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How To Travel
While Yala in the dry zone of Hambantota remains the most famous wildlife park in Sri Lanka, other well-known wildlife parks include Kaudulla, Minneriya, Wilpattu, Wasgamuwa, Udawalawa and Gal Oya, to name a few. Drought seasons in different parts of the country mean that the animals move to different parts within the parks, or visit adjoining parks in search of food and water. Majestic elephants, deadly leopards, pythons and crocodiles, bears, deer, langur and wild boar are just a selection of the animals one could sight in the wildlife parks, in addition to the resplendent bird population. The Horton Plains National Park which is the highland from where 3 of the largest rivers of Sri Lanka originate, is also a mysterious paradise of wildlife.
Yala National Park is the most visited and the second largest national park in Sri Lanka. Actually it consists of five blocks, two of which are now open to the public; and also adjoining parks. The blocks have individual names also, like Ruhuna National Park for the (best known) block 1 and Kumana National Park or 'Yala East' for the adjoining area. It is situated in the southeast region of the country, and lies in the Southern and Uva Provinces. There are six national parks and three wildlife sanctuaries in the vicinity of Yala. The park is situated in the dry semi-arid climatic region and rain is received mainly during the northeast monsoon. Yala hosts a variety of ecosystems ranging from moist monsoon forests to freshwater and marine wetlands. It is one of the 70 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Sri Lanka. Yalaharbours 215 bird species including six endemic species of Sri Lanka. The number of mammals that has been recorded from the park is 44, and it has one of the highest leopard densities in the world.
Of 215 bird species in the park, six are endemic to Sri Lanka. They are Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Sri Lanka Jungle fowl, Sri Lanka Wood-pigeon, Crimson-fronted Barbet, Black-capped Bulbul, and Brown-capped Babbler. The number of water birds inhabiting the wetlands of Yala is 90 and half of them are migrants. Waterfowls (Lesser Whistling Duck, Gargeni), Cormorants (Little Cormorant, Indian Cormorant), large water birds (Grey Heron, Black-headed Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Asian Openbill, Painted Stork), medium-sized waders Tringa spp., and small waders Charadrius spp. are among the common water birds. Black-necked Stork and Lesser Adjutant are the rare birds that can be seen in the park. The migrant Great White Pelican and resident Spot-billed Pelican have also been recorded. Other water birds attracted to the Yala lagoons include Lesser Flamingo, and Pelicans, and rare species such as Purple Heron, Night herons, Egrets, Purple Swamp hen, and Oriental Darter. Thousands of waterfowls migrate to the lagoons of Yala during the northeast monsoon. They are Northern Pintail, White-winged Tern, Eurasian Curlew, Whimbrel, Godwits, and Ruddy Turnstone. The visiting species mingled with residing Lesser Whistling Duck, Yellow-wattled Lapwing, Red-wattled Lapwing, and Great Stone-curlew. Rock Pigeon, Barred Buttonquail, Indian Peafowl, Black Stork, Black-winged Stilt, and Greater Flamingo are among the other bird species Crested.
Serpent-eagle and White-bellied Sea Eagle are the raptors of the park. The forest birds are Orange-breasted Green Pigeon, Hornbills, Old World flycatchers, Asian Paradise-flycatcher, Asian barbets, and Orioles. Streams in the park can sustain a large herd of Sri Lankan Elephants including Sri Lankan Elephant, 44 species of mammals are resident in Yala National Park. 25 individual leopards are estimated to roam in Block I. The elephant herd of Yala contains 300-350 individuals. Sri Lankan Sloth Bear, Sri Lankan Leopard, Sri Lankan Elephant and Wild Water Buffalo are threatened species that Yala is harbouring. Toque Macaque, Golden Palm Civet, Red Slender Loris, and Fishing Cat are among the other mammals that can be seen in Yala. The elephant population of the park varies seasonally.
Route 2: Colombo - Ratnapura - Pelmadulla - Embilipitiya- Hambantota - Tissamaharama - Yala (Approximately 284 kms)
Route 3: Colombo - Ratnapura - Pelmadulla - UdaWalawe- Tanamalwila - Tissamaharama - Yala (Approximately 235 kms)
Yala National Park Tel: 047-348 9297
Wilpattu National Park (Vil-pattu; Land of Lakes) is a park located in the island of Sri Lanka. The unique feature of this park is the existence of "Villus" (natural lakes) Natural, sandrimmed water basins or depressions that fill with rainwater are located in the Northwest coast lowland dry zone of Sri Lanka.
It is located 30 kms west of Anuradhapura and 26 kms north of Puttalam. The park is 131,693 hectares in content and ranges from 0 to 152 meters above the sea level. Nearly sixty lakes (Villus) and tanks are found spread throughout the park. Wilpattu is the largest and one of the oldest National Parks in Sri Lanka. Wilpattu is among the top national parks world-renowned for its Leopard population, but its Leopard population is still not known.
The Annual Rainfall is about 1000 mm while the annual average temperature is about 27.2 0 C. Inter-monsoonal rains are in March and the northeast monsoon is from December to February. It's the main period of rainfall. There are many types of vegetation in Wilpattu; Littoral vegetation, including Salt grass and low scrub monsoon forest with tall emergents, such as Palu and Satin, Milla, Weera, Ebony and Wewarna.
Thirty one species of mammals have been identified within the park. Mammals that are identified as threatened species living within the Wilpattu National Park are the Elephant, Sloth bear, Leopard, Water buffalo, Sambhur, Spotted deer, Mongoose and Mouse.
The Painted stork, the Openbill, Little cormorant, Sri Lanka jungle fowl along with many species of owls, terns, gulls, eagles, kites buzzards are also found in the park. Wetland bird species that can be seen in Wilpattu are the Gargeni, Pintail, Whistling teal, Spoonbill, White ibis, large white egret, Cattle egret, and Purple heron.
The most common reptiles found in the park are the Monitor Lizard, Mugger crocodile, Common cobra, Rat snake, Indian python, Pond turtle, and the Soft shelled turtle that are resident in the large permanent Villus.
Access Route: Colombo would be via Negombo, Chilaw and Puttalam. The turn off is at the little hamlet of Thimbiriwewaon the 28th mile post along the Puttalam Anuradhapura road.The park office,where one can obtain a permit and a guide is at Hunuwilagama, 8 kms from the turn-off.
Wilpattu National Park - Tel: 025-385 5691
Opening & Closing Time: 6.00 AM to 6.00 PM (Tickets will not be issued after 4.30 PM)
Kumana National Park in Sri Lanka is renowned for its avifauna, mainly its large flocks of migratory waterfowl and wading birds. Kumana is contiguous with Yala National Park. Kumana was formerly known as Yala East National Park, but changed to its present name in 5 September 2006.
KumbukkanOya forms the southern boundary of the national park. Some 20 lagoons and tanks support the extensive birdlife of the national park. The elevation of the area ranges from sea level to 90 metres.
The park's wetland areas are surrounded by a dry zone tropical thorny forest. The inland forest's flora is dominated by Palu, Ehela, Burutha and more.
Kumana Bird Sanctuary was declared as a national park in 1938. Kumana is one of the most important bird nesting and breeding grounds in Sri Lanka. 255 species of birds have been recorded in the national park. During April and July tens of thousands of birds migrate to the Kumana swamp annually. Rare species such as Black-necked Stork, Lesser Adjutant, Eurasian Spoonbill, and Great Thick-knee are breeding inhabitants of the Kumanavillu. Waders belonging to families Scolopacidae and Charadriidae are among the visitors to the area along with waterfowl. Pintail Snipes migrate here flying 9,000 kilometres to 11,000 kilometres from Siberia. Asian Openbill, Glossy Ibis, Purple Heron, Great Egret, Indian Pond Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Intermediate Egret, Little Egret, Spot-billed Pelican, Indian Cormorant, Little Cormorant, Common Moorhen, Watercock, Purple Swamp hen, White-breasted Water hen, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Blackwinged Stilt, Lesser Whistling Duck and Little Grebe are the bird species that migrate here in large flocks. Among the rare birds that migrate to the swap include Yellow-footed Green Pigeon,
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Malabar Trogon, and SirkeerMalkoha. Pacific Golden Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Lesser Sand Plover, Grey Plover, Ruddy Turnstone, Little Ringed Plover, Wood Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Common Snipe, and Pintail Snipe are the commonest wading birds. Mugger Crocodile, Indian Flap-shelled Turtle and Indian Black Turtle are the common reptiles inhabiting the park. Mammals such as Golden Jackal, Wild Boar, Sri Lankan Elephant, European Otter, and Fishing Cat also visit the swamp to feed. The number of elephants roaming in Kumana is estimated at 30-40.
Access Route:Route 1: Ratnapura - Pelmadulla - Balangoda - Beragala - Koslanda - Wellawaya - Monaragala - Pottuvil- Panama via Kudumbigala Sanctuary
Kumana National Park :Tel: 063-224 8623
Opening & Closing Time: 6.00 AM - 6.00 PM (Tickets will not be issuied after 5.00 PM)
Horton Plains National Park is a protected area in the central highlands of Sri Lanka and is covered by montane grassland and cloud forest. This plateau at an altitude of 2,100–2,300 metres (6,900–7,500 ft) is rich in biodiversity and many species found here are endemic to the region. This region was designated a national park in 1988. It is also a popular tourist destination and is situated 32 kilometres (20 mi) from Nuwara Eliya and 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from Ohiya.
The Horton Plains are the headwaters of three major Sri Lankan rivers, the Mahaweli, Kelani, and Walawe. In Sinhala the plains are known as Maha Eliya Plains. Stone tools dating back to Balangoda culture have been found here. The plains' vegetation is grasslands interspersed with montane forest, and includes many endemic woody plants. Large herds of Sri Lankan sambar deer feature as typical mammals, and the park is also an Important Bird Area with many species not only endemic to Sri Lanka but restricted to the Horton Plains. Forest dieback is one of the major threats to the park and some studies suggest that it is caused by a natural phenomenon.
Bundala National Park is globally important wintering ground for migratory water birds in Sri Lanka. Bundalaharbours 197 species of Birds, the highlight being the Greater Flamingo, which migrate in large flocks. In 2005 the national park was designated as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, the fourth biosphere reserve in Sri Lanka.
The area was declared a wildlife sanctuary on 5th December 1969, and was upgraded to a national park on 4th January 1993 with a land area of 6,216 hectares. However, the park was re-gazetted in 2004 and the original park was reduced to 3,698 hectares. In 1991, Bundala became the first site in Sri Lanka to be designated a Ramsar wetland. In 2005, Bundala was declared a Man and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. In January 2006, an area adjacent to Bundala covering an area of 3,339.38 hectares (12.8934 sq mi) was declared as a sanctuary.
The national park contains five shallow, brackish lagoons with salt pans in three. They are Bundala lagoon of 520 hectares, Embilikala lagoon of 430 hectares, Malala lagoon of 650 hectares, Koholankala lagoon of 390 hectares, and Mahalewaya of 260 hectares. The Koholankala and Mahalewaya are almost totally developed for salt production. The climatic conditions are tropical monsoonal, with a mean annual temperature of 27°C. Annual rainfall ranges from 900 to 1,300 millimetres, with dry period persists from May to September. The elevation of the park ranges from sea level to 10 metres. The park was affected by 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. However, due to the protection from sand dunes the park underwent very little damage.
The ecological areas of the national park contain seven terrestrial habitat types and six wetland types. The dry thorny shrubs and herbs being the most abundant plant life. A total of 383 plant species belonging to 90 families have been recorded from the park. "The Phytoplankton in all the lagoons is dominated by blue-green algae". The vegetation mainly consists of Acacia scrubs. Halophyte plants thrive in the national park's environmental conditions. Salicorniabrachiata and Halosarciaindica are examples of salt-tolerant plants. In the small degraded patch of mangrove found at the Bundala lagoon area, Lumnitzeraracemosa trees are widespread.
The Bundala National Park has been identified as an outstanding Important Bird Area in the South Indian and Sri Lankan wetlands. 324 species of vertebrates have been recorded in the national park, which include 32 species of fish, 15 species of amphibians, 48 species of reptiles, 197 species of birds and 32 species of mammals. 52 species of butterflies are among the invertebrates. The wetland habitats in Bundalaharbours about 100 species of water birds, half of them are migrant birds. Of 197 avifaunal species, 58 are migratory species. National Bird Ringing Programme (NBRP) was launched in Bundala in collaboration of the Department of Wildlife Conservation and Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka in 2005.
A few elephants still inhabit the forests of Bundala. Other mammals seen in the park are Toque Macaque, Common Languor, Jackal, Leopard, Fishing Cat, Rusty-spotted Cat, Mongoose, Wild boar, Mouse Deer, Indian Muntjac, Spotted Deer, Sambar, Black-naped Hare, Indian Pangolin, and Porcupine.
Bundalaharbours various forms of fish including salt water dispersants. Bundala's fauna includes two endemic species, a toad and a snake. Among reptiles are Mugger crocodile, Estuarine crocodile, Common Monitor, Star Tortoise, Python, rat snake, endemic flying snake, cat snakes and whip snakes. On the adjacent seashore of Bundala is a breeding ground for all five species of globally endangered sea turtles that migrate to Sri Lanka.
Access Route: Colombo via Galle to Hambantota (256 km) or from Colombo via Ratnapura and Embilipitiya, to Hambantota.
Bundala National Park - Tel: 047-448 9070
Opening & Closing Time: 6.00 AM to 6.00 PM (Tickets will not be issued after 5.00 PM)
Gal Oya National Park was established in 1954 and it serves as the main catchment for SenanayakeSamudraya, the largest reservoir in Sri Lanka. SenanayakeSamudraya was built under the Gal Oya Development Project by daming the Gal Oya at Inginiyagala in 1950. An important feature of the Gal Oya National Park is its elephant herd that can be seen throughout the year. Three most important and commonly used herbs of the Ayurveda medicine; Aralu, Bulu and Nelli are amongst the flora of the forest. From 1954 to 1965 the park was administrated by the Gal Oya Development Board until the Department of Wildlife Conservation took over its administration. The National Park is situated 314 kms from Colombo. The protected areas established in 1954 are Gal Oya National Park, SenanayakeSamudraya Sanctuary, Gal Oya Valley North-east Sanctuary, and Gal Oya Valley South-east Sanctuary which accounts for 63,000 hectares of land. Rangers are stationed in four sites: Inginiyagala, Mullegama, Nil Gala and Baduluwela. Additionally in 1974 Buddangala was named a Sanctuary and also designated. Buddangala is a monastery with ruins of a Stupa and other buildings in the nearby Malwatta area.
The vegetation of the forest is of three types; forests, shrubs and grasslands. The national park contains a substantial area of Savannah grasslands called Thalawa in Sinhala and mountainous grasslands called Pathana. Thalawa grassland is dominated by rough grass species, Mana and Iluk. The burnt Thalawa grasslands are known as the Damana grasslands and are used for cattle grazing by villagers. Rare plants of medicinal value are also found in this forest.
Thirty two terrestrial ground mammals have been recorded in the park. The Sri Lankan Elephant, Sri Lankan Axis Deer, Muntjac, Water Buffalo, Sri Lankan Sambar Deer, Sri Lanka Leopard, Toque Monkey and Wild Boar are among them. Included amongst the amphibian species of the park are the Mugger Crocodile and Star Tortoise. More than 150 species of birds have been in Gal Oya. The Lesser Adjutant, Spot-billed Pelican and Red-faced Malkoha are some of the park's resident birds. The Indian Cormorant, Oriental Darter, Grey Heron, and Lesser Whistling Duck are among the common water birds of the Senanayake reservoir. White-bellied Sea Eagle and the Grey-headed Fish Eagle are the notable raptors of the area. Gal Oya National Park's butterfly species include the endemic Lesser Albatross.
Access Route:- Colombo via Ratnapura - Pelmadulla -UdaWalawe - Tanamalwila - Wellawaya - Moneragala -Siyambalanduwa - Inginiyagala - Approximately 300 kms from Colombo.
Gal Oya National Park:- Tel: 063-224 2002
Opening & Closing Time: 7.00 AM - 6.00 PM (Tickets will not be issued after 3.00 PM)
Lahugala-Kitulana National Park is one of the smallest national parks in Sri Lanka. Despite its land area, the park is an important habitat for Sri Lankan Elephant and endemic birds of Sri Lanka. The national park contains the reservoirs of Lahugala, Kitulana and Sengamuwa and ultimately empties to HedaOya River. It was designated as a wildlife sanctuary on July 1st 1966 and then the protected area was upgraded to a national park on October 31st 1980. LahugalaKitulana is situated 318 kms east of Colombo.
The annual rainfall of the area is about 1,650 millimetres. Northeast monsoon continues during the months November to December and the two dry periods last from May to October and January to March. The terrain of the park is flat with occasional rocky outcrops.
Nearby is MagulMahaVihara built for the occasion of the marriage of King Kavantissa to Princess Viharamahadevi. Later the Vihara is believed to be offered to the Sangha community. The national park’s vegetation is classified into Sri Lanka dryzone dry evergreen forests. Dominant grass species Sacciolepisinterrupta is a main food source for elephants.
This national park is used by elephants traditionally as a feeding ground. A herd of 150 is attracted by Sacciolepisinterrupta grass which is common around the Lahugala tank. Endemic Toque Macaque, Tufted Gray Languor, Sloth Bear, Golden Jackal, Rusty-spotted Cat, Fishing Cat, Sri Lanka Leopard, Wild Boar, Indian Muntjac, Sri Lankan Axis Deer, Sri Lankan Sambar Deer, Indian Pangolin and Indian Hare are the other mammals found in the park. Many wetland birds found in LahugalaKitulana include Great White Pelican, Purple Heron,
Painted Stork, Lesser Adjutant, Anas spp., White-bellied Sea Eagle, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Common Kingfisher, Storkbilled Kingfisher, and White-throated Kingfisher. Spot-billed Pelican, Asian Openbill and Woolly-necked Stork are also recorded visiting the wetland. Last recorded sighting of Knobbilled Duck, now thought be extinct in Sri Lanka, occurred here. Red-faced Malkoha and Sri Lanka Spur Fowl are two endemic birds that occur in the park.
The Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society has initiated a project to establish an electric fence to protect four villages near the southern boundary of the park. Poaching, logging, fuel wood collection, grazing are the prominent threats to the park.
Access Routes: Route 1:Ratnapura - Pelmadulla - Udawalawa - Monaragala - Lahugala
Route 2:Colombo - Ratnapura - Balangoda - Haldummulla - Beragala - Koslanda - Wellawaya - Monaragala - Lahugala
Park office at Lahugala and approximately 318 kms
Lahugala National Park:Tel: 063-373 0685
Opening & Closing Time:6.00 AM - 6.00 PM(Tickets will not be issued after 5.00 P.M)
Minneriya National Park is in the midst of three agricultural towns: Habarana, Polonnaruwa and Minneriya. This is a heavenly area for elephantscomming from the neighbouring jungles to enjoy the lush grassfields on the banks of the Minneriya reservoir, especially during the dry season. Reports of elephant sightings range from 100 to a surprising 700. Endemic monkeys as well as many resident and migratory bird species can also be spotted. There are endemic reptiles such as the painted-lip lizard and the other reptiles that dwell here are the saltwater crocodile, the Indian python and the water monitor. The park doesn't offer accommodation but excellent lodging can be secured in the adjacent areas of Sigiriya and Habarana. Minneriya National Park is in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. This became a national park in August 1997, having been declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1938. This was done to protect the catchment of Minneriya tank and the wildlife of the surrounding area and receives an average rainfall of 1,500-2,000 millimetres.
The lowest temperature and the highest of the park are 20.6 oC and 34.5 oC respectively. The national park's faunal species include 24 species of mammals, 160 species of birds, 9 species of amphibians, 25 species of reptiles, 26 species of fish, and 75 species of butterflies. The Minneriya reservoir is an important habitat for large water birds such as Lesser Adjutant, Painted Stork, and Spot-billed Pelican. Minneriya is a dormitory for many resident as well as migrant bird species. Large numbers of elephants are attracted to grass fields on the edges of the reservoir during the dry season and the Minneriya tank contributes to sustain a large herd of elephants. The individual elephants that gather in numbers are around 150-200. Some reports account number of elephants as high as 700. They come from Wasgamuwa National Park and benefit from food and shelter of the park's forest. Tourists visit Minneriya largely because of elephants; especially in dry season from August to December as it is the high season to witness elephants in Minneriya.
Access Route:Colombo - Kurunegala via HabaranaPolonnaruwa Road. The park office and the entrance are located at Ambagaswewa where you can obtain a permit and a guide. The closest town is Polonnaruwa 24 kms away from the park entrance.
Minneriya National Park :Tel: 027-327 9243
Opening & Closing Time:5.30 AM to 6.30 PM (Tickets will not be issued after 5.00 PM)
Udawalawa National Park lies on the boundary of Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces of Sri Lanka. The national park was created to provide a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawa reservoir on the Walawe River, as well as to protect the catchment of the reservoir.
The park is capable of sustaining a large herd of elephants. Udawalawa is an important habitat for Sri Lankan Elephants, which are relatively easy to be seen in the open habitats. Many elephants are attracted to the park because of the Udawalawa reservoir, with a herd of about 250 believed to be permanently resident. The Udawalawa Elephant Transit Home was established in 1995 for the purpose of looking after abandoned elephant calves within the park. A total of nine calves, on two occasions in 1998 and 2000, with another eight calves in 2002, were released in the park when old enough to fend for themselves.
The Rusty-spotted Cat, Fishing Cat and Sri Lankan Leopard are members of the Felidae family present in Udawalawa. The Sri Lankan Sloth Bear is seldom seen because of its rarity. Sri Lankan Sambar Deer, Sri Lankan Axis Deer, Indian Muntjac, Sri Lankan Spotted Chevrotain, Wild Boar and Water Buffalo are among other mammal species. Golden Jackal, Asian Palm Civet, Toque Macaque, Tufted Grey Languor and Indian Hare also inhabit the park. A study conducted in 1989 found that Golden Palm Civets inhabit the Udawalawa Forest. Five species of mice have also been recorded from the park. The endemic Ceylon Spiny Mouse, known from Yala National Park, was recorded in Udawalawa in 1989. Indian Bush Rat and three species of mongooses are also recorded in the national park.
Udawalawa is also a good bird watching site. Endemic species such as Sri Lanka Spur Fowl, Red-faced Malkoha, Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Brown-capped Babbler, and Sri Lanka Jungle Fowl are among of the breeding resident birds. White Wagtail and Black-capped Kingfisher are rare migrants. A variety of water birds visit the reservoir including cormorants, the Spotbilled Pelican, Asian Openbill, Painted Stork, Black-headed Ibis and Eurasian Spoonbill. The open parkland attracts birds of prey such as White-bellied Sea Eagle, Crested Serpent-Eagle, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Booted Eagle, and Changeable Hawkeagle. Land birds are in abundance, and include Indian Roller, Indian Peafowl, Malabar Pied Hornbill and Pied Cuckoo. Painted Storks are among the many water birds that migrate to the park.
Access Route:- Colombo via Ratnapura – Pelmadulla – ColambageAra – Tanamalwila Road – Udawalawa park entrance approximately 165 kms
Udawalawa National Park - Tel: 047-347 5892
Opening & Closing Time: 6.00 AM - 6.00 PM (Tickets will not be issued after 4.30 PM)
Wasgamuwa, another national park in the island plentiful of large herds of elephants, offers ample chances to view Elephants, Leopards, Sloth Bear, Sambhur, Deer, Wild Buffalo, Purple-Faced Leaf Monkey and the nocturnal Slender Loris among other exotic species. Those who are interested in ecotourism can ask for camp sites within the park. Wasgamuwa has the highest biodiversity among the protected areas in Sri Lanka. More than 150 floral species have been recorded from the park. 8 being endemic species. The park is inhabited by a herd of 150 Sri Lankan Elephants and endemic Red-faced Malkoha is a resident bird in this national park. Sri Lanka Jungle fowl is another endemic bird that inhabits the park. There are 17 reptile species recorded in the park out of which 5 species are endemic water monitors, and mugger crocodiles are common in the water bodies of the park.
Wasgamuwa National Park is home to 23 species of mammals. Marsh elephant (ElephasmaximusVil-Aliya) roams in the Mahaweli river area. Both monkeys found in the park are Purple-faced Languor and Toque Macaque endemic to Sri Lanka. While Water Buffalo and Sri Lankan Axis Deer are common to observe, Sri Lanka Leopard and Sloth Bear are rare. Small Golden Palm Civet is another rare endemic mammal.
The number of bird species recorded from the park is 143. This includes 8 endemic species. Lesser Adjutant, Yellow-fronted Barbet and Sri Lanka Spur Fowl are the species that visit the reservoirs and streams of the national park. Peafowl, Painted Stork, Black-headed Ibis and Eurasian Spoonbill are the park’s other aquatic birds. Rare Sri Lanka Frogmouth can be found here. Another rare species, Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, is seen near the Mahaweli River.
Access Route: Turn left at Hasalaka on the Kandy-MahiyanganaRoad and proceed via Wilgamuwa up to Wasgamuwa. Visitors from Matale and Polonnaruwa areas can reach Wasgamuwa via Laggala and Wilgamuwa.
Wasgamuwa National Park Tel: 066-366 9046
MaduruOya National Park which is 58,849 hectares in content is located in the dry zone and 314 kms from Colombo. It is situated by KudaSigiriya, a great eco location yet to be explored. MaduruOya is well known for its elephant habitat. Other than elephants, leopards, sloth bears, Sambhur, spotted and barking deer, wild boar and wild buffalo are also found here. Torque Macaque, Purple-faced leaf monkey and nocturnal slender Loris are also found in the park. Lesser Adjutant, Woolly necked stork, Openbill, painted stork, Racket tailed Drongo, Yellow-fronted barbet, Sri Lanka jungle fowl and spur fowl are among the over 100 species of birds found within the park.
Ruins at Henanigala, Kudawila, Gurukumbura, Uluketangoda, Werapokuna and several other places include ancient Buddhist shrines, Temples, Dagobas, Statues, Devales and Hermitages from different eras in Sri Lankan history. An ancient sluice dating prior to the 6th century BCE was discovered recently on the old breached earthen bund of the MaduruOya. Early Brahminical inscriptions dating from the 3rd century BCE are found at Kandegamakanda.
Maduru Oya can be reached through Matale and Hettipola or from Dehiattakandiya coming from Polonnaruwa or from Mahiyanganaya. MaduruOya is closer to Wasgamuwa National Park. Another route from Colombo (165 miles/265 kms) is via Kurunegala, Dambulla, Habarana, Polonnaruwa and Manampitiya. Main access from the north is from Manampitiya (16 miles/25 kms) located on the Polonnaruwa-Batticaloa highway.
There are two circuit bungalows and one dormitory at the park office in front of MaduruOya reservoir. Ulhitiya campsite is available for nature lovers. There is a well-arranged wildlife museum at the park entrance.
Access Route: The easiest and most practical routefrom Colombo is via Kurunegala, Dambulla, Habarana,Polonnaruwa and Manampitiya - MaduruOya National Park. Approximately 265 Km from Colombo
Maduru Oya National Park 6.00 AM to 6.00 PM (Tickets will not be issued after 5.00 PM)
Opening & Closing Time: 6.00 AM to 6.00 PM (Tickets will not be issued after 5.00 PM)
Kaudulla National Park is located in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. It was designated a national park in 2002 becoming the 15th such area on the island. Along with Minneriya and Girithale, Birdlife International has identified Kaudulla as an important bird area.
Historically Kaudulla was one of the 16 irrigation tanks built by King Mahasen. Following a period of abandonment it was reconstructed in 1959. It now attracts and supports a variety of plant and animal life, including large mammals, fish and reptiles. Many plant and grass species grow well during the rainy season whilst an abundance of food and water, even in the dry period, attracts a large number of herbivorous mammals to the park. The vegetation of the park represents Sri Lanka's dry evergreen forests. Chena cultivation and grasslands surround the tank area.
The faunal species recorded in the park include 24 species of mammals, 25 species of reptiles, 26 species of fish, and 160 species of birds. In the drought period Sri Lankan Elephants move to the Minneriya tank to drink and feed. Around the month of September the elephants move to the Kaudulla tank in search of more water and food. Despite the escalating humanelephant conflict, the number of elephants increased in the dry zone and 211 individuals have been counted in Kaudulla.
Sri Lankan Sambar Deer, Sri Lankan Axis Deer, Chevrotain, Wild Boar, Sri Lankan Leopard, and Sloth Bear are other mammals found in the park. Kaudulla National Park is also one of the sites in which the Gray Slender Loris is reportedly found in Sri Lanka. Following the discovery of a two month old albino Sri Lankan Axis Deer calf abandoned by her mother, it is supposed that Kaudulla is probably the only national park in Sri Lanka to have albino Axis Deer.
Large water birds such as Spot-billed Pelican and Lesser Adjutant visit the Kaudulla tank. Freshwater turtles, Indian Flap-shelled Turtle and Indian Black Turtle are the noteworthy reptiles.
Access Route: Colombo - Warakapola - Kurunegala - Dambulla - Habarana - Minneriya - Kaudulla
Kaudulla National Park:Tel: 027-327 9735
Opening & Closing Time: 6.00 AM to 6.00 PM
(Tickets will not be issued after 5.00 PM)