The well-known Wilpattu National Park is a major nature sanctuary in the island nation of Sri Lanka. This large wildlife park spans an extent of 131, 693 hectares making it the most expansive nature sanctuary within the island. It is also amongst the earliest established natural sanctuaries in the country. Wilpattu is particularly renowned for its resident leopards, although the actual number of the felines in the park is not exactly known. The park also features many other interesting varieties of fauna and flora.
An interesting aspect of the park is that it contains numerous depressions and basins which fill with rainwater and form small lakes. Almost 60 of these lakes exist within the park. Wilpattu was officially identified as a designated National Park in 1938.
As one might expect a diverse array of resident species of fauna may be seen at this expansive nature sanctuary. Some of the well-known animal species found here include the elephant, sloth bear and water buffalo in addition to the leopard. Other common residents are the spotted deer, sambhur, mongoose, shrew and mouse.
Wilpattu is also a delight for the bird lover, with many attractive avian species to be seen. Some of the well-known avian residents are the little cormorant, painted stork and junglefowl in addition to the various terns, owls, gulls, kites, eagles, buzzards and the like. Apart from these you will also see a number of wetland species like the pin tail, garganey, spoonbill, whistling teal, white egret, cattle egret, white ibis and the purple heron.
Additionally you may also observe various interesting reptiles like the mugger crocodile, monitor lizard, Indian python, common cobra and the rat snake. The soft shelled turtle and the pond turtle are other common denizens of the park.
With so much to explore and admire it is not surprising that many visitors, both local and foreign frequent the site. It is possible to arrange exciting safari tours of the parkland in off-road vehicles, which is always a captivating option.
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Uditha Dharmawardhane is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Roland Lefevre. He specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+