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Parks

Wasgamuwa National Park

Wasgamuwa National Park is the 5th Largest National Park in Sri Lanka with an expanse of 36,900 hectares. This National Park is situated in the Matale & Polonnaruwa Districts and is 225km away from Colombo. Out of the total land, 40% belongs to Matale district and the rest to Polonnaruwa District. Wasgamuwa National Park is a dry climate forest with a rainfall of 1650mm – 2150mm. April to end October is the dry season and November to end March is the wet season.

Wasgamuwa National Park is bordered by Amban Ganga (River), Mahaweli Ganga, Wasgamuwa Village and Kalu Ganga in North, East, South and West. It was declared as a National Park in 1984.

Tourists can reach Wasgamuwa via Kandy –Mahiyangana main road; take a left turn from Hasalaka town which directs you to the National Park. (45 km from Hasalaka) Wasgamuwa's main attraction is herds of Elephants. According to the census report in 2011 there are 360 Elephants in Wasgamuwa. Out of the 482 bird species reported in Sri Lanka, 143 reported in Wasgamuwa including 9 endemic bird species.

Kumana National Park

Kumana National Park is the sixth largest park in Sri Lanka with a land of 35,664 hectares. This was earlier known as Yala East National Park. This park is situated in the Ampara District of south-east bend of Sri Lanka.

Tourists can reach Kumana National Park (391 km from Colombo) via Colombo –Ampara main road, from Siyambalanduwa junction take the pottuvil road then Panama town.

Kumana National Park is enclosed by Kumbukkan Oya from south and Panama from south east coast.

Kumana National Park is renowned for its 200 hectares of mangrove wetland named "Kumana Villu" within the National Park which is occasionally flood with sea water.

Kumana National Park is very well-known place for bird watching in Sri Lanka. Out of the 482 bird species reported in Sri Lanka, you can spot over 200 species in Kumana.

Wilpattu National Park

Wilpattu National Park (Willu-pattu); Located in the Northwest coast lowland dry zone 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. 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 (Panthera pardus kotiya) population. The Leopard population in Wilpattu is still not yet known.

The Mahavansa records that in 543 BC Prince Vijaya landed at Kudrimalai Point (Horse Point), married Kuweni and founded the Sinhala nation. In 1905 the area was designated a sanctuary and in 1938 it was upgraded to the National Park status.

The Annual Rainfall is about 1000mm and the annual temperature is about 27.2 degrees. Inter-monsoonal rains in March and the northeast monsoon.

There are many types of vegetation to be found in Wilpattu; Littoral vegetation, including Salt grass and low scrub monsoon forest with tall emergents, such as Palu (Manilkara hexandra), and Satin (Chloroxylon swietenia), Milla (Vitex altissima), Weera (Drypetes sepiaria), Ebony (Disopyros ebenum) and Wewarna (Alseodaphne.

Yala National Park

Yala National Park is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. The park consists of five blocks, two of which are now open to the public, and also adjoining parks. The blocks have individual names such as, Ruhuna National Park(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 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.

The area around Yala has hosted several ancient civilisations. Two important pilgrim sites, Sithulpahuwa and Magul Vihara, are situated within the park. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami caused severe damage on the Yala National Park and 250 people died in its vicinity. The number of visitors has been on the rise since 2009 after the security situation in the park improved.

Bundala National Park

Bundala National Park is an internationally important wintering ground for migratory water birds in Sri Lanka. Bundala harbors 197 species of birds, the highlight being the greater flamingo, which migrate in large flocks. Bundala was designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1969 and redesignated to a national park on 4 January 1993. In 1991 Bundala became the first wetland to be declared as a Ramsar site in Sri Lanka. In 2005 the national park was designated as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, the fourth biosphere reserve in Sri Lanka. The national park is situated 245 kilometers (152 mi) southeast of Colombo.

The area was declared a wildlife sanctuary on 5 December 1969 and was upgraded to a national park on 4 January 1993 with land area of 6,216 hectares (24.00 sq. mi). However the park was regazetted in 2004 and the original park was reduced to 3,698 hectares (14.28 sq. mi) 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 the Wilmanna Sanctuary.

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 Bundala harbours about 100 species of water birds, half of them being migrant birds.

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