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 Post subject: Plans for biggest Zoo in Sri Lanka dealyed
 Post Posted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 2:31 am 
200 Acres of land needed to build a biggest zoo in Sri Lanka.

Sassanka Samarakkody – Reporting from Colombo, Sri Lanka
@ Asiantribune.com

Colombo, 11 April, (Asiantribune.com): Environmentalists have pointed out that the delay in the construction of the proposed Zoological garden on 200 acres of land, next to the world renowned Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage in Kandy, was due to bad planning by the authorities concerned.

The foundation stone for this rupees 350 million project, claimed to be the largest Zoo in South and Southeast Asia, was laid on 10 May 2000. However, up to date no work has commended due to non-availability of adequate land.

At present only 35 acres of State land is available. The rest of the land had to be obtained from private owners, who have instituted legal action against the State, claiming that the compensation offered to them was highly inadequate. The cases are still pending in court.

According to the Director of the National Zoological Gardens Department, Brigadier H A N T Perera, the project was initiated by the late Minister of Tourism Dharmasiri Senanayake in 1998, who "promised to construct the largest zoo in Southeast Asia, on a 200 acre plot of land next to the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage."

However, according to Brigadier Perera there were many practical problems that had to be overcome, such as obtaining private property. "Although the authorities have pressurized me to commence construction on the available land, I have protested and told them at least 150 acres of land is required to build a zoo according to international standards," he told the “Asian Tribune.”

He also said that since taking over as Director, National Zoological Gardens Department four years ago, he had managed to put a stop to certain fraudulent activities. "Twenty percent of the gate collection of the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage was robbed. I detected it and put a stop to it," Brigadier Perera told the “Asian Tribune.”

The Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, the Dehiwela Zoological Gardens and a Zoo farm in Horana come under the purview of the National Zoological Gardens Department.

- Asian Tribune-

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