The park is best known for its variety of wild animals. Most
notably many elephants and Leopards. Yala has been the centre
stage for many Wildlife documentaries produced by popular
TV networks. Yala boasts the highest population of Leopards
in the world.
Yala National Park is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. Actually it consists of five blocks, two of which are now open to the public; and also adjoining parks. The blocks have individual names also, like Ruhuna National Park for the (best known) 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 Provinceand 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 it 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.
Wilpattu National Park (Willu-pattu; Land of Lakes) is a park located on the island 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.
Located in the Northwest coast lowland dry zone of Sri Lanka. 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 not known. From December 1988 to March 16, 2003, the park was closed due to Security Concerns the Country was facing. After nearly 16 years, it was reopened to visitors.
Visitors can currently only tour some 25% (75% of the park is dense forest or scrub) of the park. The best time to visit Wilpattu is during the months of February and October. There are a few private eco-tourism groups that show tourists around the park in Safari like trips.
Minneriya National Park is a national park in North Central Province of Sri Lanka. The area was designated as a national park on 12 August 1997, having been originally declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1938.
The reason for declaring the area as protected is to protect the catchment of Minneriya tank and the wildlife of the surrounding area. The tank is of historical importance, having been built by King Mahasen in third century AD. The park is a dry season feeding ground for the elephant population dwelling in forests of Matale, Polonnaruwa, and Trincomalee districts.
The park earned revenue of Rs. 10.7 millions in the six months ending in August 2009. Along with Kaudulla and Girithale, Minneriya forms one of the 70 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) of Sri Lanka. The park is situated 182 kilometres (113 mi) from Colombo. Large numbers of Sri Lankan elephants are attracted to grass fields on the edges of the reservoir during the dry season. The Minneriya tank contributes to sustain a large herd of elephants.
Individuals of elephants gathered here is numbering around 150-200. Some reports account number of elephants to as high as 700. They migrate here from Wasgamuwa National Park and benefited from food and shelter of the park's forest. Tourists visit Minneriya largely because of elephants, especially in dry season.
Kumana National Park in Sri Lanka is renowned for its avifauna, particularly its large flocks of migratory waterfowl and wading birds. The park is 391 kilometres (243 mi) southeast of Colombo on Sri Lanka's southeastern coast. Kumana is contiguous with Yala National Park. Kumana was formerly known as Yala East National Park, but changed to its present name in 5 September 2006.
Kumana Bird Sanctuary, declared in 1938, is included within the Kumana National Park. Kumana is one of the most important bird nesting and breeding grounds in Sri Lanka. 255 species of birds have been recorded in the national park. From April to July tens of thousands of birds migrate to the Kumana swamp area.
Rare species such as black-necked stork, lesser adjutant, Eurasian spoonbill, and great thick-knee are breeding inhabitants. Waders belonging to families Scolopacidae and Charadriidae are among the visitors to the area along with waterfowl. Pintail snipes migrate here flying 9,000 kilometres (5,600 mi) to 11,000 kilometres (6,800 mi) from Siberia. Asian openbill, glossy ibis, purple heron, great egret, Indian pond heron, black-crowned night heron, intermediate egret, little egret, spot-billed pelican, Indian cormorant, little cormorant, common moorhen, watercock, purple swamphen, white-breasted waterhen, pheasant-tailed jacana, black-winged stilt, lesser whistling duck and little grebe are the bird species migrate here in large flocks.
Among the rare birds that migrate to the swap are the yellow-footed green pigeon, greater racket-tailed drongo, Malabar trogon, red-faced malkoha, and sirkeer malkoha.
Pacific golden plover, greater sand plover, lesser sand plover, grey plover, ruddy turnstone, little ringed plover, wood sandpiper, marsh sandpiper, common redshank, common sandpiper, curlew sandpiper, little stint, common snipe, and pintail snipe are the common wading birds of the park.