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Wilpattu national park

Wilpattu national park is located 26 km north of Puttalam (approximately 180 km north of Colombo) spanning from the northwest coast inland towards the ancient capital of Anuradhapura (50 km to the east of the park). Covering an impressive 425 sq miles, the park is Sri Lanka ‘s largest, and having reopened in March, 2010 it is just a matter of time before it becomes a popular eco-tourism destination.

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.

Location

The park is located 30km west of Anuradhapura and spans the border between the North Central and North Western Province. It is bordered by the Modaragam aru in the south the Kala Oya in the north and is bordered by the Indian ocean in the west. The Wilpattu National Park is the largest national park in the area with an acreage of 131, 693 hectares. It is situated ranging from sea level to 152 metres above it.

Climate

Annual temperature in the Park is around 27.2 Celsius and its annual rainfall is approximately 1000 mm. Though situated in the dry zone, the climate inside the Wilpattu National Park is very unlike that of the dry zone. Upon entering the densely wooded Park, a feeling of going to a forest with abundant water is what enters the mind. This is perhaps explained by the patterns of rainfall it experiences. The period between September to December is known as the rainy season at Wilpattu with the north eastern monsoon falling heavily. Inter monsoon rains come to Wilpattu between March and April. The period of drought extends from May to early September.

Flora

There are many Villu and lakes at Wilpattu. This is identified as the main topographical feature of the Park. They are often flat and basin like while containing purely rain water. The western sector of Wilpattu is covered deeply with forests. Many species of flora can be identified at Wilpattu national park. There are three types of vegetation; Littoral vegetation, including Salt grass and low scrub immediately adjacent to the beach and further inland, monsoon forest with tall emergents, such as Palu (Manilkara hexandra), and Satin (Chloroxylon swietenia), Milla (Vitex altissima), Weera (Drypetes sepiaria), Ebony (Disopyros ebenum) and Wewarna ( Alseodaphne semecapriflolia).

Fauna

Looking at the fauna of this national park mammalian diversity and ecological densities are highest. A total of 31 species of mammals have been identified at the Wilpattu national park. Mammals threatened with extinction are also there. The elephant (Elephas maximus), Sloth bear (Melursus ursinus), leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) and water Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) are identified as the threatened species living within the Wilpattu National Park.Other wetland bird species as Garganey (Anas querquedula), Pin tail (Anas acuta), Whistling teal (Dendrocygna javanica), Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia), White ibis (Threskiornis malanocephalus), Large white egret (Egretta alba modesta), Cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) and Purple heron (Ardea purpurea) also found at the Wilpattu National Park.

There are many Villu and lakes at Wilpattu. This is identified as the main topographical feature of the Park. They are often flat and basin like while containing purely rain water. The western sector of Wilpattu is covered deeply with forests. Many species of flora can be identified at Wilpattu national park. There are three types of vegetation; Littoral vegetation, including Salt grass and low scrub immediately adjacent to the beach and further inland, monsoon forest with tall emergents, such as Palu (Manilkara hexandra), and Satin (Chloroxylon swietenia), Milla (Vitex altissima), Weera (Drypetes sepiaria), Ebony (Disopyros ebenum) and Wewarna ( Alseodaphne semecapriflolia).

Looking at the fauna of this national park mammalian diversity and ecological densities are highest. A total of 31 species of mammals have been identified at the Wilpattu national park. Mammals threatened with extinction are also there. The elephant (Elephas maximus), Sloth bear (Melursus ursinus), leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) and water Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) are identified as the threatened species living within the Wilpattu National Park.Other wetland bird species as Garganey (Anas querquedula), Pin tail (Anas acuta), Whistling teal (Dendrocygna javanica), Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia), White ibis (Threskiornis malanocephalus), Large white egret (Egretta alba modesta), Cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) and Purple heron (Ardea purpurea) also found at the Wilpattu National Park.

At Wilpattu, among the reptiles found the most common are the Monitor (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) who are resident in the large permanent Villus. We can saw Star tortoises (Geochelone elegans) roaming on the grasslands at Wilpattu. Termites of the Genus Trinervitermes clan probably account for the most significant proportion of the invertebrate bio mass. Termites are found not on the grasslands but actively living in the scrub forests. Nearly sixty lakes and tanks are found spread around the Wilpattu National Park.

       
 
 
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