Sri Lanka may restrict visitors to its national parks

Ranil Wickremasinghe

Sri Lanka may restrict visitors to each of its national parks after a recent spate of vehicular accidents injured and killed wild animals, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said here on Wednesday.

In a statement released on his official Facebook page, Wickremesinghe said that the new government was also looking at methods of implementing strict speed limits in order to create an environment that is safe and secure for the wildlife, Xinhuia reported.

The carcass of a young female leopard was found last week inside the Yala National Park, one of Sri Lanka’s oldest and most popular national parks, in what authorities believe was a hit and run case.

In recent months, authorities have received reports of several animals being killed by careless drivers transporting visitors on safari.

“It has recently been brought to light that there has been a spate of vehicular accidents causing disruption and injury to the wildlife at Yala National Park. As an animal lover myself, this matter is very close to my heart,” Wickremesinghe said.

“We are currently looking into how we can implement meaningful measures such as the strict enforcement of speed limits and further restrictions on the rate of visitors to each of our national parks and reserves, in order to create an environment that is safe and secure for all its inhabitants,” he added.

The park attracts more than 100,000 foreign tourists each year and is a key source of revenue to the government.