Lanka wildlife park to restrict use of mobile phones

Press Trust of India  |  Colombo 

July 13, 2015
Sri Lanka’s busiest national park today partially banned the use of mobile phones, faced with a rising number of tourist vehicles which have run over and killed several animals.

The Department of Wildlife said today it had noted problems resulting from the misuse of phones within the Yala National Park.

Several animals have died in recent months after being run over by vehicles in the park, home to the world’s biggest concentration of leopards and large numbers of elephants, bears and deer.

“In many cases, when a leopard or other interesting sighting is made by one vehicle, the news is rapidly transmitted by means of mobile phones, attracting large numbers of vehicles to the site, causing severe congestion and spoiling the experience for everyone. In the rush to reach the site quickly, many vehicles travel at excessive speed and fail to obey road rules,” the department said.

This is a danger both to the park animals and to visitors and prevents law-abiding visitors from enjoying their visit”.

The department has asked mobile phone service providers to block the services within the park during the peak times of 6-9 am and 3-6 pm during which most sightings are made on a trial basis.

With over 100,000 visitors per year, Yala is not only Sri Lanka’s busiest national park but also a unique conservation site for leopards and other threatened flora and fauna.

Its sustainable management is therefore a matter of national importance, the department said.

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