One of Sri Lanka’s most sought after tourism attraction, the elephant “gathering” in the Minneriya national park is disturbed by “Safari operators” who break ground rules, says Officials.
H.D. Rathnayake, the Director General of the Department of Wildlife Conservation in the country says some safari operators conduct tours in a way which disturbs the elephants.
He said, they also drive through roads which are not specified to travel inside the park.
The Official said actions are underway to rectify the problem.
“If they don’t adhere to the regulations, we will restrict or suspend the park entrants to those Safari operators”, added Rathnayake.
Chairman of the Hotel Sigiriya PLC, A. N. Esufally commenting on the firm’s 2011/2012 annual report, too highlighted the problem.
He said, “There are also pressures, due to over-visitation and non-compliance of park regulations by Safari operators relating to the “Gathering” of elephants in the Minneriya National Park”.
“This herd of almost 200 wild elephants is a world class spectacle. It has today become one of the unique selling propositions in the area”, added Esufally,.
According to the Director General of the Wildlife Department, the peak of the ‘gathering’ takes place during the month of August.
“Minneriya is a transit point for elephants who migrate in search of food and water”, added Rathnayake.
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