Udawalawe National Park lies on the boundary of Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces, in Sri Lanka. The national park was created to provide a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe Reservoir on the Walawe River.
As well as to protect the catchment of the reservoir. The reserve covers 30,821 hectares (119.00 sq mi) of land area and was established in 1972.
Before the creation of the national park.The area was used for farming. The park is 165 kilometres (103 mi) from Colombo. Udawalawe is an important habitat for water birds and Sri Lankan elephants. It is a popular tourist destination and the third most visited park in the country.
Location and Climate
Udawalawe sits on the boundary of Sri Lanka’s wet and dry zones. Plains dominate the topography, though there are also some mountainous areas.The Kalthota Range and Diyawini Falls are in the north of the park and the outcrops of Bambaragala and Reminikotha lie within it. The park has an annual rainfall of 1,500 millimetres (59 in). Most of which falls during the months of October to January and March to May. The average annual temperature is about 27–28 degrees.
The habitat surrounding the reservoirs includes marshes, the Walawe river, forests and grasslands. Dead trees standing in the reservoir are visual reminders of the extent of forest cover before the construction of the Udawalawe Dam.
Elephants and other Wildlife
Species recorded from the park include 94 plants, 21 fish, 12 amphibians, 33 reptiles, 184 birds (33 of which are migratory), and 43 mammals. Additionally 135 species of butterflies are among the invertebrates found in Udawalawe. Udawalawe is an important habitat for Sri Lankan elephants, which are relatively hard to see in its open habitats. Many elephants are attracted to the park because of the Udawalawe reservoir. A herd of about 250 elephants are believed to be permanently resident.
The Udawalawe 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 family Felidae present in Udawalawe. 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 langur and Indian hare also inhabit the park.