National Parks

Yala National Park

Yala National Park is the most visited and 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 Southern Province and Uva Province. The park covers 979 square kilometres (378 sq mi) and is located about 300 kilometres (190 mi) from Colombo. Yala was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900, and, along with Wilpattu it was one of the first two national parks in Sri Lanka, having been designated in 1938. The park is best known for its variety of wild animals. It is important for the conservation of Sri Lankan Elephants and aquatic birds. 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. Yala harbours 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.

Around 20km southeast ofTissamaharama lies the entrance to Yala national park (properly known as Yala West or Ruhunu national park), bri Lankas most visited wildlife reserve. Yala covers an area of 1260 square kilometres, although four-fifths of this is designated a Strict Natural Reserve and closed to visitors. On the far side of the Strict Natural Reserve is Yala East national park, which is currently only accessible via Arugam Bay.There's no public transport to Yala West, and you're only allowed into the park in a vehi­cle, so you'll have to hire a jeep.



Pigeon Island National Park - Nilaveli - Trincomalee

Pigeon Island National Park is one of the two marine national parks of Sri Lanka. The national park is situated 1 km off the coast of Nilaveli, a coastal town in Eastern Province, encompassing a total area of 471.429 hectares. The island's name derives from the Rock Pigeon which has colonized it. The national park contains some of the best remaining coral reefs of Sri Lanka. Pigeon Island was designated as a sanctuary in 1963. In 2003 it was redesignated as a national park. This national park is the 17th in Sri Lanka. The island was used as a shooting range during the colonial era. Pigeon Island is one of the several protected areas affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.


Wilpattu natiional Parks

Wilpattu National Park (Willu-pattu; Land of Lakes) is a park located on the island of Sri Lanka. The unique feature of this park is the existence of "Willus" (Natural lakes) - Natural, sand-rimmed water basins or depressions that fill with rainwater. Located in the Northwest coast lowland dry zone of Sri Lanka. The park is located 30 km west Anuradhapura and located 26 km north of Puttalam (approximately 180 km north of Colombo). The park is 131, 693 hectares and ranges from 0 to 152 meters above sea level. Nearly sixty lakes (Willu) and tanks are found spread throughout Wilpattu. 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. The Leopard population in Wilpattu is still not yet known.

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Photos of Minneriya National Park

Situated at the center of the Cultural Triangle, Minneriya is a good alternative to the busier parks in the south and it's easy to weave in a day here between visiting the ancient cities. The dry season, from June to September, is the best time to visit the 8,890 hectare park when the ancient tank that dominates the area dries out and the grasses and shoots push through. During this time it is possible to see herds of up to 150 elephants feeding and washing, as well as toque macaques, sambar deer and leopards. The hungry bird flocks include cormorants and painted storks. Minneriya, closest by car to the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, was upgraded from a Nature Reserve to a National Park because of the increased number of tourists coming to see the elephants.

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Horton Plains National park

Perched on the very edge of the hill country midway between Nuwara Eliya and Haputale, Horton Plains National Park covers a wild stretch of bleak, high-altitude moorland bounded at its southern edge by the dramatically plunging cliffs that mark the edge of the hill country including the famous World's End, where the escarpment falls sheer for the best part of a kilometer to the lowlands below. Set at an elevation of over two thousand meters, Horton Plains are a world apart from the rest of Sri Lanka: a misty and rain swept landscape dotted with beautiful patches of pristine cloud forest, whose characteristic umbrella-shaped keena trees, covered in a fine cobweb of old man's beard, turn from green to red to orange as the seasons progress. The cool, wet climate has fostered the growth of a distinctive range of flora, including various rhododendrons, bamboos, tree ferns and many endemic species of plant, making the Plains an area of great biological value and fragility, though the stands of cloud forest are now receding, possibly because of acid rain generated by motor traffic across the island.

The Plains’ wildlife attractions are relatively modest. Herds of elephants formerly roamed the area, until they were all shot by colonial hunters, and though few leopards still visit the park, you'll have to be incredibly lucky to see one.The park's most visible residents are its herds of sambar deer, which can often be seen handing companionably around the entrance office waiting for handouts, while you milht see rare bear-faced (also known as purple-faced) monkeys. The P ams are also one of the best places in the island for bird watching, and an excelent place to see montage endemics such as the dull-blue flycatcher Sri Lanka bush warbler Sri Lanka whistling thrush and the pretty yellow-eared bulbul, as well as striking orange minivets.You'll probably also see beautiful lizards, some of them boasting outlandishly fluorescent gree scales, through their numbers are declininig as the result of depredations by crows, attracted to the park by litter left by loutish visitors.

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