The Ridiyagama Safari Park is a project by the Department of National Zoological Gardens, opened to the public on March 28 this year. The project’s key aims are to provide a suitable natural habitat for excess animals of the Dehiwela Zoo, conduct breeding programmes on threatened animal species, and to educate people on animal conservation.
The whole project currently takes up a land area of 80 acres, but more plans are in the pipeline. ‘Step 2’ of the project will expand the park up to 500 acres to include more ‘Zones’, facilitating space for the Bengal tiger, leopards, sloth bears, Asian/African herbivores, cheetahs, reptiles, a butterfly garden, and an animal breeding and conservation center.
The Department of National Zoological Gardens also intends to set up camping sites and circuit bungalows, as well as a leisure area for kids.
The park may attract more tourists and locals, if the proposed Step 2 goes according to plan. As for the animals, they do seem to have a much better environment here when compared to the confines of the Dehiwela Zoo.