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Wilpattu National Park is one of Sri Lanka’s oldest and largest national parks, renowned for its natural beauty, diverse wildlife, and pristine wilderness. It is located in the northwest part of the island, in the North Western and North Central provinces. Here are some key details about Wilpattu National Park:

1. Size and Geography: Wilpattu National Park covers an extensive area of approximately 1,317 square kilometers (508 square miles). The park’s landscape is characterized by a mix of dense forests, open grasslands, and numerous natural lakes or “villus.” These villus serve as crucial sources of water for wildlife, especially during the dry season.

2. Biodiversity: Wilpattu is known for its rich biodiversity, including a variety of mammal, bird, reptile, and amphibian species. Some of the notable wildlife species found in the park include Sri Lankan elephants, leopards, sloth bears, spotted deer, water buffaloes, crocodiles, and numerous bird species, making it a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers.

3. Leopard Sanctuary: Wilpattu is particularly famous for being one of the best places in Sri Lanka to spot leopards in their natural habitat. The park’s dense vegetation and numerous watering holes provide a suitable environment for these elusive big cats.

4. Birdwatching: The park is a haven for birdwatchers, with over 230 species of birds recorded in the area. Some of the prominent avian species include the Sri Lanka junglefowl, painted stork, white ibis, and various species of eagles and owls.

5. Safari Tours: Visitors to Wilpattu National Park can explore its wilderness on jeep safaris conducted by experienced guides. These safaris provide an opportunity to observe the park’s wildlife up close and capture its natural beauty.

6. Ethnobotanical Value: Wilpattu is not only important for its wildlife but also for its ethnobotanical value. Indigenous communities in the region use various plants for traditional medicines and cultural practices.

7. Conservation Efforts: Like many of Sri Lanka’s national parks, Wilpattu faces conservation challenges, including poaching and habitat degradation. However, efforts are ongoing to protect and preserve this valuable natural habitat, and it remains an integral part of the country’s conservation initiatives.

8. Accessibility: Wilpattu National Park is accessible by road from major cities like Colombo, Anuradhapura, and Puttalam. The park has several entry points, and visitors typically arrange safaris and accommodations in nearby towns such as Anuradhapura and Puttalam.

Wilpattu National Park offers a unique opportunity to experience the untamed beauty of Sri Lanka’s wilderness, observe its diverse wildlife, and immerse oneself in a natural sanctuary that is of great ecological importance to the country.


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