Tribe Yala

Conservation Heroes: Supporting Local Wildlife Guides

In a world dominated by technology and the hustle and bustle of modern life, there are still a few souls who find solace in the embrace of nature’s beauty and the company of its wild inhabitants. One such hero is Chathura Bhanuka, a park ranger and naturalist who stands as an invaluable cornerstone of the Tribe Yala family. Here, within the sanctuary of Tribe Yala, Chathura’s narrative intertwines harmoniously with our brand’s ethos- a luxurious haven that harmonises with the rhythm of the wild. And we find Chathura’s journey from a curious child immersed in National Geographic documentaries and the voice of David Attenborough constantly in his head to a passionate advocate for wildlife conservation nothing short of inspiring.

Chathura’s day begins at the crack of dawn, well before the first rays of sunlight illuminate the park’s lush foliage. With a heart full of love for animals and nature, he takes on the role of an educator, guide, and storyteller as he leads tourists and visitors on safaris through Yala National Park. Every morning, he imparts his extensive knowledge about the park’s rich biodiversity, the magnificent wildlife that calls it home, and the delicate balance of its ecosystem. But that’s not all; Chathura goes the extra mile by sharing captivating folk stories passed down by the villagers, adding a touch of enchantment to the visitors’ experience.

One particular folk tale held a special place in Chathura’s heart. It spoke of an age-old belief that spotting a jackal would eventually lead to the sighting of the elusive leopard. As fate would have it, this story turned into reality for Chathura one memorable day. It was not merely a coincidence; rather, a display of nature’s intricate connections. Jackals, being resourceful scavengers, often follow in the footsteps of apex predators like leopards in search of a meal.

For Chathura, being a park ranger is not just a job; it’s a calling. The opportunity to escape the trappings of modern technology and immerse himself in the tranquil arms of nature brings him immense joy and contentment. However, it is his role as an educator and advocate that truly sets his heart on fire. He takes part in several conservation efforts, with a particular focus on protecting the magnificent leopards of Sri Lanka.

As a self-professed cat person, Chathura is driven by his passion to minimise human-animal encounters, combat poaching, and preserve the natural environment. His projects echo his determination to address lesser-known issues within Sri Lanka and be a guardian of its flora and fauna. By encouraging education and awareness, he believes that every individual can play a part in safeguarding the natural heritage of his beloved country.

Chathura firmly believes that being a ranger or naturalist isn’t simply a job but it is a powerful responsibility of being ambassadors for nature and wildlife in order to protect them and conserve their habitats. Through his safaris and interactions, he instils in visitors a sense of responsibility to protect the wilderness we have the privilege to witness. His efforts go beyond just a fleeting encounter with the wild; he plants seeds of compassion and understanding that can ripple through generations to come.

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Yala in the coastal region of Sri Lanka is very well known for its variety of wild animals, Sri Lankan elephants, Sri Lanka leopards, and aquatic birds. Yala was delegated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900 and along with Wilpattu was one of the national parks in Sri Lanka and was designated in the year 1938. Since then Yala has been home to natural habitat, vegetation, and various species of birds for so many years. People from all over come to visit Yala for its tented lodge, Safari experiences, and camping sites. …

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