Game Warden

Sri Lanka bans phones in safari park to save leopards

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Reports www.news.asiaone.com

Sri Lanka's largest safari park banned the use of cell phones Monday to stop leopards and other wildlife being killed by speeding vehicles which have been tipped off about their whereabouts.

Rangers have found the bodies of several animals in recent months that have been run over by vehicles in Yala park...


To read the full article click here.

 

Do you think this is becoming more and more a problem in African parks, especially those which allow self driving? Are we seeing an increase in wildlife casualties due to drivers speeding to sightings?

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Even before mobiles word got around about good sightings in parks. Especially India tiger reserves. I doubt banning cell phones will help much without also enforcing speed limits and restricting numbers of vehicles at sightings. Plus its not just when there is a sighting. People also speed when they are late leaving the park and to get ahead of the pack when entering.

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Agree - that's why Tigers are smart ......... They soon start to note the game drive timings and stay away from the madness!!!

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I don't know about that, quite a few of my sightings have been of nonchalant tigers sauntering along the road pursued by an entourage of vehicles!! Perhaps mothers with cubs are more wary though... Still haven't been lucky to see a young family.

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I'm off to Sri Lanka soon, including Yala NP, so I'll let you know!

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The futility of it all--running over and killing what is likely the attraction that brought the hit-and-runner to the park. Maybe a few speed bumps to go along with the ban.

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I'm off to Sri Lanka soon, including Yala NP, so I'll let you know!

 

~ @@Galago

 

Thank you for letting us know.

Please do have a wonderful time in Sri Lanka!

I hope that Yala will have ample top quality leopard and bird sightings for you.

Tom K.

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Yes its Ban in Yala NP,

where Yala Block 1 had telephone signal coverage so jeep drivers using mobile phone to share information about their sighting and ask other counterpart to visit and experience the mammal sightings. so many jeep drivers speed up and its endup of killing animals including leopards.

 

so Wildlife Department along with Telecommunication authority ban mobile coverage under Yala Block1 so avoid these tipping and speeding.

but on my recent visit in August 2016, i experience some part of Yala still having mobile coverage.

 

where willpattu is No Coverage at all, so you get down to the field and search for a leopard.

 

Kind Regards,
Prasanna Ambigaibagan
Freelance Naturalist

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Do you think this is becoming more and more a problem in African parks, especially those which allow self driving? Are we seeing an increase in wildlife casualties due to drivers speeding to sightings?

 

In my opinion it has nothing to do with self driving. A self driver don't have the connection to other Guides to get this information about sightings. The problem is radio and cell phones from the Guides or let us say Drivers. A careful Guide wouldn't overspeed in the park. What is the reason for 10-20 cars around a cheetah in the Mara Reserve? - Radio and cell phones from the Drivers I think.

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In Sri Lanka's wildlife parks 99% of guests are using jeep&driver; and driver is in contact with other drivers, either direct when passing by either by phone where coverage is available.

 

But the original cause of speeding is tipping! Yes, tipping. The cost of a jeep&driver is the same irrespective of how many leopards one would see. But tips are not! That is why so many drivers, who are usually not owners of the jeep, and are working for much less than it is paid for the tour by the guest, is trying to maximise his chances of getting a good tip. So even when mobile reception will be completely blocked, those drivers will still be speeding up and down the main "leopard roads" in hope to increase the chances of seeing one for their guests. It is us, the visitors, that can have the most impact on speeding (and killing) of wildlife inside the parks. By acting responsibly, i.e. by requesting the driver to keep its speed low, to stop frequently, etc.

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As @@xelas says above if you are paying for the driver then have the sense to tell him to slow down, he will want to do what pleases you as he'll have seen thousands of cats etc over the years so it's about wages and tips to him.

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