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National Parks to be closed

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Wildlife officials have informed the Wildlife Conservation Department that Yala, Udawalawe and Wilpattu National Parks should be closed since there is a severe food and water crisis for animals due to the drought prevailing for more than three months.

The Department intends to consult with the Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation to take a final decision regarding the closure of national parks after obtaining a forecast from the Meteorological Department.

Wildlife zones are spread over an area of 1.1 million hectares, of which an area of about 1 million hectares is located in the dry zone.

The water level of many small lakes, ponds and large lakes in Wilpattu, Yala and Udawalawe National Parks has decreased and the Wildlife Department has taken measures to provide water to the animals through bowers.

Meanwhile, environmentalists said the buffaloes living in the Yala National Park may die without water if the dry weather conditions continue.

Due to the drying up of ponds and lakes in the Udawalawe National Park, safari jeep drivers and environmentalists have recently volunteered to fill them.

However, a senior wildlife official said that filling up ponds is ecologically ineffective and the only benefit is the tourists visiting the national parks getting the opportunity to see animals.

He also said that giving food to animals is also ecologically wrong, and that animals have the ability to travel some distance in search of food and water.

The department has also focused on the closure of national parks without making an impact on the tourism industry.

Wildlife Conservation Director General Chandana Suriyabandara said that the department is currently providing water to the animals living in the tourist areas of the national parks, and that the department has necessary funds to do this.

“Providing water to the animals in the entire Sri Lanka is ecologically wrong. This will only harm the animals,” he said.

(Aruna)

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Four SriLankan Airlines flights experience delays

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This morning, four SriLankan Airlines flights experienced delays as ground staff refrained from performing some of their duties, according to reports.

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“Dosti” Coastguard Exercise ends today

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Highlighting the importance of “collaboration and interoperability” among the coastguard personnel of the Maldives, India and Sri Lanka, Maldivian Defence Minister Mohamed Ghassan Maumoon said the trilateral exercise ‘Dosti’ will unite the troika to address “shared maritime security concerns through collaboration.

” Maumoon was speaking at an event to formally inaugurate the 16th iteration of ‘Dosti,” the biennial exercise, which began on Thursday and would continue until today.

Indian Coast Guard ship Samarth and ICGS Abhinav along with Sri Lanka Naval Ship Samudura are participating in the exercise ‘DOSTI-16’ while Bangladesh is participating as an observer.

Sri Lanka has described ‘Dosti’ as a trilateral exercise that aims to enhance cooperation, strengthen friendship, improve mutual operational capability, and develop interoperability among the Coast Guard personnel of India, the Maldives, and Sri Lanka. 

“Scheduled from February 22nd to 25, the exercise provides participating forces with opportunities to engage in various maritime activities, including interdiction operations, search and rescue missions, surveillance, and communication drills,” the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) said in a statement.

(ET)

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Presidential poll will be held first as scheduled: President affirms

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe affirmed that the Presidential election will be held as scheduled with the General Elections anticipated to be held early next year, the President’s Media Division (PMD) said.

The President gave this assurance during a meeting with the representatives of the United Republic Front headed by by its leader Parliamentarian Patali Champika Ranawaka at Sirikotha today.

The United Republic Front presented a proposal titled “A United Step for the Country” to President Ranil Wickremesinghe this morning (24), at ‘Srikotha’, the United National Party headquarters in Colombo.

After engaging in discussions with the President, the leader of the United Republic Front, Member of Parliament Patali Champika Ranawaka, along with his delegation, presented this proposal to the President.

Speaking at the event, President Ranil Wickremesinghe, highlighted the government’s concerted efforts over the past two years to stabilize the country’s economy, which had faced significant challenges. 

Stressing the government’s commitment to steering the economy towards recovery through strategic reforms, the President expressed his determination to continue these initiatives with the collective support of everyone.

Recalling his open invitation to all political parties to unite under a common agenda on behalf of the country, regardless of political differences, the President reiterated his willingness to embrace constructive proposals from all political parties as part of the nation-building efforts.

The President responded positively to the request made by MP Patali Champika Ranawaka to allow other political parties to participate in the upcoming negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) next month concerning the restructuring of foreign debts.

United National Party Deputy Leader and President’s Senior Adviser on Climate Change, Ruwan Wijewardena, along with Secretary General of the United National Party Palitha Range Bandara were also in attendance at the event. 

Representing the United Republic Front were Karu Paranavithana, Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe and Attorney-at-Law, Shiral Lakthilaka.

(dailymirror.lk)

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