BAM Safari

Yala National Park


With the end to the mindless violence perpetrated by the LTTE after the outfit was militarily defeated and the leadership exterminated in May 2009, the visitors to YNP in particular have increased exponentially. With no limits enforced on the number of visitors to the park, the numbers have reached absurd proportions, to the point of threatening the fauna and flora which reside there. The Wild Life Department should study the methods utilized by National Parks in other parts of the world to control the number of visitors and adopt similar practices here in order to preserve the park for future generations.

All the visitors to YNP are now confined to Block 1, which is only 142 square km. One solution to the problem of overcrowding is to build a bridge over the Menik Ganga, the river which separates Block 1 from Block 2, and divert some visitors to Block 2. The park also consists of another two large areas, Block 3 and Block 4, which are inaccessible for visitors as there is no road network within those parts. Cutting roads within those blocks and spreading visitors in to those areas will further ease the traffic congestion in Block 1.
Yala is known to have the highest concentration of leopards in the world. Being the apex predator in Sri Lanka, they have uncontested access to prey. The survival rate of leopard cubs is also high unlike in other parts of the world where they are at risk from other competing predators. During the past three decades the leopard population at YNP has increased and one of contributing factors has been the reduction of poaching of leopards for their skin. The leopard is a very shy and solitary animal. In recent times, with the increase in human traffic to the park, the leopards at Yala have got used to vehicles, which is another reason for good leopard sightings at Yala. An average male leopard weighs from 40 to 90 kg, and a female from 30 to 60 kg.

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