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Udawalawe National Park

Udawalawe National Park is one impressive destination in Sri Lanka to explore elephants. Established in the year 1972 with the intention of safeguarding a reservoir, Udawalawe is one of Sri Lanka’s more understated national parks. Located 180 km from Colombo in South-Central sector of the island, it is the sixth largest animal sanctuary of Sri Lanka. The park is home to a good number of elephants, with one of the highest concentrations in the country, including some young elephants released from the Transit Home. Besides elephant, other mammal species in the park include sambar, chital and wild boar.

 

Insight to Udawalawe National Park
The Park is situated just south of the Central Highlands, and at the centre of the park is the Udawalawe Reservoir.  Udawalawe National Park was constructed with the objective of protecting the catchment area of Udawalawe Reservoir, which provides water for agriculture and hydro power.

The Wildlife
Along with the herds of elephants, the Park is also home to other mammals like the Water Buffalo, Wildboar, Spotted Deer, Sambur Deer, Jackal, Samber, Black-naped hare, Mongooses, Bandicoots, Foxes, endemic Toque Macaque and Gray Langers. Count yourself fortunate if you can eye a Leopard and other smaller cats like Fishing cat and Jungle cat.

Elephants at Udawalawe National Park
Udawalawe is undoubtedly the best place in Sri Lanka to see wild Asian Elephants throughout the year. Home to around 500 elephants, these giant animals can often be seen roaming in herds of up to 100. The best hours to visit the park are in the mornings and evenings. Late evening also affords the photographic opportunities in the backdrop of loveliest sunsets.

Birdlife at Udawalawe National Park
The National Park is one of the best places to see Raptors in Sri Lanka. A delight for the photographers, one can eye various species of birds here. Endemic birds include Sri Lankan junglefowl, Sri Lanka spurfowl, Sri Lanka green pigeon, Sri Lanka grey hornbill, Sri Lanka woodshrike and Sri Lanka swallow. Other bird species are Spot-billed pelican, Little cormorant, Grey heron, Indian pond heron, Cattle egret, Great egret, Little egret, Intermediate egret, Painted stork, Woolly-necked stork, Yellow-wattled lapwing, Green bee-eater, Crested treeswift.

November to March is the migratory season for birds, the list of which include Booted eagle, Common kestrel, Harris’s hawk, Rosy starling, Black-capped kingfisher, Wood sandpiper, Common sandpiper, Little ringed plover, Whiskered tern, Western yellow wagtail, Forest wagtail & Citrine wagtail.

…Also home to
The Satin trees in the park attract various kinds of butterflies; beautiful Papilio crino, Delias eucharis, Euploea core and many species of ‘Yellows and Whites’ Papilio polytes.  While the crocodiles doze off on the banks of the reservoir, the water monitor lizards are abound in the park.

Elephant Transit Home (ETH) at Udawalawe National Park
This is an Elephant Orphanage located within the National Park. ETH was established in the year 1995 by the Department of Wildlife Conservation. It is home to over 40 orphaned elephants. The orphaned calves and juveniles of the park are brought into the orphanage, where all necessary care is provided to them. The elephants are taken care of till the time they can be released to their habitat.

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