Yala National Park
Yala National Park
Yala National Park can be found in Sri Lanka’s south east region. It stretches over two provinces, Hambantota in southern province and Monaragala in Uva province. Palatupana is 12km from Kirinda. Distance from Colombo to Palatupana’s entry point is 305km.
Ruhuna National Park lies in the most arid areas of Sri Lanka. It is therefore hot and dry. The average annual temperature is 27 Celsius. However, in the dry season it can reach 37 Celsius. Inter-monsoonal rains are unpredictable and occur in March or April. February is the driest month. However, the main dry season runs from June through October.
The most visited and second-largest national park in Sri Lanka is Yala National Park, which consists of five blocks. Yala covers an area of 1260 km2. However, visitors can only access one fifth of this area. Four-fifths are designated as a Strict Natural Reserve. Yala East National Park (Kumana) is located adjacent to the park’s eastern boundary.
Yala National Park is Sri Lanka’s most popular National Park. Here you can see the widest range of wildlife in Sri Lanka. There are many opportunities to spot the leopard, which wanders off into the thickets of the jungle, and the colorful painted stork-in troops that are perched on the banks of the lagoon.
There are 32 different species of mammals. These species include the sloth bear (Melursus Ursinus), leopard (Panthera perdus), kotiya and elephant (Elephas maximus), wild boar (Sus scrofa), spotted elk (Axis Axis Ceylonessis), wild boar (Sus scrofa), sambar, Cervus unicolor), and golden jackal(Canis aureus).
The Sri Lankan leopards (Panthera Pardus Kotiya), are considered to be a sub-species of their Indian counterparts. Although leopards can be found throughout the park from January through July, the best time to see them is between January and July. Block 1 in Yala National Park, on the west side of the park has the highest concentration of leopards of all the Sri Lankan leopard populations. These majestic beasts are now well-acclimated to humans driving jeeps through their territory. The young males aren’t feigned any disturbance and they freely roam over the tracks of gravel roads as well as the jungle bush during the day. This gives visitors endless photographic opportunities to capture these magnificent beasts close up.
The Uda Walwe National Park and Yala are connected by the Lunugamvehera National Park. Yala has a large population of elephants, which fluctuates according to the season. The best time to see elephants is during the dry season, May through August.
Yala National Park is home to around 130 bird species. The lagoons attract water birds such as the Lesser Flamingo and Spoonbill, Spoonbills, Spoonbills, Spoonbills, Spoonbills, Spoonbills, painted storks, rare black necked Storks, grey herons, purple herons, night herons, Darter, and Pelicon.
The lagoons are visited by migrating waterfowl during the north-east monsoon. These include Pintail, Garganey and Eurasian Curlew.
Mugger Crocodile is a notable reptile, found in abandoned tanks, Estuarine Crocodile in the main rivers and Common monitor. Russel’s Viper and Cobra are two other reptiles. There are many species of Sea Turtles, Olive Ridley, and Leatherback. The Yala coast is an important nesting ground.
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