Dehiwala Zoo - record surge in visitors | Sunday Observer

Dehiwala Zoo - record surge in visitors

3 September, 2023

The Dehiwala Zoo has reported a remarkable surge in visitor numbers, with footfalls doubling in recent times, according to officials of the National Zoological Gardens in Dehiwala. The scorching heat wave has driven people to seek refuge among the trees and lush greenery within the Zoo premises.

Also, an unexpected star attraction is capturing the hearts of visitors – Simwa, the lion cub. The Zoo’s Deputy Director, Dinushika Manawaduwa, attributes the visitor surge to various factors. “One of the reasons, the number of visitors has increased at the Zoo is the relentless impact of the scorching heat.”

“The country has been experiencing a prolonged heat wave, and the Zoo offers a cool respite with its dense foliage and shaded areas,” she said.

The sun is going directly over the latitudes of Sri Lanka from August 28 to September 7.

“The other reason,” Manawaduwa said, “is the captivating presence of our lion cub, Simwa. Visitors have been flocking to see this adorable little lion. It is heartwarming to see the connection between Simwa and our guests.”

What sets this surge in visitors apart, is the novel way in which they choose to enjoy their time at the Zoo. Manawaduwa said, “We noticed that some people come to the Zoo with picnic materials, such as sleeping mats, pillows, picnic chairs, and the like, unlike other seasons. They use a lot of water in the Zoo for drinking and washing. They find places under the shade of trees, and some even nap among them to beat the heat.”

Concerns were raised about whether the Zoo could accommodate this influx of “picnickers.” Manawaduwa said, “They come to the Zoo to enjoy its environment, ecology, and the animals. Cooling off is part of recreation, and fighting off the impact of the weather is natural. We have taken measures to ensure our visitors’ and animals’ safety and comfort.”

The surge in visitors to Dehiwala Zoo provides relief to those seeking refuge from the sweltering heat and contributes to the Zoo’s conservation efforts and educational mission.