By Ifham Nizam
Visitor arrival at the National Zoological Gardens in Dehiwela has increased since the Easter Sunday bomb attacks caused the arrivals to drop to single digits.
Deputy Director of the Zoo Anoma Priyadharshini told The Island that arrivals had increased to between 1,000 and 1,500 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday as against the usually between 5,000 and 6,000 visitors prior to the terror attacks.
She said that usually Monday and Tuesday recorded the lowest visitor arrivals between 1,500 and 2,000 and at present it stood around 500 visitors. She said that plans were afoot to add more exotic species shortly to attract more visitors through the Animal Exchange Programme.
The National Zoo, which has a remarkable collection of exotic and indigenous fauna, is one of the oldest Zoos in Asia.
At present there are some 72 species of mammals, 65 species of birds, 31 species of reptiles, 89 species of fish, three families of amphibians and 30 species of butterflies, etc.
The total number of animals varies from 2,500-3,000 due to breeding and free living colonies of birds. The Zoo has become famous among the visitors not only for its collection of local and exotic animals but also for landscaping with lush greenery.
The zoo supports and promotes conservation by breeding certain rare and endangered species through proper animal welfare. Annually, over 1.5 million local and foreign tourists visit the Zoo. In addition some 2,000 students and groups of students from schools and universities visit the Zoo for educational purposes.