Yala National Park is located in the districts of Hambantota and Monaragala in the southeastern area of Sri Lanka. Yala National Park is Sri Lanka's second-largest national park, comprising around 970 square kilometres. It is well-known for its unique animals, which include elephants, leopards, and a wide range of bird species. The park is particularly well-known for its breathtaking natural splendour, which includes lush woods, lagoons, and grasslands. Visitors to the park can go on wildlife safaris, go camping, or go bird watching.
Leopards in Yala National Park are distinguished by their big size and striking golden coats with black markings. These large cats hunt alone and are most active at night and early in the morning. They are apex predators, which means they are at the top of the food chain and play an important part in keeping the park's environment in balance.
Leopards are mostly found in the park's deep forests, but they can also be found in meadows and beside water bodies. They are recognised for their stealth and agility while hunting prey such as deer, wild boar, and other mammals. Visitors to Yala National Park can see these majestic beasts on wildlife safaris. Although leopard sightings are rare, they are one of the park's main attractions and a highlight of each visit.
Elephants are one of the most iconic and popular animals in Yala National Park, Sri Lanka. The park is home to a healthy population of Asian elephants, which are native to the region. These elephants are known for their massive size, distinctive wrinkled skin, and social behavior, and are considered a flagship species for conservation efforts in the park.
Visitors to Yala National Park can often observe elephants in large herds, with individuals ranging from young calves to mature adults. Elephants are active both day and night, and are most commonly seen in the park's grasslands and water bodies, where they come to drink and bathe.
It's worth noting that while the elephant population in Yala National Park is relatively stable, their populations in other areas of Sri Lanka and globally are declining due to habitat loss, hunting, and human-elephant conflict. Conservation efforts are underway to protect the park's elephant population and ensure their survival, including measures to manage human-elephant conflict and promote responsible elephant-based tourism.
Yala National Park is home to a diverse array of wildlife species, including many other animals besides elephants and leopards. Some of the other notable species found in the park include
Wild boar: These are large, omnivorous pigs that are found in forests and grasslands throughout the park. They are active during the day and can be seen foraging for food, or wallowing in mud to cool off.
Sloth bear: This shaggy-haired bear is native to South Asia and is found in a variety of habitats, including forests and grasslands. They are primarily nocturnal and feed on a variety of food, including insects, fruits, and small mammals.
Sambar deer: These are the largest species of deer found in Asia and are native to the park. They are typically seen in large herds and are active during the day, feeding on grasses and browsing on vegetation.
Mongoose: There are several species of mongoose found in Yala National Park, including the small Indian mongoose and the grey mongoose. These small carnivores are active during the day and feed on a variety of prey, including insects, small mammals, and reptiles.
Birds: Yala National Park is also a popular destination for bird watching, with over 200 species of birds having been recorded in the park. Some of the notable species include the jungle fowl, the Sri Lankan spurfowl, and the Sri Lankan peafowl.
In addition to these species, there are many other animals, reptiles, and insects found in Yala National Park, making it a haven for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. Visitors to the park can engage in activities such as wildlife safaris, camping, and bird watching to experience the park's rich biodiversity.