Wasgamuwa National Wildlife Park
located in the districts of Matale and Polonnaruwa and bordered by the 'Mahaweli' and 'Amban' rivers, stretches
an impressive 36,948 hectares. It was declared a National park in 1984, making it the only one in the Central Province. Home to a huge variety of flora and fauna (23 species of mammal - including elephants and bears, 143 birds, 8 amphibians, 17 fresh water fishes, 17 reptiles, 50 butterflies and 150 plants), this park is truly a paradise for the nature lover. With many small scale ancient tanks and several other ruins and ancient religious sites the park also has significant historical importance. For keen hikers, it is also home to the 'Sudu Kanda' mountain range (about 470m above sea level).
temperature in the National Park situated so close to 6 N, remains high
and relatively uniform throughout the year, that is extreme
fluctuations of temperature do not occur within the National Park or its
surroundings. The annual average temperature is about 29 C.
History and the Description of the Wasgamuwa 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.