All the forests located near the Wilpattu North Sanctuary belonging to the Department of Forest Conservation will be declared as one reserve.
Accordingly, President Maithripala Sirisena has signed the special gazette notification declaring the Mavillu, Weppal, Karadikkuli, Marichchikadi and Vilaththikulam forests as the Mawillu forest reserve under section 3A of the Forest Conservation Ordinance. If there is any necessity to make a variation of the limits of a conservation forest only the Minister may by an Order published in the Gazette, declare that the limits of any conservation forest shall be altered or varied. An Order made by the Minister under subsection (1) will have no effect until it has been approved by the President and confirmed by Parliament and the notification of such a confirmation is published in the Gazette. Consequently, the conservation forest will get the maximum legal coverage, and protection in this regard will be ensured.
Recently, several media organisations alleged that deforestation was taking place in the Wilpattu National Park as well as in surrounding forests.
However, investigations carried out into the matter revealed that there was no deforestation taking place, except that lands had being provided for resettlement purposes in 2012/2013.
During a meeting held on 30 December 2016 about the issue, President Sirisena gave instructions to issue a Gazette notification declaring forests near the released land area as conservation forests to ensure the protection of these forests.