Environmentalists in Sri Lanka have raised concerns over the government’s decision to remove the buffer zones around national parks to make way for tourism projects.
According to environmentalists, the removal of the buffer zones for tourism projects would result in an increase in the human-elephant conflict. Former head of the Young Zoologists’ Association, Pubudu Weeraratne has explained that the buffer zones provide protection to the elephants’ comfort zones and corridors and the removal of buffer zones would further limit the habitat areas of the elephants.
Meanwhile, senior environmentalist and environmental lawyer Jagath Gunawardena has told the media that the buffer zone around national parks came into being by way of Section III A of the Fauna and Flora Ordinance which was amended in 1993. He has said the removal of buffer zones would also help individuals engaged in illegal activities to exploit the wildlife.