National Geographic ranks Yala sixth in world | Daily News
100 Parks, 5000 Ideas by Joe Yogerst

National Geographic ranks Yala sixth in world

Yala National Park
Yala National Park

The Yala National Park has been ranked number six among the world’s best national parks by the acclaimed National Geographic in its recently-published book, 100 Parks, 5000 Ideas by Joe Yogerst, Wildlife Conservation Department Deputy Director (Planning and ICT) Ranjan Marasinghe said.

National Geographic’s ‘100 Parks, 5,000 Ideas’ was published in February and its author Joe Yogerst has lived and worked in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. Wrangell-St Elias National Park in Alaska, Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, Kakadu National Park in Australia and Jasper National Park in Canada are the top five national parks as ranked by Yogerst in this book.

“Yala National Park tends to really fly under the radar, but it’s one of the world’s most diverse national parks. It’s primarily known for wildlife, especially leopards and elephants. But the park also has terrific beaches, ancient rock temples that are still active places of worship, and a choice of lodges or camping for overnight stays. There aren’t many places on the planet where you can safari drive in the morning and surf in the afternoon,” Yogerst said in his book.

Marasinghe referred to Yogerst’s ranking of national parks while making the opening remarks at the ‘Wildlanka International Symposium 2019’ organised by the Wildlife Conservation Department at Waters Edge on Monday.

The two-day symposium themed ‘Innovation for Conservation’ was attended by wildlife enthusiasts, researchers and officials.

“In the local sphere, our achievements are hardly recognised, but in the international sphere we were talked about,” he said, also pointing out that all six proposals the Sri Lankan delegation presented at the recently-concluded ‘World Wildlife Conference 2019’ (CITES CoP18) in Geneva obtained positive votes.

“The contribution of the Sri Lankan delegation at the CITES, which I was proud to be a part of, was admired by many. We presented the proposed ‘eCITES’ platform about to be launched next month to facilitate the CITES information-permitting system. Even the US delegation was interested,” he said.

He said the Wildlife Department has always been keen to embrace technology in all aspects of its work, adding that it adopted geo-informatics, remote sensing and video technology for work before many other institutions did. “Now we explore new technology in the human–elephant conflict mitigation efforts too,” he added.

“Our field officers are blamed for not being present at several places at the same time and our senior officers are blamed for not allowing land for other uses and not protecting the reserves at the same time. People expect us to have the cake and eat it at the same time and we are quite used to this attitude now,” he remarked.

Tourism Development, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Amaratunga who took part in the event as the chief guest congratulated the Sri Lankan delegation to the CITES conference for their remarkable performance.

He added that a scientific approach is needed for conservation of wildlife as the successive governments depend on it to boost tourism income.

Ministry Secretary S. Hettiarachchi speaking at the Symposium said the Ministry hopes to improve the facilities in the national parks for those who are willing to undertake research. “The Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) of Parliament emphasised the importance of facilitating more research related to this field during our last session. Taking this recommendation into consideration, we plan to develop wildlife research activities. For that we will improve facilities in the national parks to undertake research, obtain practical knowledge, and collect data,” he noted.


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