Govt. to allow 500 safari jeeps to enter Yala per day

9 November 2017 10:50 am - 19     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Amidst the opposition by environmentalists, the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Wildlife yesterday had decided to increase the number of safari jeeps entering the Yala National Wildlife Park to 500 a day, a senior official of the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) said.

The decision was taken at a meeting held with the participation of Sustainable Development and Wildlife Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera, Director General of the DWC M.G.C. Sooriyabandara, Director Planning of the DWC Ranjan Marasinghe, Housing and Construction Minister Sajith Premadasa and four jeep drivers' associations whose members are permitted to conduct tours of the Yala National Park.

In a bid to solve the issue of over-crowding within the Yala National Park, the ministry last month restricted the number of safari jeeps entering the park to 200 a day-100 during the morning session and 100 more in the afternoon.

However, safari jeep drivers' associations overwhelmingly opposed the new regulation and demanded unhindered access to the park.

According to statistics maintained by the DWC, the highest number of vehicles that had entered the park on a single day during past three years was only 425 with the exception of December. As per the new regulation upto 500 jeeps would be permitted to enter the park on a single day.

President of the Independent Safari Jeep Drivers' Association P.D.Keerthi, speaking to the Daily Mirror said that they were satisfied with the decision and extended their gratitude to Minister Sajith Premadasa in this regard. According to Keerthi, it was Minister Premadasa, hailing from Hambantota district, who had fixed the meeting with Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera for them to be able to put forward their demands.

During the meeting, Minister Jayawickrama Perera had also decided to extend the time during which ticket counters are open for visitors. Accordingly, counters will be open from 6 to 11 am and 1 to 2 pm. The minister had earlier curtailed the ticket issuing time period in the morning to 8 am in order to address the over-visitation issue.

Former DWC Director General Sumith Pilapitya criticized the new decision and said the wildlife within the park would suffer the repercussions of it.

The DWC said that although it was earlier planning to introduce an online ticket booking method for visitors who wish to tour the Yala National Park, opposition from jeep drivers' associations, who feared that their income would be affected by this, had caused a re-think of its feasibility. Minister Perera had then advised the DWC to withdraw the issuing of tickets online. (Piyumi Fonseka)

 

Read the full feature article on the over-crowding issue in Yala: http://www.dailymirror.lk/expose/article/Mounting-jeep-safaris-make-Yala-animals-snarl-140087.html

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  Comments - 19

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  • Jaliya Thursday, 09 November 2017 11:51 AM

    According to statistics maintained by the DWC, the highest number of vehicles that had entered the park on a single day during past three years was only 425 with the exception of December. As per the new regulation up to 500 jeeps would be permitted to enter the park on a single day.Again it has shown undoubtedly none of these individuals "Independent Safari Jeep Drivers' Association nor the elected officials" has any respect towards nature or well being of animals. Next we know..... for the correct bribe we can even get them to allow three-wheelers in to the park for an up close look.

    Yala no more Thursday, 09 November 2017 12:05 PM

    This is crazy. Two ministers only interested in the vote their to get are making foolish short sighted decisions at the expense of the park. It will not be sustainable in the long run, thanks to the minister of sustainable development.

    Kingsley Wijesinhe Thursday, 09 November 2017 01:02 PM

    What happened to Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera's tough talk a few days ago, that his decision would not be changed?Is the park there for the benefit of Sri Lanka's wildlife and future generations of Sri Lankans or the benefit of the jeep drivers?

    Nostradamus Thursday, 09 November 2017 01:23 PM

    Sajith Premadasa QUO VADIS via DM Android App

    Brainmaster Thursday, 09 November 2017 01:25 PM

    These safari jeep drivers organizations are a real criminal mafia. via DM Android App

    Alex Thursday, 09 November 2017 01:41 PM

    Govt. listens to jeep drivers and change decisions because animals are unable to protest. Govt rules always subjected to withdrawal the next hour as usually done in many cases-for eg.no issuances of petrol to cans in the morning and do issue to cans in the evening). Govt. has become a big Joke.

    Nature lover Thursday, 09 November 2017 02:01 PM

    This is a stupid decision. They only think about jeep drivers not nature and wildlife not even nature lovers.Because of high number of jeeps entering to the park No one will be able to see animals.

    nick Thursday, 09 November 2017 02:23 PM

    why only 500 this shows the relevant guys only paid commission for only 500 jeeps soon it will be increase once the commission increases via DM Android App

    Tax Payer Thursday, 09 November 2017 02:30 PM

    Why not increase the number of jeeps to 1000 and then there would be so much of overcrowding that nobody will see anything and no one will visit?

    sanka Thursday, 09 November 2017 02:37 PM

    Pathetic...this is how the politics involved for this kind of sensitive issues and take decision without considering the environment and wild life.Are we developing or going back ward?

    Concern citizen Thursday, 09 November 2017 03:00 PM

    මෙහෙම ගියොත් ඉදිරි පරපුරට යාල ඉතුරු වෙන්නේ නැහැ බලන්න,සත්තු වෙනුවට ජිප් ටික නරබලා එන්න පුලුවනි

    Lord Wolfstein Thursday, 09 November 2017 03:17 PM

    An absolutely wrong decision. Only the fast money counts. Hundreds of ancient, polluting and not roadworthy jeeps will flood the park. Experts like Sumith Pilapitya are muzzled. Nature will be destroyed. The next generation must suffer from the ignorance of corrupt politicians. Tourists will avoid the Yala Circus in the future.

    Sanath Thursday, 09 November 2017 04:07 PM

    Again the so called authorities have displayed that they hv no back bone, by back tracking their decisions. What a pathetic situation?

    Kadiya Thursday, 09 November 2017 06:05 PM

    500 jeeps per day at Yala? No wonder the animals are hiding from us!!!!

    Anna L Thursday, 09 November 2017 06:06 PM

    Shocking! How can you have so many vehicles driving through Yala every day? This is not good for the animals and the nature. Think long term instead of getting some short term money.....I won't be visiting Yala due to the exploitation........makes me sad.......

    N,RAVEEINDREN Thursday, 09 November 2017 09:03 PM

    please save wild life and nature not exceeding 150 per day,if these are to preserved for our country.

    Brainmaster Thursday, 09 November 2017 09:10 PM

    Just look at that picture with all these jeeps. What a horror via DM Android App

    Yala Wont Last Friday, 10 November 2017 11:20 AM

    Everyone Read thishttp://www.dailymirror.lk/expose/article/Mounting-jeep-safaris-make-Yala-animals-snarl-140087.htmlFabulous story on Yala mayhem. Found on today`s dailymirror

    Kanil Friday, 10 November 2017 11:22 AM

    Sajith is behind all illegal things happening in Yala. We should refrain from visiting Yala for some time. That is only how we can give the politicians a good lesson. Am I right people??


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