Double treat at Pinnawala

  👤  3378 readers have read this article !
By 2017-10-15

By Risidra Mendis
Ceylon Today Features

The mention of the word Zoo and the first thing that comes to mind is animal cruelty. Animals in cooped up cages with no way out is what you would expect to see when you visit a Zoo these days. However, a visit to the Pinnawala Zoo in Kegalle would change your mind on animals being cooped up in cages and animal cruelty. The free movement of some of the animals at the Pinnawala Zoo is a new experience to visitors. Some of the animals and birds can be seen on the roads, inside the zoo, freely wandering around.

Situated on 44 acres of land in the Kegalle district and in close proximity to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is the Pinnawala Zoo. Visitors who normally travel to Kegalle to see elephants bathing in the river and lazing around at the Elephant Orphanage, now have the opportunity of visiting a zoo that has a variety of animals in open and spacious enclosures.

Gone are the days when animals suffered in small and dark cages in the Zoo. Some animals that were once in small cages at the National Zoological Gardens Dehiwala now have the opportunity of roaming around in the large and spacious enclosures at the Pinnawala Zoo.

The Pinnawala Zoo, at Wagolla, was opened on 17 April 2015 by former Tourism and Sports Minister Navin Dissanayake and is the second National Zoological Gardens in the country and is home to a variety of animal species.
When the Pinnawala Zoo was opened to the public, around two and a half years ago, visitors were allowed to visit the Zoo free of charge as only 25 acres of land was developed at the time. But today the Zoo has become a popular place to visit, especially for the people in the Kegalle area, who previously never had a place to observe and study animals in captivity. Visitors now pay a fee to enter the Pinnawala Zoo to view the animals.

Construction of the Pinnawala Zoo commenced in 1999. The expenditure up to August 2017 is Rs 1082 million. The future constructions at the Pinnawala zoo will cost less than Rs 500 million.

The first animals you see as you enter the Pinnawala Zoo are the rabbits, ducks, black turtles, guinea fowls, turkeys and the bantam fowls in a large enclosure. A little distance away, the black swans and the mute swans are seen. Next is the deer enclosure where sambar, barking deer, hog deer, spotted deer and mouse deer can be seen. Sloth bears, leopards, donkeys, ponies, salt water and fresh water crocodiles are some of the other animals you can see in spacious enclosures at this Zoo.

Explaining the layout and the extent of the enclosures separated for animals Assistant Director Pinnawala Zoo U. G. Mihiran Medawala told Ceylon Today that the Petting Corner that has rabbits, black turtles, star tortoises, ducks, guinea fowls, turkeys, peacocks and bantam fowls is on 20 perches of land.

"The Pinnawala Zoo has three or four peacocks. But they are not visible all the time as they roam around inside the Zoo and don't stay in one place. The ducks, guinea fowls, bantam fowls and turkeys also go to other areas within the Zoo. Only the rabbits, black turtles and star tortoises remain at the Petting Corner at all times. The extent of the deer enclosure is close to one acre. The crocodile enclosure is less than one acre while the Sloth bear enclosure is close to one acre. The leopard enclosure is less than two acres," Medawala said.

"The Pinnawala Zoo consists of endemic and indigenous animals. Excess animals from the National Zoological Gardens Dehiwala were brought to the Pinnawala Zoo. The Pinnawala Zoo is still under construction and plans are underway to build a butterfly enclosure, a monkey island, a flamingo enclosure, an aviary for birds, a reptile park, a rain forest area and a conservation centre. The Monkey Island will have Sri Lankan monkey species. A section of forest area that is not being used inside the zoo will be taken for the Rain Forest area where Sri Lankan species will be introduced. A path will be made inside the forest area so that visitors can go inside the Rain Forest area and observe animals," Director General National Zoological Gardens Dehiwala, Dammika Malsinghe said.

She added that construction on the Conservation Centre will commence in 2018 and the Slender Loris, the Rusty Spotted cat and the Pangolin will be bred scientifically. "Once the species are bred we will get permission from the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC) to release these animals to the wild. Zoos serve as Conservation Centres and it is our duty to breed and release animals to the wild with the consent of the DWLC. The Pinnawala Zoo will also have a beautiful and aesthetically landscaped area," Malsinghe explained.

She added that in order to attract tourists to the Pinnawala Zoo, a combined ticket had been introduced, two weeks ago. The combined ticket can be purchased at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. Tourists who purchase the combined ticket can visit the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage and the Pinnawala Zoo, too. The Pinnawala Zoo is expected to promote the tourism industry in the future. Local visitors will be issued a separate ticket for the Pinnawala Zoo," Malsinghe said.

PRINT EDITION

News

Read More

Sport

Read More

Echo

Read More

Teeninc

Read More

Scribbler

Read More