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Wasgamuwa National Park | Matale | Sri Lankan Guides

Wasgamuwa National Park | Matale | Sri Lankan Guides

Wasgamuwa National Park, established in 1984 to provide a sanctuary for wildlife displaced during the Mahaweli Development Project, is one of four national parks designated under the initiative. Recognized for its significance in safeguarding Sri Lankan Elephants, the park is also classified as one of the Important Bird Areas in the country. The optimal period for observing large herds is between November and May, while during other months, elephants typically migrate to Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks. Boasting exceptional biodiversity, the park is home to over 150 floral species, including economically valuable plants like Cryptocoryne walkeri and Munronia pumila.

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Wasgamuwa National Park showcases diverse fauna, with reservoirs and riverine forests supporting numerous species. The forest, characterized by multiple layers, harbors a remarkable 1,700-year-old tamarind tree named “Oru Bendi Siyambalawa” (Sinhala for Canoes-Moored-Tamarind). The park is inhabited by 23 mammal species, with a prominent herd of 150 Sri Lankan elephants. Marsh elephants are often found in the Mahaweli river area. Two endemic monkey species, the purple-faced langur and toque macaque, inhabit the park. While water buffalo and Sri Lankan axis deer are common, the Sri Lanka leopard and sloth bear are rare sights. The small golden palm civet, another rare endemic mammal, adds to the park’s unique biodiversity.

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A rich avian diversity of 143 bird species, including 8 endemics, can be observed in the park. Notable residents include the endemic red-faced malkoha and Sri Lanka junglefowl. Aquatic birds such as peafowl, painted stork, black-headed ibis, and Eurasian spoonbill frequent the park’s reservoirs. The rare Sri Lanka frogmouth and chestnut-winged cuckoo are additional highlights. Wasgamuwa National Park is also home to 8 species of amphibians, including the endemic and endangered Fejervarya pulla. Of the 17 recorded reptile species, five are endemic, featuring the water monitor, mugger crocodile, skinks (Lankascincus spp.), lizards (Calotes ceylonensis and Otocryptis wiegmanni), and the endangered serpent Chrysopelea taprobanica.

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In the aquatic habitats, the park hosts 17 fish species, including the endemic Garra ceylonensis and combtail. Additionally, there are 50 butterfly species, with eight being endemic. To reach Wasgamuwa National Park in Hasalaka, take the Kandy-Mahiyangana Road, proceed via Wilgamuwa, and continue on to Wasgamuwa. The prime time to witness large elephant herds is between November and May, while during other months, elephants migrate to Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks.

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