Wilpattu sanctuary was declared as a National Park in 1938, Wilpattu National Park is located on the west coast close to the historical city of Anuradhapura .The dry zone jungle is thickly grown. Wilpattu Natonal Park is home for many villus, or natural lakes which dot the landscape in the Wilpattu National Park. Except for two, these lakes contain rainwater, thus are important for resident and migratory water-birds.
The history of the park is also of interest with ancient ruins having been discovered in Wilpattu National Park. Queen named “Kuweni” (considered to be the mother of the Sinhala race) is said to have lived in the place known as Kalli Villu. Historical evidence also shows the fact that Prince Saliya, son of King Dutugemunu lived in Wilpattu over 2,000 years ago.
There are approximately 30 species of mammals in the Wilpattu National Park which include the Sri Lankan Elephant, Sri Lankan Leopard, Lankan Sloth Bear, Sri, Spotted Deer, Buffalo, Sambar and Mongoose.
Wetland bird species found in the Wilpattu National Park include the Garganey, Pin tail, Whistling Teal, Spoonbill, White Ibis, Large White Egret, Cattle Egret and Purple Heron. Also, many species of Gulls, Terns, Owls, Kites and Eagles are also lives here. The endemic Sri Lanka Jungle fowl, Little Cormorant and the Painted Stork can also Can be seen.
When to go
The best time to visit Wilpattu is between February and October when the water levels of the park are quite low, bringing animals into the open.
From 1988 to 2003, the park was closed due to Sri Lanka’s internal civil wars. Later it was reopened. Now it is Sri Lanka’s most popular national park along with Yala.