Is it really good to close the Yala black leopard area? Is it bad? Many people call and ask. They also ask the media. Many people thank the wildlife for that.
My opinion is different from that. Although this is not a popular opinion, I think this is the right opinion. Therefore, it should be written. I know that there are many people who hold this opinion.
The behavior of some tourists is very bad
The area where this leopard cub was found is currently in a traffic jam. Vehicles everywhere. The behavior of some of the people in those vehicles is also extreme. They hit the vehicles so that the leopard could not go even get to the water. The “Wildlife” closed the area when it was impossible to stop them. some are said its good.
But the real story is different. I am talking about the bitter truth.
I clearly see some problems caused by this closure. The idea here is to remind and talk about them.
The first thing is that the event where the leopard is present is a playground for hunters. Generally, this writer has seen several routes where hunters come to this event. One is to go to the Yala old border road through the radha weti Aara near Magul Maha Vehera and come to Katagavala and Jamburagala along that route. is to enter the forest near the Lunuvaraniya pond. People who enter the forest in this connection travel all the way to Vilapalawa. Jamburagala is their stopping point. It is a well-known secret that these hunters come even to the Jamburagala well. And some people go to Velmal Kem. Akasha Chaitya Road and Premdas Road are unfamiliar places to them. not Especially the hunters in Tambarawa and Ranminithanna areas go on these roads even with their eyes closed. This is something we all know.
As a matter of fact, the event where this black leopard cub is a hideout for poachers. Freeing such an event from tourists means further turning it into a poacher’s paradise. Therefore, it is a serious mistake.
How does that happen? Anyone can think so. This is for their knowledge. Generally, hunting is happening even in a park. It will be stopped only if the wildlife implements a scientific anti-poaching program.
Then someone can think what is the relationship between tourists and hunting. It happens like this. In general, hunters reduce the number of hunters in areas frequented by tourists. This is because these two groups can meet together. Also, even though hunters operate at night, they go to that area in the morning. Tourists find the footprints of hunters. Tourists see the least amount of powder in things like cigarettes and fireworks that they used. Also, they do not see “deer” in the fields where hunters often hang out. Also, poacher’s climb trees very rarely. In addition, the migration of animals is reduced. .(There are separate reasons for all these things) Tourists like us remind the wildlife administration to pay attention to wildlife in those areas if these features are seen frequently. As I am writing this and as you are reading this, lobster fishing industry is going on in Yala Zone No. 2.
Let me tell you one more example. About two decades ago, a group of me and myself went to visit Mniyagal mountain with a special permission from the wildlife department. No one has been on that road for a while. Even though there are no tourists, there were typical behavior of hunters in that area. In fact, they killed 18 wild cows for meat. It was done. In short, it was a meat shed. It was maintained inside a park. I have seen such incidents in several parks like Yala, Wasgamuwa, Wilpattu, Kumana. I have reported all of them. This is a phenomenon seen by everyone who knows about the parks and has visited them intelligently. To isolate the event of the black leopard on this reality is like a terrible crime.
Let me tell you another story. This is an incident that happened about two decades ago in Yala National Park. At that time Jayarathne Ralahami was the caretaker of the park. In those days there were three leopard cubs on Hinwewa Road. At that time the park was closed during the dry season. It was also closed this year. When the camp reopened, the three leopard cubs had disappeared. As soon as the tourists were gone, the hunters had done their duty exactly.
Also, when Mr. Kumarasinghe was in charge of the Yala raids, he caught two leopard cub skins from a house in Tambarawa. The then site guard Siyasinghe, the then site assistant Ranjith, the then warden Vijitha and others joined the raid. Prerusingha was the driver. His leg was also injured. I was also there, Yala. They were two leopard cubs who were on Ondachi’s side.
Also, because of these hunts, a wildlife bettu office was set up in the past during the dry season near Bandu Lake. There is no one now. Similarly, the nearby Panagammana bettu was looted by the hunters themselves. About two weeks ago, wildlife behaving like this in an event where the wildlife bettu was also robbed. It is disgusting in such a place. This animal has been left alone.
The number of Yala wildlife staff and their physical resources are decreasing. Some time ago, there were 13 rangers in Palatupana. Now there are only 8. Two out of the eight have to go on duty at the gate. Another one is on Patanangala duty. Two or three are always on leave. Then the remaining three or two. The officers are not enough. There are almost no officers in the wildlife division offices.
Also, some people join trade unions or political branches or set themselves up as a wildlife first chair and make a shift near their houses. Then they go home at night and sleep. The hunters enter the park without fear before the wildlife officers go home. This should change immediately. .
Now I will come back to tell about black leopard.
I have checked the deaths of three black tigers before. Two of them were definitely targeted at the black tiger. After killing one of the tigers, some body parts were even taken away. Therefore, there is a clear danger that these animals were targeted. Undoubtedly implied. In such an environment, publicizing the location of the animal and doing such a thing is like putting a noose on the animal’s neck.
What should be done in such a place. There is no problem if there is a correct scientific and efficient method to combat poaching. That means day and night wildlife patrols, immediate establishment of strategists in the villages where poachers come and getting information through them, targeting the places where poachers come. Establishing wildlife checkpoints (if necessary, there is also the possibility of allocating the ground of the Jamburagala camp to a wildlife team. This opens up space for them to conduct patrols from the same place) and by going to a scientific approach such as getting the support of drone cameras and trap camera systems to a certain degree of achievement. It is possible to go. But none of this is done properly by the wildlife, so trusting it is a problem.
What happens when tourists go? Anyone can think about it. It is a problem when tourists go in an unbearable manner. To control this situation, the daily carrying capacity of gardens around the world has been calculated. But that is not the case in Sri Lanka. That’s right.
leopard are most afraid when people are walking. When people are driving a vehicle, they look at the same system. There have been cases where leopard have died without driving properly. If the animal is scared unnecessarily, the mother will take it to an event where people will not see it. Sometimes it will never be possible to see the animal again. Such incidents have been reported above. Also, if this animal goes to the nearby Situlpavwa Road, the danger to the animal will increase.
Can these tourists be controlled now? Someone may think so. Before that, I have another story to tell. There is a leopard like this living in Kabani Park in India. I consciously went to see him with more than one hundred eco-tourists from Sri Lanka. But no one could not see the animal. Some I went twice or three times. they have limit the vehecle. About 35 vehicles enter the park a day. Also, it is mandatory for the resident tourists to go there in jeeps as well as buses and boats. I need to write their story separately. I wanted to tell through this that this animal is a dollar-making machine. Let’s say one thing. Therefore, we should not hide him. We need to open him to the tourists in a proper way. By closing this area, the animal may become so poor that it will never be seen by the vehicles again.
Tourists should be controlled for that. The process should be honestly and scientifically changed from booking bungalows and campsites. Matters like subjecting to prior awareness are important here. Strict enforcement of the law in relation to speed limit monitoring, riotous behavior and misbehavior control on the road must be done here. Those who violate them should be banned from the park for at least six months immediately. It should be implemented. It is equally important to educate the jeep drivers about the importance of managing this animal properly in the vehicles and the importance of protecting that animal. But the most practical thing is to implement the law very strictly.
There is a danger to this animal from our tourists and hunters as well as from this animal’s own people.
If everyone works honestly, scientifically and intelligently to manage and protect this animal, it is certain that in the next 10 to 12 years, this animal will bring hundreds of millions of dollars to the country. ( Photographs are copyrighted to the original authors )