Maintain Sri Lanka’s wildlife tourism, starting January 1, 2024, only trained and certified safari jeep drivers would be permitted to enter the Yala Block, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority said. 

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Dr. Sumith Pilapitiya, Chairman of the committee appointed to improve the quality of wildlife tourism in the Yala National Park, confirmed that park authorities have been instructed to check the ID issued by the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) of all drivers and those without the necessary documents would not be permitted to enter. He assured that all IDs would be issued by December 30, to ensure the protocols are followed. 

Further, Dr. Pilapitiya urged the hotels to ensure the safari drivers have the ID before they depart the property, so that the tourists are not inconvenienced. 

Wildlife activists have repeatedly raised concerns regarding the poor behaviour of the visitors of the Yala National Park. 

Dr. Pilapitiya, former Director General of the DWC and elephant researcher, previously stressed that discipline and misbehaviour of safari jeeps carrying visitors to Yala are a major issue that needs to be addressed.

-daily mirror