Daredevil chopper pilot drives animals and everyone crazy in National Park

Polonnaruwa Range Wildlife Assistant Director W. D. M.J. Wickremasinghe yesterday said an investigation had been launched to establish the identity of the owner of a helicopter that had flown very low, scaring a herd of wild elephants in Kaudulla National Park last Friday to please the reveling elephant watchers from above.

The helicopter carrying a group of holiday makers flew just above the canopy of the forest and a few feet above the ground in the grassland areas on Friday afternoon scaring wild animals, the safari jeep drivers have complained to the wildlife authorities.The helicopter had not obtained a licence to enter the Kaudulla National Park area, Wickramasinghe said, adding that not only the elephants but also many other animals had been disturbed by the irresponsible pilot, who was yet to be identified.

Safari jeep drivers have complained that about 300 wild elephants in the park had been frightened.Wickramasinghe said the same helicopter had violated the air space of the park on several occasions in the past.He said that Kaudulla National Park Ranger WGK Herath had lodged complaints with the Civil Aviation Authority and the Sri Lanka Air Force camp in Hingurakgoda.

Park Ranger Herath said the helicopter visited the park usually once a month and each time it came the wild animals were disturbed and local and foreign tourists and safari drivers complained of the nuisance it caused.

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