Just think about it. If you know the size of the Ruhunu National Park that is open to visitors, and are told 900,000 visitors went around that in 2012 between 6am and 6pm, the hours the place is open to the public, you would if you were a reasonable person think it crazy.
Of course as there appears to be no one reasonable who has expressed shock horror at that statistic, I can only assume that there are NO reasonable humans left in Sri Lanka, a fault of our education system. KALPANAKARANNA.
If you were a leopard what would you say? You just hate living there. You could not stand the fumes of the gas guzzling poorly maintained jeeps. I would argue the air in Colombo is cleaner than in Yala! To put it bluntly if I were an animal I would hate these humans trundling and speeding from one sighting to another, with madly anxious jeep drivers, trying to show the visitors as many animals as possible.
How many people have gone to see a leopard sighting where within minutes of that an unimaginable number of jeeps come to disturb the peace? I remember the days where one would at most see 3 or 4 vehicles on a whole session in the Park. I have NO desire to ever go to Yala. I just cherish the memories of the many visits there in the 60’s and 70’s when I visited the place most, and stayed in the Park Bungalows long before the Ondachchi Bungalow was even built, and before some were burnt during the conflict. I am now voting with my feet.
I know locals pay an admission fee that is a fraction of that of the overseas visitors, and thereby we permit local people of average means from visiting the Parks, some in overcrowded vehicles and vans, that reduce the cost per head of a journey there.
I may sound callous, but at this level of tourists, Is anyone really enjoying the visit? Are we killing the goose that lays the golden egg? If nothing is done immediately there will hardly be a Yala for us to visit in future. I am tempted to cap the visits to no more than 500,000 per annum. No ifs and buts. If I really had my way it would be less than 250,000. As that is too harsh a drop, we can settle at the earlier figure, but we must also increase entrance fees to locals, as tourists now pay a relatively high rate when compared to the similar experience in other countries. After all the number of large animals one can see in this park, as compared with the private game parks in South Africa, there is no comparison.