The country’s first migratory bird park and eco-tourism zone established in Hanthane, Kandy will be opened by President Ranil Wickramasinghe today as a major step towards promoting Avitourism based on bird watching.
Sri Lanka Tourist Development Authority (SLTDA) in its strategic plan has identified avitourism as a target for development. Sri Lanka has 70 internationally recognized important bird and biodiversity areas (IBAs)
The Hanthana International Bird Park and Recreation Center will be declared open by President Ranil Wickramasinghe on the 20th Monday at 03.00 pm. The park will be open to the public from the 23rd.
Located adjacent to the Hanthane Tea Museum premises, this 27-acre exotic bird park and eco-tourism zone is home to over a hundred species of migratory birds.
The chairman of the migratory bird park and eco-tourism zone Nishantha Kottegoda said that the park, which consists of birds endemic to foreign countries, migratory birds, etc., also has a unit to treat and release injured birds.
Established at a cost of Rs 490 million, foreign birds are housed in large cages in the bird park, and animals are taken care of by a staff of nearly one hundred.
This park has been established based on a study of non-endemic birds to Sri Lanka over a period of 40 years. It is also special that many foreign birds can be bred in this country.
The first phase of the bird park and eco-tourism zone, which will be opened by President Ranil Wickramasinghe, has facilities for local and foreign tourists to watch migratory birds, an educational training center for animal science students, a bird orphanage, a bird shelter and a quarantine unit.
Nishantha Kottegoda, chairman of Hanthane Foreign Bird Park and Ecotourism Zone, further stated that this park also has a unit for breeding and exporting foreign birds, an educational and recreational center for school students, and a natural bird study center.
Officials said that the bird park will be similar to those seen in Indonesia and Singapore.The park also has added attractions so visitors can spend an entire day inside the park.
Initially the park will have 100 birds but it will be expanded in the months and years to come.
While most birds are currently caged, officials said that the future plans include having the birds in large cages for people to walk through.A ferris wheel, aquarium and other attractions will also be included in the park in future.
While a vast number of tourists visit the island, they come here for sun, beach, sand, and culture and wildlife tourism.
As such there is untapped potential to develop this niche market due to abundance of rare birdlife in the country.
A research study revealed that international birding tour organizers to Sri Lanka and even local bird tourism organizers do not take their visitors to the majority of the internationally designated birdlife areas.
As such the potential to expand this niche is very high. Sri Lanka tourism development authorities are to undertake carefully targeted promotions to create awareness in the international markets and also educate the hotel trade, the local tour organizers and tour guides about the potential to develop this lucrative niche