|Yala National Wildlife Park,
one of Sri Lanka 's premier eco tourism destinations, lies 24km
Tissamaharama and 290km from Colombo on the southeast coast
of Sri Lanka, spanning a vast 97,878 hectares over the Southern and Uva
The vegetation in the park comprises predominantly of
semi-arid thorny scrub, interspersed with pockets of fairly dense
secondary forest. Small patches of mangrove vegetation also occur along
the coastal lagoons. The park is renowned for the variety of its
Wildlife (most notably its many elephants) and its fine coastline (with
associated coral reefs). It also boasts a large number of important
cultural ruins, bearing testimony to earlier civilizations and
indicating that much of the area used to be populated and well
History and the Description of the Yala National Park
is among the oldest and best known of Sri Lanka 's National Parks. Yala
covers about 1297 sqkm or 129,700 ha. And it is the largest
agglomeration of protected areas in the country. The multifarious
ecosystems ranging from Msoist Monsoon Forest , to Dry Monsoon Forests,
Semi Deciduous Forests, Thorn forests, Grasslands, fresh water &
marine wetlands, and sandy beaches, possesses a large number of
important plant species and smaller animals.
Oya in the North East and Menik Ganga and tributaries on the West, flow
through the Park providing a source of water to the animals even during
the driest months of the year.
plays a very significant role in conservation of a large number of flora
and fauna in the country. Historical and religious sites such as
Kataragama, Sithulpahuwa and Magul Maha Vihara and many archaeologically
important places add additional significance to the area.
West (Ruhuna) National Park is well recognized as one of the best parks
in the world to observe and photograph leopards. The park covers an area
of over 100,000 hectares and is divided into five blocks.
There is also a substantial elephant population along with Spotted deer, Sambar, Wild buffalo, Sloth bear, Jackal, Mongoose, Pangolins and Crocodiles. The bird life comprises over 120 species, and ranges from Lesser Flamingos to Paradise Flycatchers, Crested Hawk Eagles, and Black Bitterns. Outside of the park are several other fascinating birding locations, including the ancient hermitage of Sithulpahuwa, Debarawewa wetland and Palatupana saltpans. The coastline forms a major nesting ground for marine turtles. The drier season falls between May and August and the park closes for a short time during September and October.