Wilpattu National Park

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Wilpattu National Park
WilpattuNationalPark-April2014 (3).JPG
One of the many trails within the park
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Wilpattu National Park
Location North Western and North Central provinces, Sri Lanka
Nearest city Mannar
Coordinates 8°26′N80°00′E / 8.433°N 80.000°E / 8.433; 80.000 Coordinates: 8°26′N80°00′E / 8.433°N 80.000°E / 8.433; 80.000
Established1905 (Wildlife sanctuary)
25 December 1938 (National park)
Governing body Department of Wildlife Conservation
Official nameWilpattu Ramsar Wetland Cluster
Designated2 February 2013
Reference no.2095 [1]

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 on the northwest coast lowland dry zone of Sri Lanka. The park is located 30 km (19 mi) west Anuradhapura and 26 km (16 mi) north of Puttalam (approximately 180 km (110 mi) north of Colombo). The park is 1,317 km2 (508 sq mi) (131, 693 hectares) and ranges from 0–152 m (0–499 ft) above sea level. Nearly one hundred and six 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. A remote camera survey was conducted in Wilpattu from July to October 2015 by the Wilderness and Wildlife Conservation Trust. A sample of forty nine individual leopards were photo-captured in the surveyed area and the core area density was between that of Yala National Park's Block I and Horton Plains National Park. [2]


From December 1988 to 16 March 2003, the park was closed due to security concerns surrounding the Sri Lankan Civil War, before being reopened to visitors sixteen years later. Visitor access is currently limited to approximately 25% of the park, the remainder of which is dense forest or scrub. Popular visiting periods spans between the months of February and October, although there are a number of private eco-tourism groups that conducts safaris year round.


The Mahavansa records that in 543 BC Prince Vijaya landed at Tambapanni now known as Kudrimalai Point (Horse Point), established the Sinhalese kingdom in Tambapanni and founded the Sinhala nation. In 1905 the area was designated a sanctuary and in 1938 it was upgraded to the National Park status.'

Kudrimalai, or Horse Point, was visited by a subject of Emperor Claudius in 47 AD, who was blown off course by the monsoon. The local king later sent his own envoys to Rome during the time of Pliny. [3]


Marshy vegetation. WilpattuNationalPark-April2014 (8).JPG
Marshy vegetation.

The annual Rainfall is about 1,000 mm (39 in) and the annual temperature is about 27.2 °C (81.0 °F). Inter-monsoonal rains in March and the northeast monsoon (December – February) are the main sources of rainfall.

Flora and fauna

There are many types of vegetation to be found in Wilpattu, including littoral vegetation, such as salt grass and low scrub monsoon forest with tall emergents, such as palu ( Manilkara hexandra ), and satin ( Chloroxylon swietenia ), milla ( Vitex altissima ), weera (Drypetes sepiaria), ebony ( Diospyros ebenum ) and wewarna ( Alseodaphne semecapriflolia).

31 species of mammals have been identified within Wilpattu national park. Mammals that are identified as threatened species living within the Wilpattu National Park are the elephant (Elephas maximus maximus), sloth bear (Melursus ursinus inornatus), leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) and water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis). sambhur (Rusa unicolor unicolor), spotted deer (Axis axis ceylonensis), mongoose, mouse and shrew are more of Wilpattu's residents.


The painted stork, the open bill, little cormorant, Sri Lankan junglefowl (Gallus lafayetii) along with many species of owls, terns, gulls, eagles, kites buzzards are to be found at Wilpattu National Park. Wetland bird species that can be seen in Wilpattu are the garganey (Anas querquedula), pintail ( Anas acuta ), whistling teal ( Dendrocygna javanica ), spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia), black-headed ibis (Threskiornis malanocephalus), large white egret (Egretta alba modesta), cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) and purple heron (Ardea purpurea).


The most common reptiles found in the park are the monitor lizard ( Varanus bengalensis ), mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris), common cobra ( Naja naja ), rat snake ( Ptyas mucosus ), Indian python ( Python molurus ), pond turtle (Melanonchelys trijuga) and the soft shelled turtle (Lissemys punctata) which are resident in the large permanent Villus.

Expansion of the boundary

The boundary of the Wilpattu national park originally enclosed the Puttalam District in the south and Anuradhapura District in the east. [4] [5] [6] [7] On october 10, 2012, the government published several gazettes (section 3 of the forest conservation ordinance, chapter 451) which effectively extended the park's boundary to include regions of the northern province. [8] [9]


After the end of the civil war, allegations had been made that parts of the reserve has been occupied to build houses by certain politicians in an attempt to create Muslim colonies in Wilpattu. [10] Commerce and Trade Minister Rishad Bathiudeen contends that it was the people who had been forcibly driven away by the LTTE in 1990 in accordance to their ethnic cleansing policy who had returned to their original villages. Further to this the park was extended to the current size in 1999 after the ethnic cleansing where the old villages were marked as part of the park as claimed by the people in this area. [11] [12] Aerial images taken recently does show that a considerable portion of the forest has been opened up and a large number of small houses being built in the area. [13] Now the deforestation has been successfully done by Minister Rishad Bathiudeen's guidance and orders.

Photographs of animals taken within the national park.



Terrestrial animals

Related Research Articles

A black panther is the melanistic colour variant of the leopard and the jaguar. Black panthers of both species have excess black pigments, but their typical rosettes are also present. They have been documented mostly in tropical forests, with black leopards in Kenya, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia and Java, and black jaguars in Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica and Paraguay. Melanism is caused by a recessive allele in the leopard, and by a dominant allele in the jaguar.

Yala National Park

Yala (යාල) National Park is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka, bordering the Indian Ocean. The park consists of five blocks, two of which are now open to the public, and also adjoining parks. The blocks have individual names such as, Ruhuna National Park, 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 Province and 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 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, Sri Lankan leopards and aquatic birds.

Udawalawe National Park

Udawalawe National Park lies on the boundary of Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces, in Sri Lanka. The national park was created to provide a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe Reservoir on the Walawe River, as well as to protect the catchment of the reservoir. The reserve covers 30,821 hectares (119.00 sq mi) of land area and was established on 30 June 1972. Before the designation of the national park, the area was used for shifting cultivation. The farmers were gradually removed once the national park was declared. The park is 165 kilometres (103 mi) from Colombo. Udawalawe is an important habitat for water birds and Sri Lankan elephants. It is a popular tourist destination and the third most visited park in the country.

Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a forest reserve and a biodiversity hotspot in Sri Lanka. It is of international significance and has been designated a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Puttalam Town in North Western, Sri Lanka

Puttalam is the largest town in Puttalam District, North Western Province, Sri Lanka. Puttalam is the administrative capital of the Puttalam District and governed by an Urban Council. Situated 130 kilometres (81 mi) north of Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka and 95 kilometres (59 mi) north of Negombo. Puttalam is known for energy production, salt, coconut production and fishing. It has one of the largest lagoons in the country. Puttalam is popularly known for kind and hospitality people. It has many virgin tourist destination such as Wilpattu National Park, Kalpitiya, and virgin beaches, natural resources, Dolphin watch, carol watch and sand dunes etc. Puttalam town is near to Anamaduwa.

Wildlife of Kerala

Most of Kerala, whose native habitat consists of wet evergreen rainforests at lower elevations and highland deciduous and semi-evergreen forests in the east, is subject to a humid tropical climate. However, significant variations in terrain and elevation have resulted in a land whose biodiversity registers as among the world’s most significant.But the district Alappuzha situated in Kerala is the only district of Kerala which have 0% forest area.

Sri Lankan leopard Leopard subspecies

The Sri Lankan leopard is a leopard subspecies endemic to Sri Lanka. It was first described in 1956 by the Sri Lankan zoologist Paules Edward Pieris Deraniyagala.

Nandankanan Zoological Park Zoo and botanical garden in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

Nandankanan Zoological Park is a 437-hectare (1,080-acre) zoo and botanical garden in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India. Established in 1960, it was opened to the public in 1979 and became the first zoo in India to join World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) in 2009. It also contains a botanical garden and part of it has been declared a sanctuary. Nandankanan, literally meaning The Garden of Heaven, is located near the capital city, Bhubaneswar, in the environs of the Chandaka forest, and includes the 134-acre (54 ha) Kanjia lake.

Anuradhapura massacre

The Anuradhapura massacre occurred in Sri Lanka in 1985 and was carried out by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. This was the largest massacre of Sinhalese civilians by the LTTE to date; it was also the first major operation carried out by the LTTE outside a Tamil majority area. Initially, EROS claimed responsibility for the massacre, but it later retracted the statement, and joined the PLOTE in denouncing the incident. The groups later accused the LTTE for the attack. Since then, no Tamil militant group has admitted to committing the massacre. However, state intelligence discovered that the operation was ordered by the LTTE Mannar commander Marcelin Fuselus and executed by his subordinate Anthony Kaththiar. The attack was allegedly sparked by the 1985 Valvettiturai massacre, where the Sri Lanka Army massacred 70 Tamil civilians in the LTTE's leader hometown.

Javan leopard Leopard in Java

The Javan leopard is a leopard subspecies confined to the Indonesian island of Java. It has been listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List since 2008. The population is estimated at less than 250 mature individuals, with a decreasing population trend. The total remaining habitat is estimated at only 2,267.9 to 3,277.3 km2.

Bundala National Park

Bundala National Park is an internationally important wintering ground for migratory water birds in Sri Lanka. Bundala harbors 197 species of birds, the highlight being the greater flamingo, which migrate in large flocks. Bundala was designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1969 and redesignated to a national park on 4 January 1993. In 1991 Bundala became the first wetland to be declared as a Ramsar site in Sri Lanka. In 2005 the national park was designated as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, the fourth biosphere reserve in Sri Lanka. The national park is situated 245 kilometres (152 mi) southeast of Colombo.

Rishad Bathiudeen Sri Lankan politician

Rishad Bathiudeen is a Sri Lankan former parliamentarian and cabinet minister. He is the Leader of the All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) Party, a registered political party in Sri Lanka. Bathiudeen was elected as a Member of Parliament (MP) from the Vanni Electoral District in December 2001 and was re-elected in April 2004, after which he was again re-elected in April 2010 and 2015 June from the same Electoral District which comprises Vavuniya, Mannar and Mullathivu Administrative Districts. Rishad Bathiudeen holds a National Diploma in Technology (NDT) in Civil Engineering from the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka and is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Engineering (C.I.E.) in the UK.

Somawathiya National Park

Somawathiya National Park is one of the four national parks designated under the Mahaweli River development project. Somawathiya Chaitya, a stupa said to be containing a relic of the tooth of the Buddha, is situated within the park. The park was created on 2 September 1986, having been originally designated a wildlife sanctuary on 9 August 1966. The park is home to many megaherbivores. The national park is located 266 kilometres (165 mi) north-east of Colombo.

Flood Plains National Park

Flood Plains National Park is one of the four national parks set aside under the Mahaweli River development project in Sri Lanka. The park was created on 7 August 1984. The national park is situated along the Mahaweli flood plain and is considered a rich feeding ground for elephants. Flood Plains National Park is considered an elephant corridor for the elephants migrate between Wasgamuwa and Somawathiya national parks. The park is situated 222 kilometres (138 mi) north-east of Colombo.

Maduru Oya National Park

Maduru Oya National Park is a national park of Sri Lanka, established under the Mahaweli development project and also acts as a catchment of the Maduru Oya Reservoir. The park was designated on 9 November 1983. Providing a sanctuary to wildlife, especially for elephants and protecting the immediate catchments of five reservoirs are the importance of the park. A community of Vedda people, the indigenous ethnic group of Sri Lanka lives within the park boundary in Henanigala. The park is situated 288 kilometres (179 mi) north-east of Colombo.

Leopard attack

Leopard attacks are attacks inflicted upon humans, other leopards and other animals by the leopard. The frequency of leopard attacks on humans varies by geographical region and historical period. Despite the leopard's extensive range from sub-Saharan Africa to Southeast Asia, attacks are regularly reported only in India and Nepal. Among the five "big cats", leopards are less likely to become man-eaters—only jaguars and snow leopards have a less fearsome reputation. However, leopards are established predators of non-human primates, sometimes preying on species as large as the western lowland gorilla. Other primates may make up 80% of the leopard's diet. While leopards generally avoid humans, they tolerate proximity to humans better than lions and tigers, and often come into conflict with humans when raiding livestock.

Kaludiya Pokuna Forest

Kaludiya Pokuna Archeological Forest Site, is a forest with archeological remains in Kandalama, in the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka. The site has been handed over to the Girls' High School, Kandy in accordance with the "Urumaya Thani Nokaramu" program organized by the Department of Archeology. For the first time in Sri Lanka, a school was given custody of an archeological site.

Anjali Watson Sri Lankan conservationist

Anjali Watson is a Sri Lankan conservationist. She is known for her contributions to leopard conservation and founded the Wilderness and Wildlife Conservation Trust, a conservation and research organisation.

Natural forests in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a relatively small continental island, it exhibits a remarkable diversity of forest types, which are among the biologically one of richest forests in Asia. In these forests plant species show extraordinary patterns of localized distribution. Sri Lanka's forest became one of highest density of species diversity in the world. Sri Lanka natural forests cover about 12,493 km2 29.46% According to the National Red List said, Sri Lanka counts 253 land species, 245 species of butterflies, 240 birds, 211 reptiles, 748 evaluated vertebrates and 1,492 invertebrates. Forest coverage is about 70% tropical dry monsoon forests, 15% tropical moist monsoon forests and 5% tropical lower montane forests. By the dawn of the 19th century, Sri Lanka's forest cover was estimated at up to 70% of the total land area. Since then, the forest cover has decreased progressively over time. Significant loss of Sri Lanka's forest cover was first reported in the 19th century, with the introduction of plantation agricultural crops such as tea and vegetables. Commercial timber extraction policy of colonial rulers (British colonial time also led to clearing of forests in the dry zone. Irrigation development and agricultural expansions have been identified as key drivers of forest cover change.


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  5. "Survey Online Store". www.survey.gov.lk. Retrieved 2021-04-25.
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