Government agrees to increase the number of Yala safari jeeps to 600 per day

On a request made by the Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Mahinda Amaraweera, the government has agreed to increase the number of Safari jeeps entering the Yala National Park to 600 per day.

During the holidays a large number of visitors, both local and foreign have visited the wildlife sanctuary in Southern Sri Lanka, but some have been turned away since the number of safari jeeps are restricted to 500 a day, 250 in the morning and 250 in the afternoon.

Some of the tourists who had come from far away had to return and therefore, Minister Amaraweera had requested the President and the Prime Minister as well as the Minister of Wildlife Gamini Jayawickrema Perera to take an appropriate measure.

Accordingly, President Maithripala Sirisena has called a meeting with the relevant officials and discussed the issue. Prime Minister Rani Wickremesinghe has also taken part in the discussion.

As a result, the government has agreed to increase the number of safari jeeps that can enter the park to 600 per day.

Minister Amaraweera says the measure will give local and foreign tourists more opportunities to view the wildlife sanctuary without hindrance and also the Safari jeep drivers will be able to earn more income.

The entry of vehicles to the Yala National park has been curtailed to minimize the impacts of tourists on the environment.

Wildlife Minister Gamini Jayawickrema Perera has earlier suggested limiting the number of jeeps to 300 a day in order to protect the animals and the environment for long term.

The environmentalists and veterinarians vehemently oppose the decision to increase the number of vehicles entering the sanctuary.

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