Wasgamuwa National Park

Wasgamuwa National Park, located in the Matale and Polonnaruwa Districts of Sri Lanka, is a natural sanctuary established to protect and provide refuge for displaced wildlife during the Mahaweli Development Project in 1984. Initially designated as a nature reserve in 1938 and later upgraded to a strict nature reserve in the early 1970s, Wasgamuwa National Park is one of the four national parks designated under the Mahaweli Project.

Renowned for its large herds of Sri Lankan Elephants, Wasgamuwa National Park is also recognized as one of the Important Bird Areas in Sri Lanka. The name ‘Wasgamuwa’ originates from the Sinhala words ‘Walas Gamuwa,’ with ‘Walasa’ meaning sloth bear and ‘Gamuwa’ referring to a wood. Situated 225 kilometers away from Colombo, the park boasts exceptional biodiversity, with over 150 recorded floral species.

Among the park’s diverse fauna, 23 species of mammals call Wasgamuwa home. The park is particularly known for its population of 150 Sri Lankan Elephants, with marsh elephants roaming the Mahaweli river area. Additionally, endemic monkeys such as the Purple-faced Langur and Toque Macaque are commonly sighted, while the Sri Lanka Leopard and Sloth Bear are rare but present. The park also hosts rare endemic mammals like the Small Golden Palm Civet.

Wasgamuwa National Park is a haven for birdwatchers, with 143 bird species recorded, including eight endemics. The park is home to endemic birds like the Red-faced Malkoha and Sri Lanka Jungle Fowl. Aquatic habitats attract species like the Lesser Adjutant, Yellow-fronted Barbet, and Sri Lanka Spur Fowl, while Peafowl, Painted Stork, Black-headed Ibis, and Eurasian Spoonbill are among the park’s aquatic birds. Rare species like the Sri Lanka Frogmouth and Chestnut-winged Cuckoo can also be spotted.

Furthermore, the park hosts diverse amphibians, reptiles, fish, and butterflies, with several endemic and endangered species among them. Endemic Fejervarya pulla, Garra ceylonensis, and Combtail are notable among the park’s aquatic inhabitants, while endemic butterflies add to the park’s ecological richness.

For nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers visiting Sri Lanka, Wasgamuwa National Park offers an unparalleled opportunity to immerse oneself in the country’s diverse flora and fauna.