trip which enable us to cover 70% of the natural
surroundings of the park. Tourists like to stay the night which is not
allowed. The banks of ‘Malwathuoya’ and Kalaoya two rivers flowing via
the park could be fine tourist attractions. I am aware of a large number
of historic sites with ruined shrine rooms in Wilpattu. But we are
unable to take visitors there due to the lack of approach roads.
The proposed tourist industry zone along the Wilpattu coastal area
and the road starting from Eluwankulam in Puttlam to Mannar via Wilpattu
seems to be viable, commercially successfull and a tourism industry
promoting enterprise. But there should be a guarantee for the protection
and safety of the wildlife, the forest resources, the biological
diversity in the national park and the security, Chaminda Kumara