– elephants, leopards, whales, dolphins, crocodiles, monkeys, eagles, hornbills, storks and more…!
Initially created as a hunting reserve in 1939. It is Sri Lanka’s most visited national park. It consists of 1260 Sq Km with varied forest types of which four fifths is strict nature reserve and is out of bounds to visitors.
Historically yala dates back over two thousand years, evidence still lie in the forests with ancient monuments and remains of building structures. This park is celebrated for being one of the best locations in the world to view Leopards. But there is much more to Yala than that. The park is one of the most picturesque places in Sri Lanka. The park holds many mammals of which the Sloth Bear, Chital, Sambar, Eurasian Wild Boar, Tufted Grey Langur Monkey, Toque Macaque, Asian Elephant, more than two species of Mongoose are regulars here.
The park consists of many different habitats varying from dry scrub to tall riverine or gallery forests harboring over130 Species of birds of which some are endemic to the country or the sub continent. Coastal water bodies hold an array of waders and other waterbirds from pelicans to storks and stints to plovers. The Spot-billed Pelican is a globally endangered species so is the Lesser Adjutant Stork and both species are found in healthy numbers. Other interesting birds found at Yala N.P. include Black-necked Stork, Greater Thick-knee and Eurasian Stone-curlew. The national bird of Sri Lanka, Ceylon Jungle Fowl is a common bird found here. The Scrub forests hold many interesting species of birds such as the Paradise Flycatcher, Blue-faced Malkoha, the superb Indian Pitta and many more.