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Old 01-08-10, 11:02 PM
sriyanjay sriyanjay is offline
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Default Dear all nature lovers

Dear all nature lovers,
Please sign this petition and forward as many as you know


This may be last chance for save the wilpattu; Largest National Park in Sri Lanka

Green Movement of Sri Lanka.

In harmony with the earth, It's plants, It's animal and its people.

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Old 02-08-10, 05:23 PM
sriyanjay sriyanjay is offline
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Default Walking through the destruction of Wilpattu

Walking through the destruction of Wilpattu

By Kumudini Hettiarachchi

It was a walkabout – but not to view the uniqueness of this beauty-spot but to record in detail the ground reality. The reality is shocking, giving a close-up view of the devastation and destruction of the oldest and largest National Park in Sri Lanka – Wilpattu.

And the devastation, tragically and unfortunately, has not been wrought by nature but by humans themselves, with callous disregard for the immense repercussions. The walkabout was carried out by the Programme Manager of the Sri Lanka Nature Forum, Sajeewa Chamikara on June 11, 12 and 13.

“The issues are crucial,” stressed Sajeewa explaining to the Sunday Times that if the destruction that is taking place due to the construction of two new roads is not stopped, the harm already created will be compounded.

One road in question, the Sunday Times understands, is the Eluvankulam-Mannar Road starting at Kala Oya at the southern boundary of the Wilpattu National Park and going up to Moderagam Aru in the north.

Stressing that the Puttalam-Eluvankulam Road, outside the National Park, comes along the western boundary of the proposed Weerakkulicholai-Eluvankulam reserve and ends at the Kala Oya, the controversial new Eluvankulam-Mannar Road begins close to the Kala Oya, it is learnt.
Giving a foot-by-foot description, Sajeewa says that to get the soil to construct this new road through the National Park, huge craters have been dug by backhoes to the left of the Kala Oya.

From Kala Oya to Karuwalakuda, this 15-metre road goes through dry mixed evergreen forest and scrub jungle, all within the National Park. From Karuwalakuda a branch road veers towards the coast.

“From Karuwalakuda to Mullikulam the new 15-metre road has wreaked havoc to the unique network of Periyauppu Villu, Periya Villu and Sinnauppu Villu and dry mixed evergreen forest, with the villus being filled up and the area being dug up by backhoes,” he says, pointing out that along this route there are four naval camps. To access the camps from the new road, many other linking roads have been constructed.
It’s ‘illegal’ Palu breaking time. Photos courtesy Nature Forum

Then from Mullikulam to Moderagam Aru on the National Park’s northern boundary, the new road cuts through the network of Periyanaga Villu, Kali Villu and Myla Villu and also those in the Pukulam area as well as dry mixed evergreen forest and fresh water wetlands. Here both the wetlands and the villus have been filled up, according to Sajeewa.

Many are the linking roads to the coastal area; Mullikulam naval base and Kudrimalai Point, it is understood. A long jungle stretch of 800 metres has been cleared and demarcated with barbed-wire posts in the area between Pukulam and the Mullikulam bridge across Moderagam Aru. In the Pukulam area, backhoes have caused much damage to the dry mixed evergreen forest, once again creating large craters while the wetland has been filled up.

In a stretch, about one mile outside the National Park spanning Moderagam Aru on the northern boundary of the National Park to Kondachchikuda, bulldozers have dug up the dry mixed evergreen forest as well as the villus. Here the road is about 35 metres, he says, adding that to get the soil for the road an area of about 20 metres on either side has been cleared of a large swathe of jungle and villu environment. The road from Kala Oya to Moderagam Aru stretches 35 kilometres inside Wilpattu National Park, with three permanent bridges being constructed at different points along the way, it is learnt.

To build the other road hugging the coastline, bulldozers have destroyed sand dunes and coastal vegtation causing massive soil erosion. A one-mile section from the northern boundary of the National Park coming down along the coastal belt has been demarcated and is being prepared for a large tourist project, Sajeewa said.

According to more information he has received another area covering about a mile from the northern boundary has been demarcated for a naval village and preliminary work of clearing the jungle has already started.

The observations on this journey and information gathered have been meticulously recorded by Sajeewa and add a more strident note to the alarm bells that conservationists have been sounding loud and clear.

Isn’t it time for the protector of the law, specifically the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance, and the guardian of national treasures, the government to act and act now before Wilpattu’s rape is complete.

Animals and trees are prey

The road-kills of animals reported due to the heavy flow of traffic on the new Puttalam-Mannar Road while speeding through the Wilpattu National Park are numerous, Sajeewa told the Sunday Times.
Sloth bear, deer, wild boar and many other small animals have been “accident victims”,in their homeground, he said, adding that they have been buried surreptitiously without informing the Department of Wildlife Conservation or postmortems being held.

Those travelling along the road also stop and have palu feasts, breaking the branches of these sentinels of Wilpattu at will, he said. They fix nylon rope to branches and also to their vehicles tugging at branches, Sajeewa said, adding that other illegal activity dubbed “kele business” is also taking place.
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