Sri Lanka is famous for its wildlife. There are many National parks and sanctuaries where one can see animals in their natural habitat. Major animals that roam in National Park include elephants, leopards, sloth bears, deers, monkeys, wild buffalos, wild boars, porcupines, civet cats, jackals, mongooses, several varieties of lizards, squirrels, reptiles and amphibians.
Yala (Ruhuna) National Park:
Yala National Park with an area of 1259 sq km is the biggest National Park in Srilanka. The Park is located 309 km south of Colombo on the southeast of the island. The national park is divided into Yala West (also called Ruhuna) and Yala East. Yala West or Ruhuna National Park is one of the best parks in the world to observe and photograph leopards. There are about 35 leopards in the park, which probably is the highest density anywhere in the world. Other animals that can be seen in the park are elephants, sloth bear, spotted deer, barking deer, mouse deer, toque monkey, mongoose and crocodiles. Yala East contains a large variety of water birds.
Gal Oya National Park:
Gal Oya National Park is located 314 km away from Colombo in Inginiyagala district. Park has an area 260 sq km and is surrounded by the largest tank in Sri Lanka-Senanayake Samudra. The park is renowned for its elephant population. There are about 150 elephants in the park. The best time visit the park is between March and July.
Uda Walawe National Park:
Situated 170 km southeast of Colombo, the Uda Walawe National Park lies within the Ratnapura and Monaragala districts. It is largely inhabited by elephants, spotted deer, sambhur, water buffaloes, mongoose, bandicoots, foxes, water monitor lizards, crocodiles, wild boars, toque monkeys, grey langur, leopards and various varieties of snakes.
Wasgamuwa National Park:
Situated approximately 200 km away from Colombo, the Wasgamuwa National Park lies within the Polonnaruwa and Matale Districts and has the Mahaweli River and Amban River as its eastern and western boundaries. The wildlife includes elephants, wild buffaloes, spotted deer, leopards, sloth bears, water monitors and crocodiles.
Horton Plains National Park:
The Horton Plains National Park is situated some 200 km away from Colombo, amidst hills in Nuwara Eliya district. The most amazing feature of the park is the `World's End' where the southern part of the plains comes to a sudden end and drops almost straight down for 700 m. The park contains a rich variety of birds and animals.