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Wildlife & Bird Sanctuaries

The Island nation of Sri Lanka is blessed with an abundant and myriad range of fauna which is supported by its great diversity in habitats. Sri Lanka has an excellent system of well-managed national parks and reserves where game viewing is arguably second only to Africa. With over 200 mammal species on thie island there in no doubt the big three are the Leopard, Elephants & Sloth Bear. It is also a birdwatchers paradise with 443 recorded species of which 33 are endemic to Sri Lanka ( the Serendib Scops Owl was discovered as recently as 2001) For the butterfly enthusiast there are over 250 species of butterflies of which 20 are endemic to the island. 

Yala National Park: Is the premier destination for Leopard in the world. It is also arguable that Sri Lanka is one of the best destinations in the world to view the Asian Elephant. Of particular note is the spectacular wildlife event known as the “Gathering” where between August and September each year herds of up to three hundred elephants gather on the shores of the Minneriya tank. 

  • Yala National Park:

The premier park in Sri Lanka is Yala. It is situated in the Southern coast of Sri Lanka. This 126,786 hectare park is without question one of the best parks in the world to see the Panthera pardus Kotiya the sub species of Leopard that is unique to Sri Lanka. The park is also teeming with Sri Lanka’s other major species being the Sloth Bear, Elephants, Water Buffalo, Spotted Deer and Sambhur deer, and estuarine Crocodiles. 

  • Bundala National Park

Situated on the south coast of Sri Lanka, Bundala’s 62 square kilometres is a small but an important wetland sanctuary, home to over 150 types of birds. Migratory species from Siberia and the Rann of Kutch of India, winter at this park. The scrub forest, lagoons and beaches that make up Bundala are also home to elephant, crocodile and are the breeding ground for five species of marine turtles. Leatherback, Loggerhead, Olive, Ridley and Green turtles lay their eggs on this coast between October and January of each year. 

  • Wilpattu National Park

Situated 176 km. north of Colombo, Wilpattu is approximately 1,908 square kilometres in extent. It has a dense jungle cover which makes it a more exciting park where animals have to be tracked. There are numerous delightful little lakes - known as villus - and the leopard and sloth bear are the specialty rather than elephants. 

  • Wasgamuwa National Park

Lies within the Polonnaruwa and Matale Districts and the natural boundaries of the Mahaweli and Amban rivers as its eastern and western boundaries. Tropical, intermediate dry, mixed evergreen forest dominates this 37,000-hectare park, with many varieties of animals like wild elephants, deer, sloth bear, monkey, wild boar and crocodile. 

  • Uda Walawe National Park

Is situated 170 Km South East of Colombo. This National Park is approximately 30,821 hectares in extent. This Park is comprised primarily of grasslands and thorn shrubs and many valuable species of trees are found within it. The park is home to nearly 400 elephants. Deer species such as Spotted Deer, Sambhur, Barking deer and Langur, Wild Boar, Water Buffalo, & Jackal are some of the prominent wild animals found in this Park. 

  • Gal Oya National Park

Located in the Eastern Province is a pristine wilderness area renowned for its untamed beauty and diverse ecosystems. Established in 1954, it stands as the country's oldest wildlife sanctuary, encompassing a vast expanse of lush landscapes, dense forests, and the expansive Senanayake Samudraya reservoir witness the spectacle of wild elephants swimming between islands in the reservoir. This unique behaviour sets Gal Oya apart,

  • Minneriya National Park

Approximately 8900 hectares in extent is in the Central North region of the country. This is one of the newest parks in Sri Lanka with a resident wild elephant population of nearly 200. Forest with a high canopy provides ideal habitat conditions for purple-faced leaf monkeys and toque monkeys. 

The wildlife spectacle known as the ‘Gathering’ occurs in Minneriya between the months of August and September each year this spectacular wildlife event sees herds of elephants gather at the tank creating a super herd of up to 300 elephants. 

  • Horton Plains National Park

The only National Park situated in the Hill Country. This silent and mysterious wilderness is situated at 2000m above sea level. The park is an undulating plateau covered by wild grasslands and interspersed with thickets of cloud forest. Vehicles are not allowed in the park and visitors are invited to trek this wilderness, the most popular circuit takes visitors to the ‘World End ‘lookout, a stunning escarpment where the plains end in a sheer cliff face that drops 880 meters. The park is home to many important animal species including the sambhur, leopard, and the endemic purple monkey.

  • Sinharaja Rainforest

Sinharaja Rainforest is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Sri Lanka, renowned for its incredible biodiversity and pristine natural beauty. As one of the last remaining expanses of tropical rainforest in the country. Trekking through its dense canopy is a must for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts over 50% of Sri Lanka's endemic species of mammals, butterflies, birds, and insects are found here.

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