The theme of wildlife conservation has been an ancient concept in Sri Lanka.It was considered noble in keeping with the teaching of Goutham Buddha and later essential to the Island.
The first attempt to stop the destruction of wildlife resources of Sri Lanka was made in 1889, by the conservation of forests, Colonel Clark R.A. He has enact ” An ordinance to prevent Wanton destruction of elephants, buffaloes and other games” and “An ordinance to readjust the customs duties livable on firearms and to impose and export duty on certain hides and horns”. For the protection of flora and fauna Ordinance, No 2 of 1937 was provide to the necessary rules and regulations. Under this ordinance the wildlife department separate in 1949. And establish new protected areas such as; Strict Nature Reserves, National Parks, Nature Reserves, Jungle corridors,Refuge,Marine Reserves ,Buffer Zones and Sanctuaries. The above ordinance amended in 1993 act no 49. After that under the Flora and Fauna ordinance, National parks 20, Strict nature reserves 03, Nature reserves 04,elephant corridors, and Sanctuaries. Haggala, Yala block 11, and Ritigala are the strict nature reserves; and the largest national park is the wilpattu national park, second largest national park is the Yala.And last gazzeted national park is Angammadilla in 05/07/2006.
In Sri Lanka, main conserve animal is the elephant which is the flagship species in the country and becoming threatened. Other major animals such as samber, deer, sloth bear, and Leopard were also protected. According to the survey of prof.Santiapillai in 2000, elephant population recorded as 4000 – 5000 .Most of this elephant population saturated in dry zone. And it case to human elephant conflict also. Because of the destroying forests food, water and shelter are not enough to for the population. Year by year elephant mortality goes to high, because of gunshot injuries, electricution, poisoning, landmines accidental fall into wells and pits,colission with trains and natural causes. For the conservations of elephants, the department of wildlife conservation has identified several areas where the human – elephant conflict has become serious. And given the facilities to control the conflict. When some elephants become rogue, they are tranquilized and translocate to another place and, when some baby elephants are remote in the jungle or village, bring to the Udawalawa elephant rehabilitation center.
Conservation measures adapted for; mitigation of human – elephant conflict, controlling ivary poaching, establishment of new national parks, establishment of elephant corridors, Increasing the extent of conservation areas, habitat enrichment activities, translocation of elephants, elephant drives and electric fencing. Ex-situ conservation and integrated elephant conservation with economic developments. Apart from that wildlife policy and international conservation laws and regulations such as CITES, BON convention, RAMSAR convention, are helps to conservation. And education programmes, NGO’s also give the support to conservation. By the conserve wildlife, it gives recreation and scientific values to the nature.
And other projects such as turtle conservation project, lepord conservation project and bear conservation project given the support to the wildlife. And foreign donar agencies such as ADB, World Bank and GEF give the financial support to conservation.