Minister of Agriculture, Wildlife and Forest Conservation Mahinda Amaraweera says wild animals must be protected like children and this responsibility lies with the government and the public.
The Minister expressed his views during the opening of another section of the Ridiyagama Safari Park in Hambantota today (4) that coincided with World Animal Day.
Minister Amaraweera said future generations will be able to witness certain wild animals at zoos and forest conservation only, due to the rate of animal extinction.
He said the purpose of national parks is the protection and conservation of wild animals while it also creates a means to generate a foreign income.
The Minister noted that Sri Lanka can generate foreign exchange through the tourism industry, adding that the industry has been repeatedly affected by the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks and the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Minister Amaraweera stated that despite the easing of the coronavirus, the tourism industry while showing signs of improvement, was also affected by recent protests in the country.
He added that while the tourism industry is being boosted once again, an uprising or continued protests could hinder its progress once again.
Minister Mahinda Amaraweera instructed the 34-acre section of the park to be declared open next month.
The 500-acre Ridiyagama Safari Park is divided into 13 zones.
The Ministry said around 200 acres have been developed at present, with administrative buildings, animal care clinic, families for visitors, shops and vehicles parks along with zones for animals.
Under the first phase, a 35-acre zone has been allocated for African Lions, 54 acres for Asian Elephants and 80 acres as the World Zone. Under the second phase, several other zones will be opened including areas with a section for deers.
The Department of National Zoological Gardens said in addition to enhanced facilities for animals, the public will also be able to have a better experience with the opening of a zone for children and an area to take photographs for the public.