The name implies (Willu-pattu; Land of Lakes) and is located on the northwest of Sri Lanka. Its history dates back to 543 BC. In 1905 the area was designated a sanctuary and in 1938 it was upgraded to the National Park status.
Wilpattu is an exceptionally picturesque park. The unique feature of this park is the existence of “Willus” (Natural lakes) Natural, sand-rimmed water basins or depressions that fill with rainwater. The park is 131, 693 hectares and consists of nearly sixty lakes (Willu) and tanks are found spread throughout Wilpattu. It is the largest and oldest National Parks in Sri Lanka. Wilpattu is among the top national parks world renowned for its Leopard population. The Leopard population in Wilpattu is still not yet known. Leopard density is considered to equal that of Yala National Park In the southeast of Sri Lanka.
There are many types of vegetation to be found in Wilpattu; Littoral vegetation, including Salt grass and low scrub monsoon forest with tall emergent forest.
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 Sloth bear leopard, Feral and wild Buffaloes, Sambar, spotted deer and mongoose are more of Wilpattu’s residents.
The Park also host many species of birds significant being wetland birds such as Cormorants Wildfowl, Egrets, waders and a whole array of forest birds.
March 16, 2003 the park was opened to the public after 16 years due to the separatist war.