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* Sri Lanka's wildlife parks to be closed next month to facilitate elephant census
Sun, Jul 17, 2011, 11:03 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

July 17, Colombo: Officials at the Wildlife Department of Sri Lanka say that all national parks in Sri Lanka where elephants roam will be closed on the 13th and 14th of August to facilitate an elephant count.

During the scheduled two days visitors will not be permitted in the parks as the field staff will be involved in the elephant survey. The parks will be closed during the day. However, the visitors who have reserved bungalows are allowed to stay, the officials said.

Accordingly, the Forest Department will close National Parks in Yala, Wilpattu, Gal Oya, Kumana, Udawalawe, Lahugala, Maduru Oya, Badagamuwa, Jalagalum Nimanaya, Somawathiya, Bundala, Lunugamvehera, Minneriya, Kawdulla and Angammadilla on these two days to facilitate the Wildlife Department to carry out the census.

The next month's elephant census is held after 42 years. The last census for elephants in Sri Lanka was held in 1969.

Sri Lanka's wild elephant population has dwindled in the recent years to about 5,000-6,000 elephants according to the Wild Life Department surveys, as their habitats are increasingly encroached by the human population.

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