The decision to increase the number of jeeps entering the Yala National sanctuary has been changed, Wildlife Minister Gamini Jayawickrema Perera says.
Accordingly the maximum number of safari jeeps entering the Yala Zone 1 daily should be 300, Minister Perera told BBC Sinhala service.
“We took the initial decision to allow 300, then came the pressure, the demands to increase the number, although it was increased to 400, the decision has remained to keep the number at 300,” he said.
Media reports said the Wildlife Minister has increased the number to 500 in response to the demand from the safari jeep owners and a request from the MP representing the district Sajith Premadasa.
However, according to media reports, the environmentalists and veterinarians vehemently opposed the decision of the Minister and the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also criticized the Minister for the decision.
“If we need to protect the Yala Zone 1 for long term the number of jeeps should be limited to 300 a day, since the animals, trees and the environment are being destroyed,” he said.