Supporting Wilpattu National Park and Influence Zone Management in Sri Lanka

OBJECTIVES

  1. Improving the management capacity in technical and specialist terms.
  2. Improving conditions for the more resource-friendly use and conservation of the marine resources in the national park’s influence zone.
  3. Better access to resource-friendly income generation for the local population.
  4. Raising environmental and climate change awareness and promoting peaceful coexistence

DESCRIPTION

Encompassing almost 130,000 hectares, it is among the country’s largest and oldest national parks. Wilpattu is well known for its Leopard population.

The Park can be managed with a compatible combination of biodiversity conservation and economic development. At the same time, due to its role during the civil war, it can also be promoted as a public symbol of reconciliation. Since different ethnic and cultural groups have a common interest in the park, it can help foster a sense of identity by bringing these people together for its protection.

From 2019-2022, the project “Supporting Wilpattu National Park and Influence Zone Management in Sri Lanka”, aims that the management of the Wilpattu National Park and its influence zone, by governmental and non-governmental actors, is geared to the ecological integrity of the Wilpattu National Park and the development needs of the local population in the national park’s zones of influence.

APPROACH/FIELD OF INTERVENTION

(1) Improving the management capacity in technical and specialist terms. This output is essentially concerned with implementing the management plan’s recommendations, with emphasis on the Park Operations, Environmental, and Visitor Use Programmes, for protecting biodiversity in the park and its peripheral areas. This includes enhancing the park’s infrastructure, supporting interagency coordination, better patrolling against poaching, securing and rehabilitating habitats, and the control of invasive species. 

(2) Improving conditions for the more resource-friendly use and conservation of the marine resources in the national park’s influence zone. This involves moderating a process to enhance a dialogue with fishermen, their cooperatives, the private sector, and other users of marine resources. The Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) staff in the Kalpitiya and Wilpattu outposts are to undergo training and cooperate with the Fisheries Department. For the long-term surveillance of marine resources, DWC will be trained to develop a joint patrol system to monitor biodiversity and human activities with community members and the Department of Fisheries. The necessary technical equipment will be made available. Tourism service providers will be trained on responsible dolphin and whale tourism through exchange programmes and upgrading measures.  

(3) Better access to resource-friendly income generation for the local population. This output aims to give the local population in the park’s influence zones better access to alternative, income-generating opportunities outside conventional agriculture. To this end, village development plans will be designed in a participatory process and selected measures implemented. The focus will be on measures that benefit women and on those that build resilience to climate change.

(4) Raising environmental and climate change awareness and promoting peaceful coexistence – The national park’s use as a communication instrument shall be improved to raise environmental and climate change awareness and promote peaceful coexistence between people and with wildlife. Environmental awareness events involving different village communities, village mini-libraries, as well as study trips for the Wilpattu National Park for school students will be organized. Capacity-building measures will increase the technical knowledge of governmental and civil society institutions on environmental and climate change awareness education methods, inter-community dialogue and mass media communication. The Department of Wildlife Conservation and, civil society institutions will be supported to design visitor and environmental awareness programmes. The partner institutions and local communities will continue their visitor and environmental education programmes after the project ends.

TARGETED BENEFICIARIES

WNP Management, Department of Wildlife Conservation Sri Lanka, Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Communities from the Marine and Terrestrial influence zones of the park, Local and international visitors etc.

HIGHLIGHT ACTIVITIES

  • A comprehensive consultation process with people in the park’s influence zone has been completed and all results have been fed into the development of the management plan.
  • A socio-economic analysis has been concluded providing es­sential data for the management plan.
  • In four villages water purification systems have been set up to address the issue of chronic kidney disease which affects many people around Wilpattu.
  • Reconstruction of Pomparippu beat station to improve pat­rolling coverage in the park’s south-western parts.
  • The park’s management operational procedures were impro­ved by providing field as well as administrative equipment and training (IT, the park’s radio network system patrol boat, motorcycles, GPS tracking devices, camera traps).
  • Park bungalows beat stations and range stations have been equipped with solar PV systems.
  • Conducting training and capacity building programs for the national park staff
  • Providing equipment for research activities in the park (Leopard study).
  • Providing a 4WD vehicle for park operation and outreach activities.
  • Developing park infrastructure to improve operation and visitor services of the park.
  • Developing a website and a self-guiding application for Wilpattu National park
  • Developing Tri-Lingual Visual Infographics for WNP
  • Developing Standard Operational Procedures (SOPs) to improve visitor services of the park.
  • Conducting Visitor surveys in Wilpattu National Park (2020 and 2021).
  • Developing a style guide, mascots and visitor information materials for the Wipattu National Park
  • Implementing Village Development Plans in the terrestrial influence zine.
  • Promoting Sustainable and climate-smart agricultural practices in the terrestrial influence zone
  • Establishing 26 mini-libraries at the schools of the terrestrial influence zone.

PUBLICATIONS

SUCCESS STORIES

New Land-Cruiser to Wilpattu National Park

For enhancing the park operations and environmental management activities in the Wilpattu National Park, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has handed over a brand-new Toyota Land-Cruiser V8 to the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC).  The Country Director of GIZ Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Ms Christiane Einfeldt, handed over the keys of the new vehicle to the Deputy Director of the Department of Wildlife Conservation, Mr Ranjan Marasinghe at the GIZ Country Office on 11th August 2020.

“Mobility is one of the major obstacles for implementing conservation, outreach and environmental education activities in the Wilpattu National Park and influence zones. This vehicle will be very useful for the implementation of Environmental and Outreach Program activities efficiently in the Wilpattu National Park” stated the Deputy Director, Mr Ranjan Marasinghe.

“Supporting Wilpattu and Influence Zone Management in Sri Lanka” Project is implemented by the Department of Wildlife Conservation of the Ministry of Environment and Wildlife Resources and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The project combines the conservation efforts within the Wilpattu National Park with the sustainable development of its influence zones.

The project aims to improve Wilpattu National Park’s management capacity with emphasis on the Park Operations, Environmental and Visitor Use Programmes, in technical and specialist terms, in support of the Wilpattu National Park Management Plan (2019-2024).

During the ceremony, the Additional Secretary Mr Wernon Perera, and Director Mr Deepal Siribaddana from the Ministry of Environment and Wildlife Resources expressed their support for ongoing cooperation. Focal Point of the Department of Wildlife Conservation Ms Chandani Wilson and Wilpattu National Park Warden Mr Chamath Lakshman were also present during the ceremony.


Coastal Cleanup Programme in Wilpattu National Park

Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) Sri Lanka with the collaboration of the Sri Lanka Navy in the Kalpitiya area has organized a Coastal cleanup program in Wilpattu national park (WNP) from 6th – 9th April 2021. The event was initiated from the Gangewadiya area and continued for 39 km until the Mollikulam.

WNP warden Mr Suranga Rathnayaka mentioned that “this is the first time  DWC executed a coastal clean up in this scale, especially in the coastal line of Wilpattu national park” and as a result, volunteers have removed more than 1600 bags of plastic bottles, polythene, glass and other debris from the area and Sri Lanka Navy supported the programme providing 50 volunteers and boats for transporting collected garbage from the locations where terrestrial access is difficult.

According to Mr Sampath Bandara, Technical advisor for the “Supporting Wilpattu and Influence Zone Management in Sri Lanka” Project “ this coastal cleanup program was implemented as a part of environmental management activities in the national park and there are many activities currently implemented in the WNP area.

Supporting Wilpattu and Influence Zone Management in Sri Lanka” Project is implemented by the Department of Wildlife Conservation of the Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Conservation and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The project combines the conservation efforts within the Wilpattu National Park with the sustainable development of its influence zones.

The project aims to improve Wilpattu National Park’s management capacity with emphasis on the Park Operations, Environmental and Visitor Use Programmes, in technical and specialist terms, in support of the Wilpattu National Park Management Plan (2019-2024).

This activity was proposed by Mr Chamath Lakshman, the former park warden in WNP, parallel to the international coastal clean-up day in 2020 however, the activity had to be postponed until 2021 due to the COVID pandemic and health restrictions in the area. Therefore, the event was replanned and implemented under the close supervision of WNP management and local MOH following health restrictions and safety standards.

Ms Chandani Wilson, Director – Visitor Services Management DWC and Mr Manjula Amararatne, Director – Protected Area Management, have given their full support and guidance to organize this activity and DWC is planning to extend this activity into a monitoring study creating sampling plots along the coastal line of WNP.

COUNTRY

Sri Lanka

DURATION

2016 - 2022

Commission Agency

BMZ

SDG

CONTACT PERSON