An enormous part of the Sri Lankan southeast corner is Yala National Park and this park that stretches from the jungles inland to the beaches on the Indian Ocean was closed for all visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the park is now open to only foreign tourists subject to health recommendations.
Manoj Vidyaratne, the caretaker of the Yala National Park speaking to News 1st said the authorities hope to open the Yala National Park to local tourists as soon as possible.
“I hope that the Yala National Park will become a very good tourist destination in the future after it is opened to local tourists as well,” he said.
The Yala National Park was opened amid allegations by the opposition led by Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa who claimed that the government is planning to take away 12,000 acres From the Yala National Park, Block 1 for unknown purposes.
“Reliable sources have also confirmed that illegal roadways are to be constructed through the National Park up to Akasa Chaitya,” he tweeted.
Tthe Wildlife and Nature Protection Society stated that they have learned that permission has been granted to conduct a survey at the historic Akasa Chaithya site in the Yala National park.
The Wildlife and Nature Protection Society also stated that they are aware of the ambitions of several external factions to restore the ancient Akasa Chaitya site and on the plans to build a road to the Akasa Chaitya site from Situlpahuwa through the Yala National Park.
Sampath Galappaththi, the Secretary of the Yala Jeep Drivers Association confirmed that there are attempts to hand over the renovation project of the Akasa Chaitya to an enterprise that is non-governmental.
“We have a suspicion that some people are trying to harm the wildlife sanctuary by constructing something inside the Yala National Park which is to be declared a World Heritage Site,” he said.
Local youth activists have warned authorities not to make any attempt to destroy the Yala National Park.
(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by newsfirst.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)