Colombo, July 26 (newsin.asia) – Sri Lanka’s Tourism Ministry, on Wednesday, said the prevailing drought in the northern and central region of the island country had affected wildlife at the Wilpattu National Park which attracts hundreds of tourists annually.
The Ministry, in a statement said that as a result of the drought almost all of the waterholes in the park had gone dry causing great suffering to the animals inhabiting the park area.
As a result, the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO), has volunteered to fill up the dried waterholes by transporting water in large bowsers in order to provide relief to the animals.
“It was revealed that 30 water bowsers could fill up the 8 water holes for a week. SLAITO agreed to facilitate the transportation of water by bowsers to these waterholes on an urgent basis,” the Tourism Ministry said.
Tourism Minister, John Amaratunga called for a continuing dialogue among the parties so as to ensure proper coordination of the relief efforts.
Further, the Ministry said a decision has also been taken to close the Wilpattu National Park for visitors during the low season months of May and June in order to carry out maintenance work.
Based on a proposal by Wildlife Minister Jayawickrema Perera it was also decided to strictly enforce zoning restrictions whereby tourists and other visitors will be allowed to only visit designated zones in the park.
The Wilpattu National Park is the largest and one of the oldest national parks in Sri Lanka. Thousands of locals and tourists visit the Park each year to spot rare animals and birds.
Wilpattu is among the top national parks world renowned for its Leopard population.