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Best Game Drives to track Leopards in Sri Lanka



Sri Lanka is the Paradise for the Endemic Sri Lankan Leopard that is very Elusive and tracking them takes years of expertise after analysing and identifying their behaviours and trends. So according to the Diversity Vs Density the below parks in Sri Lanka will have the highest te possibility to see thewm.


Wilpattu National Park


This is known as the biggest national park in Sri Lanka and also one out of seven of the RAMSAR Wetlands in Sri Lanka, has one of the most diversity in terms of all the other national parks, the density is lower than the Yala National Park as its smaller and the Territories are smaller.


Wilpattu National Park is a nature reserve located on the northwest coast of Sri Lanka. Covering an area of 131,693 hectares, it is the largest national park in the country and is renowned for its rich biodiversity and stunning natural beauty. The park has diverse flora and fauna, including several endemic and endangered species.


Wilpattu National Park is known for its natural lakes, or “villus”, which provide a habitat for various waterbirds, reptiles, and mammals. The park is also home to several large mammals, including the Sri Lankan leopard, sloth bear, water buffalo, sambar deer, spotted deer, barking deer, and wild boar.

The park’s vegetation cover comprises monsoon forests, dry mixed evergreen forests, thorny scrub jungles, and grasslands. Visitors can expect to see a variety of trees and plants during their visit, including the palu, satinwood, weera, ebony, and bulletwood trees.

Wilpattu National Park has a rich cultural history, with evidence of ancient settlements dating back to the 3rd century BC. The park was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1905 and a national park in 1938. Today, it is a popular destination for wildlife enthusiasts, nature lovers, and adventure seekers.

Visitors to Wilpattu National Park can enjoy various activities, including safaris, birdwatching, and nature walks. The park offers a variety of safari options, including morning, afternoon, and full-day safaris. In addition, visitors can explore the park in a jeep, which a trained driver and a naturalist guide drive.



Horton Plains National Park


The Horton plain Cloud Forest is a national park in the central highlands of Sri Lanka that was designated in 1988. It is located at an elevation of 2,100–2,300 m (6,900–7,500 ft) and encompasses montane grassland and cloud forest. It is rich in biodiversity and many species found here are endemic to the region. It is also a popular tourist destination and is situated 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from Ohiya, 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) from the world-famous Ohiya Gap/Dondra Watch and 32 kilometres (20 mi) from Nuwara Eliya.

And the endangered mountain leopards live in the misty mountains of the central highlands. Basically, The world heritage site in the highlands including Horton Plains National Park and Adam’s Peak wilderness reserve are the preferred places for mountain leopards. In Horton Plains they are shy and reclusive. This behaviour makes leopard sightings quite rare. The mountainous landscape limits human interaction, thus they often try to avoid humans. The climate is also foggy and misty, which makes spotting leopards more difficult in thick grassland.




Yala National Park


Yala National Park contains five blocks, with the two south-eastern coastal blocks being the most frequently visited by the public. The park is also connected to adjoining wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, the largest of which is the Lunugamvehera National Park. Overall, Yala covers an area of 979 square kilometres that hosts a variety of different ecosystems, ranging from jungles to freshwater wetlands, that makes it an ideal home for several species of wildlife.


The rocky outcrops scattered over the park provides vantage points to enjoy the sprawling areas with Sri Lanka’s dry zone landscape: low scrub and woods. Still more, the southern border of the park being the south-eastern coast, the brackish lagoons and dunes enhances the distinctive charm of the Yala National Park.


Wildlife


Of all the National Parks in Sri Lanka, Yala National Park gives the best opportunity to witness Sri Lanka’s broad variety of wildlife: colorful painted stork in troops are seen perched at the shores of lagoon where the crocodiles too have chosen to doze off; lovely peacocks in their resplendent blues and greens parade about amidst the woods where monkeys hang, leap and chatter; in the bush jungle are the Elephants; crossing the tracks and wandering off into the thorny scrub jungle is the star attraction of the park: the leopard.


A total of 32 species of mammals have been recorded. The threatened species include sloth bear (Melursus ursinus), Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya), elephant (Elephas maximus), water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis), Wild boar (Sus scrofa), spotted deer (Axis axis ceylonessis), sambar (Cervus unicolor) and golden jackal (Canis aureus).


Kumana National Park


Kumana National Park spreads over an area of 35,664 hectares. In the west, the park is bordered by River Kumubukkan Oya; to the south is south-eastern coast that runs to Panama. A 200 hectares mangrove swamp called “Kumana Villu” within the Park is subject to occasional inundation with sea water. It is at this swamp that many water birds nest, during the months of May and June. Scattered in the Kumana National Park are several water pools that are favorite spots of the wildlife: Kudawila wewa, Thummulla wewa and Kotalinda wewa.


Kumana National Park provides excellent feeding and resting habitats for a large number of threatened wetland species, including three turtle species such as the Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas), Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta), and the Olive Ridley Turtle (Lepidochelys olivaceae).


Among other threatened species of reptiles are the globally vulnerable Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris).The most sighted reptiles at Kumana National Park are Mugger Crocodile, the Indian Flap-shelled Turtle, and the Indian Black Turtle.

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