Mar 05, 2019

Pitawala Patahana is in danger

The National Forest Conservation Association says that there is a severe environmental damage due to the entry of goats and cattle to the "Pitawala Pathana" in the Knuckles Reserve and irregular behavior of the visitors who come to the World Heritage site.

This is stated in a report issued by Chairman of the Association of the National Forest Conservation Association Atik Nazir.

He has further stated followings:

In the Knuckles Mountain Range, which was named as a World Heritage Site in 2010, Pitawala Pathana is one of the most sought after destinations in the Knuckles Forest Reserve.

However, he has said that irregular behavior of the tourists and the large numbers of buffalos and cattle have caused a huge damage to the site.

Most of the inbound tourists come to have fun and there are few visitors who need to relish ecological beauty. The local wildlife conservation organization has pointed out that there is a lot of litter thrown by the visitors including, empty bottles, plastic polythene, lunch sheets.

The Association further points out that some grass varieties are threatened to be extinct because of the roaming cattle.

It is pointed out that the rare plant species such as Pathan Ala, Nil Monarasa, Kandulassa and Watessa, have been identified as severely threatened.

The Association added that the Pathan Ala that was identified from Pitawala Pathana for the first time in the year 1960 is also in the threat of extinction.

Also, the Dumbara Galpar frog is also endemic to Knuckles and a significant number of them are recorded from the Dumbara Pitapathana. It is also mentioned that this frog has been threatened to be extinct according to the Red Data Book.

The neglect of tourists visiting Pitawala Patana and roaming cattle have made a great impact on the biodiversity of the world heritage, it is noted that some tourists are walking on grass strips instead of required walkways.

The whole country is requested to take necessary steps to ensure the protection of the world heritage site and particularly tourists are urged to use specified routes, and authorities are requested to come up with a mechanism to prevent entering of cattle into the biological hotspot, for the sake of many endemic species including Dumbara Galpara frog and Pathan Ala.