Monday, 2 August 2010

Unique Sri Lankan Attraction Comes to the Midlands

Pictured, His Excellency Justice Nihal Jayasinghe.High
Commissioner for Sri Lanka, and Zoo Director
Suzanne Boardman

By Ben Aulakh

The first “Sri Lankan” themed elephant habitat in the world has opened in the Midlands.

The “Uda Walawe” enclosure has been constructed at Twycross Zoo in Atherstone, Warwickshire.

It is the only such themed building housing the huge mammals – the habitat closely reflects the close relationship between Sri Lanka and elephants.

Suzanne Boardman, Director of Twycross Zoo said, “We are delighted that our visitors will be able to experience a taste of Sri Lanka while learning about the important role that the domesticated elephant has had on the country.

“Our aim is for this exhibit to promote the need to conserve this important species globally, to encourage visits to the wildlife areas of Sri Lanka, and to highlight the importance of elephants in Sri Lanka.”

The building was opened on June 28 is a lavish ceremony attended by High Commissioner for Sri Lanka, His Excellency Justice Nihal Jayasinghe.

The enclosure includes an authentic farmer’s hut, a forest trail, a village school and a bridge and water lily pool from where visitors can see the animals.

Twycross Zoo is currently home to five elephants, four adult females and recently born male infant, named Ganesh – Vijay, after the Hindu elephant god of war.

The mammals new home is named after of one of Sri Lanka’s national parks, set up to provide a sanctuary for a variety of wild species; approximately three hundred elephants are believed to call the park their home.

It’s hoped this new venture will help to promote the conservation of the Asian elephants and act as a shop window for crucial wildlife conservation programmes in Sri Lanka.

Suzanne added, “We hope that we have created a little piece of Sri Lanka in the UK which will give visitors the chance to see just what a beautiful country Sri Lanka is.”

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