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Wild Life Sanctuaries and National Parks – Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has some of the most richest wildlife sanctuaries and national parks that offers the opportunity to its visitors to indulge in the most thrilling safari experiences. Sri Lanka safari is all about exploring the untamed side of life in the country. Dominated by the population of elephants, leopards, deer, boars and flamingos, there wildlife in Sri Lanka will surprise at every turn during your safari.

Yala National Park

Yala National Park is located in the south eastern region of Sri Lanka and extends over two provinces of Hambantota district of southern province and Monaragala district in Uva province. The entrance to the park is at Palatupana, 12km from Kirinda. The distance from Colombo to the entry point of Palatupana is 305 km.

Wild Life

Yala National Park consists of a diversified range of wildlife which includes mammals, reptiles, birds, insects etc. The park is home to 44 varieties of mammals and 215 species of birds. Among all of the animals residing at Yala National Park the most popular ones are the leopards, elephants, jackals, spotted deer, sloth bears, crocodiles and peacocks.

There are also quite a few endangered species of animals at the Yala National Park.

  • Sloth bear
  • Leopard
  • Elephant
  • Water buffalo
  • Wild boar
  • Spotted deer
  • Sambar
  • Golden jackal

Leopards at Yala National Park

Sri Lankan leopards (Panthera Pardus Kotiya) are said to be a distinct sub-species from their Indian neighbors. Leopards can be seen throughout the park, though best period for enjoying the sights of leopards is during January to July.

Elephants at Yala National Park

Nearby Lunugamvehera National Park serves as a corridor between Yala and Uda Walwe National Park. Yala is home to considerable population of elephants which varies seasonally. Dry season of May to August is the best period to see elephants.

Bird Life at Yala National Park

Yala National Park is rich in birdlife and around 130 species have been recorded.Raptors include crested serpent eagle and white bellied sea eagle. Among the water birds attracted to the lagoons are Lesser Flamingo, Pelicon, Spoonbill, painted stork, rare black necked Stork, grey heron, purple heron, night heron and Darter.

Reptiles at Yala National Park

Notable reptiles are Mugger Crocodile, which is abundant in the abandoned tanks, Estuarine Crocodile, found in the main rivers, and Common monitor. Other reptiles include Cobra and Russel’s Viper. A variety of Sea Turtle, Olive Ridley and Leatherback, of which Yala coast line is a major nesting ground.

Clicks from Yala National Park


Udawalawe National Park

Udawalawe National Park lies on the boundary of Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces, in Sri Lanka. The national park was created to provide a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe Reservoir on the Walawe River, as well as to protect the catchment of the reservoir.

Wild Life

Udawalawe is an important habitat for Sri Lankan elephants, which are relatively hard to see in its open habitats. Many elephants are attracted to the park because of the Udawalawe reservoir.

There are also quite a few endangered species of animals at the Yala National Park.

  • Rusty-spotted cat
  • Fishing Cat
  • Sri lankan Leopard
  • Sloth Bear
  • Sri lankan Axis Deer
  • Indian muntjac
  • Sri Lankan Chevrotain
  • Wild Boar
  • Water Buffalo
  • Golden jackal

Birds Life

Udawalawe is also a good birdwatching site.Endemics such as

  • Sri Lanka Spurfowl
  • Red-faced Malkoha
  • Sri Lanka grey hornbill
  • Brown-capped Babbler
  • Sri Lanka Junglefowl

White Wagatail and Black Capped Kingfisher are rare migrants

Also,The open parkland attracts birds of prey such as white-bellied sea eagle, crested serpent-eagle, grey-headed fish eagle, booted eagle, and changeable hawk-eagle. Landbirds are in abundance, and include Indian roller, Indian peafowl, Malabar pied hornbill and pied cuckoo.

Reptiles and Fish

  • Oriental garden lizards
  • Painted-lip lizards
  • Mugger Crocodiles
  • Asian water monitors
  • Giant Gourami
  • Catla
  • Rohu

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