First open air zoo unveiled

Sri Lanka’s first open air and second National Zoological Garden was ceremoniously opened yesterday adjacent to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage by Tourism and Sports Minister Navin Dissanayake and Investment Promotion, Highways and Higher Education Minister Kabir Hashim.
In line with modern zoo concepts, the Pinnawala Open Air Zoo has been designed and established on 44 acres to provide an open range zoo experience – with free living space for animals – for visitors, while promoting the tourism industry. A noteworthy fact is the allocation of the zoo for animals endemic to the country.
Animals such as leopards, bears, deer and crocodiles will be conserved and an opportunity will be afforded to visitors to observe their movements.
The cost of the Pinnawala Open Air Zoo is Rs. 862 million (Rs. 488 million from the Treasury and the rest from the Zoological Development Fund).
Construction of the open-air zoo commenced in 1998. It consists of two zones, the Sri Lankan Zone and World Zone. The Sri Lankan Zone is allocated for local animals and is home to a rich variety of wildlife species, including leopards and different species of native animals and birds.
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports says the public will be able to view the first phase of the Open Air Zoo free of charge.

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