Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ecotourism - Sri Lanka

Wilpattu National Park - Sri Lanka

Wilpattu is the one of the oldest and largest national parks in Sri Lanka. It is situated within the North Central Province and the North Western Province. It is 131,696 hectares in extent and was named as a wildlife sanctuary in 1905. Park is 26 Kmtrs. of Puttalam spanning from the northwest coast inland towards the ancient capital of Anuradhapura. The park was declared a prohibited area for tourists in 1985. But in 2003 it was reopened to the visitors. Willpattu can be reached from Chilaw going north along west coast from Colombo or coming from Anuradhapura.

Wilpattu is a fairly thick dry zone jungle interspersed with a number of flood plain lakes banked with delicate white sands. It boasts an impressive variety of flora in huge expanses of forest, and varied wildlife, including deer, elephants, wild boar, sloth bears and leopards. The unique feature of this park is the existence of “Willus” (Natural lakes).

Elephants, leopards, sloth bear, water buffalo and spotted deer are among the large mammals. Coastal belt and willus support abundant birdlife such as painted storks, white ibis, open bills, Whistling teals, spoonbills, cormorants and kingfishers. Apart from them serpent eagles, great racket tail Drongo, Malabar pied hornbills, crested hawk eagles & Sri Lanka jungle fowls are commonly seen. Both water monitors and mugger crocodiles can be seen in the willus.

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