Yala National Park or Ruhuna National Park is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka.
It is situated in the southeast region of the country, and lies in Southern Province and Uva Province. The park
covers 979 square kilometres (378 sq mi) and is located about 24km northeast of Tissamaharama and 
300 km (190 mi) from Colombo.

It had originally had been designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900, and, along with Wilpattu it was one of the
first two national parks in Sri Lanka, having been designated in 1938. The park is best known for its variety of its
wild animals. It is important for the conservation of Sri Lankan Elephants and aquatic birds.

Wildlife at Yala National Park

Of all the National Parks in Sri Lanka, Yala National Park affords the greatest opportunities to sight the 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 fantailed 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 are 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).

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