Udawalawe National Prak
National Park lies on the boundary of Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces of Sri Lanka. The national park was created to provide a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawa reservoir on the Walawe River, as well as to protect the catchment of the reservoir.
The park is capable of sustaining a large herd of elephants. Udawalawa is an important habitat for Sri Lankan Elephants, which are relatively easy to be seen in the open habitats. Many elephants are attracted to the park because of the Udawalawa reservoir, with a herd of about 250 believed to be permanently resident. The Udawalawa Elephant Transit Home was established in 1995 for the purpose of looking after abandoned elephant calves within the park. A total of nine calves, on two occasions in 1998 and 2000, with another eight calves in 2002, were released in the park when old enough to fend for themselves.
The Rusty-spotted Cat, Fishing Cat and Sri Lankan Leopard are members of the Felidae family present in Udawalawa. The Sri Lankan Sloth Bear is seldom seen because of its rarity. Sri Lankan Sambar Deer, Sri Lankan Axis Deer, Indian Muntjac, Sri Lankan Spotted Chevrotain, Wild Boar and Water Buffalo are among other mammal species. Golden Jackal, Asian Palm Civet, Toque Macaque, Tufted Grey Languor and Indian Hare also inhabit the park. A study conducted in 1989 found that Golden Palm Civets inhabit the Udawalawa Forest. Five species of mice have also been recorded from the park. The endemic Ceylon Spray Mouse, known from Yala National Park, was recorded in Udawalawa in 1989. Indian Bush Rat and three species of mongooses are also recorded in the National park.
Udawalawa is also a good bird watching site. Endemic species such as Sri Lanka Spur Fowl, Red-faced Malkoha, Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Brown-capped Babbler, and Sri Lanka Jungle Fowl are among of the breeding resident birds. White Wagtail and Black-capped Kingfisher are rare migrants. A variety of water birds visit the reservoir, including cormorants, the Spot-billed Pelican, Asian Openbill, Painted Stork, Black-headed Ibis and Eurasian Spoonbill. The open parkland attracts birds of Grey-headed Fish eagle. Land birds Indian Peafowl, prey such as White-bellied Sea Eagle, Crested Serpent-Eagle, Eagle, Booted Eagle, and Changeable Hawk eagle. Land birds are in abundance, and include Indian Roller, Malabar Pied Hornbill and Pied Cuckoo. Painted Storks are among the many water birds that migrate to the park.
Access Route: Colombo via Ratnapura – Pelmadulla – Colambage Ara – Tanamalwila Road – Udawalawe entrance approximately 165km