The Yala National Park will be closed for one month from today (01st of September) onward.
Closing of the Yala National Park at the height of the drought has been the usual practice, however it was not followed during the last few years. In 2007 when the park was closed for the drought, the LTTE attacked the park and it didn’t reopen till the war was over in 2009. Since then Yala has never closed , till now.
The custom of closing Yala for the drought started at the period Yala operated as a game reserve where hunting was allowed. During the drought, animals approach the remaining water holes; so hunting was deemed as inhumane to initiate this tradition. Even finding water for popular bungalows in Yala has become difficult during the drought, so the closing tradition has continued also with the aim of providing some relief to the park’s animals.
Environmentalists have welcomed this move following claims of over visitation. Manori Gunawardena; a biologist who frequents the park calls all stakeholders to think afresh on how to tackle the issues faced by the park for the betterment not only for the animals, but also for the tourism industry.
While Yala generates the highest income for a national park with higher earnings generated by foreign tourists, over visitation and indiscipline inside the park has lead to a poorer park experience for true wildlife lovers. Manori proposes to have a habitat management plan that will specifically target dispersing the visitors rather than concentrating them in particular areas and introduce a regulated road network that divides the park into sections where only one area at a time can be visited, giving all visitors an equal opportunity of observing animals in each section.
visit https://window2nature.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/shouldnt-yala-animals-get-drought-break/ for more about Yala drought breaks..!!
Published on 01.09.2013 http://www.sundaytimes.lk/latest/37092-yala-closed-for-drought-break-from-today.html