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Wildlife safaris at the Wasgamuwa National Park Sri Lanka

PioneerLogoSo named for the once large population of Sri Lankan Sloth Bears, the Wasgamuwa National Park still remains a haven for these highly endangered animals, though sightings are very rare. It is also noted for its diversity in terms of flora and fauna. 

 

 

History and Description of the Wasgamuwa National Park

Barring the south, the Wasgamuwa National Park is almost entirely encompassed by rivers. The eastern boundary is defined by the famous long flowing Mahaweli Ganga, while the northern and western sides are bordered by the Amban Ganga and Dunuwila Oya respectively.

The ancient tanks stand as evidence to the historical importance of the Wasgamuwa National Park and the religious sites are part of the story of Yudanganapitiya – the site where Sri Lanka's famous kings, Dutugemunu and Elara, camped during their mighty battles, in the 2ndCentury BC.

The Wasgamuwa National Park has a history of being the place to observe the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear (a recognized subspecies of the Sloth Bear). The name Wasgamuwa is derived from the Sinhalese 'walas gamuwa' where walaha is bear and gamuwa means 'the woods'. Due to the decline in population of the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear, the most commonly seen animal on safari today is the Sri Lankan Elephant.

Fauna and Flora in the Wasgamuwa National Park

There are 23 species of mammals and 140 species of birds in Wasgamuwa. Both monkeys found in the park; the Purple-faced Langur and Toque Macaque, are endemic to Sri Lanka. The Water Buffalo and Sri Lankan Axis Deer are also commonly seen here. There have been Sri Lankan Leopard and Sri Lankan Sloth Bear sightings here, but they are quite rare.

For birders, Wasgamuwa is quite exciting. The endemic Red-faced Malkoha and seven others have been recorded here. The Lesser Adjutant, Yellow-fronted Barbet, and Sri Lanka Spurfowl are the species that visit the reservoirs and streams at Wasgamuwa. Other aquatic birds that can be seen on a birding safari are the Peafowl, Painted Stork, Black-headed Ibis and the Eurasian Spoonbill. The rarer Sri Lanka Frogmouth which appears to have no beak and the Chestnut-winged Cuckoo have also been recorded here.

Of the 17 reptile species recorded in the Park, five are endemic. The Water monitor and Mugger Crocodile are common as well.

More than 150 plant species have been recorded in the Wasgamuwa National Park. Chloroxylon swietenia, Manilkara hexandra, Elaeodendron glaucum, Pterospermum canescens, Diospyros ebenum, Holoptelea integrifolia, Pleurostylia opposita, Vitex altissima, Drypetes sepiaria, and Berrya cordifolia are dominant in the emergent layer of the forests while Polyalthia korinti, Diplodiscus verrucosus, Limonia acidissima, Cassia roxburghii and Strobilanthes stenoden are common in the other layers. There is also a 1,700 year-old tamarind tree in Wasgamuwa.

 

Mahoora Accommodation Options

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Excellent photographer's package

"Amazing experience. We'd been on safaris before so was immensely happy that the photographer's package included our own jeep and a naturalist guide who's also a photographer!"
James - Sydney - Australia
January 2017

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