Sri Lanka’s first Safari Park at Ridiyagama in Hambantota in the Southern Province opened Monday (28 March) for the local as well as foreign tourists. The 500-acre park provides an environment for the animals to roam freely within the park.
Minister of Sustainable Development and Wildlife Gamini Jayawickrema Perera accompanied by Housing and Construction Sajith Premadasa, Deputy Minister Sumedha Jayasena and Hambantota district parliamentarian Chamal Rajapaksa declared open the park for the public.
The construction work at the first Safari Park in the island started in 2008 under the direction of The National Zoological Department. The park, being built under two phases, covers an expanse of about 500 acres. It also contains a public entertainment zone extending to about 69 acres. Four of the park’s six zones will be reserved for carnivorous animals while the remaining two zones will be set apart for the herbivores. Two zones of the carnivore section will be exclusively reserved for the dangerous animals such as lions, tigers, and leopards. The first phase with the African Lion Zone, Sri Lanka Elephant Zone and World Zone was opened today. The Lions were released to the African Zone Saturday. The animals can move freely in the park.
African, Asian, Australian Zones and a small animal kingdom will be built under the second phase.
A special bus service will be available for the tourists to move around the park. The park consists of all facilities such as animal hospitals, internal road network and vehicle parks. Waste disposal methodologies have been introduced to protect the environment.
The Safari Park constructed at a cost of Rs. 1.6 billion is seen as an avenue to attract more tourists to the island and a boom to the tourism industry.