Minneriya National Wildlife Park : Located between Habarana and POLONNARUWA, the 8890 hectares of
Minneriya National Wildlife Park is an ideal eco tourism location in Sri Lanka .
The park consists of
mixed evergreen forest and scrub areas and is home to Sri Lanka 's
favourites such as sambar deer, leopards and elephants.
central feature of the park is the ancient Minneriya Tank (built in
3rdcentury AD by King Mahasena). During the dry season (June to
September), this tank is an incredible place to observe the elephants
who come to bathe and graze on the grasses as well as the huge flocks of
birds (cormorants and painted storks to name but a few) that come to
fish in the shallow waters.
History and the Description of the Minnariya National Park:
Long before wildlife conservation became fashionable, Sri Lanka already had areas of jungle marked out for conservation. One such case is that of the Wasgomuwa National Park , a portion of which was declared a Strict Nature Reserve as early as 1938.
Life here, of course, is abundant, a testimonial to the success of Sri Lanka 's early conservation efforts. Fifty or so species of butterflies (nine of which are endemic) sprinkle the park with a splash of welcome color just when you think your eyes are dying of dullness from the browns and grays of all those large mammals, which drink from every stream and river the veritable White Mountain feeds.
If you try looking into these rivers and streams, you might catch a glimpse of the Stone Sucker or Combtail, two of the 17 species of fish swimming in them.
Watch out for Water Monitors and crocodiles while looking for fish though, and try not to run afoul of these not-too-friendly reptiles. While some would say that all reptiles are hideous, the more adorable ones include the endangered skink and the Dangaradanda as well as the Red Lipped Lizard and - with a name implying that normal people actually notice the ears of lizards - the Earless Lizard.