The Sri Lanka Travel Specialists
Wasgamuwa is a remote national park which is home to a wide variety of Sri Lankan wildlife, including elephants, leopards and many species of bird. It is located between the Central and North Central provinces, south-east of the Cultural Triangle, and its riverine and dry evergreen forests, grasslands and wetlands are home to numerous animals including sloth bear, sambur, spotted and barking deer, wild boar, purple-faced leaf monkey and 143 species of bird.
It is famous for the elephants which frequent the Mahaweli River which runs along one of the boundaries of the park, and its canals and water-ways which run down from the 470-metre-high ‘Sudu Kande’ nearby. There are also archaeological ruins of ancient settlements within the park, the most important of which is Buduruwayaya, which is comprised of ruins of Buddha statues which are estimated to be over 1,800 years old and buildings which date back to the Polonnaruwa period.
Wasgamuwa was closed to visitors until 1948, when it was changed from a Strict Nature Reserve to a National Park. As a relatively ‘new’ park, stretching over 316 sq kms, the animals are still not used to people and so your encounters can be very memorable! Elephants are the main attraction of this park – there are over 150 here – and they are particularly large due to their varied diet. Other mammals inhabiting this park include leopard, sloth bear, golden jackal, wild boar, wild buffalo, black-naped hare, sambar, spotted and barking deer, fishing cat, rusty-spotted cat and primates including the grey langur, the endemic toque macaque and purple-faced leaf monkey and the nocturnal grey slender loris.
Wasgamuwa is also excellent for birdwatching. Nearly 150 species of birds can be seen in the park, including migrants, forest birds, water birds and waders. Some of the highlights include the endemic species red-faced malkoha, Sri Lanka jungle fowl, Sri Lanka spur fowl, Sri Lanka green pigeon, Sri Lanka brown-capped babbler, crimson flamback, Sri Lanka grey hornbill and yellow-fronted barbet. Other species include the globally endangered lesser adjutant and painted storks, black-headed ibis, and grey-headed fish eagle. Wasgamuwa is also a very good location to see the elusive spot-bellied eagle owl, also known as the ‘Devil Bird’. Other forest birds include little green bee-eater, blue-tailed bee-eater, common iora, black-headed cuckoo shrike, brown shrike, black-headed munias, Indian pitta, forest wagtail, yellow wagtail, orange-headed ground thrush, jungle prinia, ashy prinia, white-rumped shama, Malabar-pied hornbill and the chestnut-headed bee-eater.
Other animals which can be seen at Wasgamuwa are various species of butterflies – including the rare five-bar swordtail and colourful banded peacock, common jezebel, blue mormon and common birdwing – and reptiles including two types of crocodile and land monitors. If you are lucky you many also see the Indian python crossing in front of the jeep tracks in the early morning.
Elephants are the main attraction of this park with over 150 Elephants inhabiting the park. These elephants seem to be much larger in size than the ones you will see in Uda Walawe. This is mainly due to the lush vegetation within Wasgomuwa that provides their varied diet. These Elephants are also known for their aggressive behaviour when confronted by humans. Since this park was only open to the public a few years back, the animals are much more unpredictable. Other mammals inhabiting this National Park include Leopard, Sloth Bear, Golden Jackal, Wild Boar, Wild Buffalo, Black-naped Hare, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Fishing Cat, Rusty-spotted Cat. Primates include the Grey Langer, the endemic Toque Monkey, Purple-faced Leaf Monkey and the nocturnal primate the Grey Slender Loris.
Wasgomuwa is also excellent for bird watching. Nearly 150 species of birds can be seen in the park and this includes migrants, forest birds, water birds and waders. Some of the highlights include the endemic Red-Faced Malkoha in the riverine habitats. Other endemics includes the Sri Lanka Jungle Fowl, Sri Lanka Spur fowl, Sri Lanka Green Pigeon, Sri Lanka Brown-capped Babbler, Crimson Flamback, Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Yellow-fronted Barbet. Other species include the globally endangered Lesser Adjutant. Painted Storks, Black-headed Ibis, and Grey-headed fish Eagle. This is also a very good location to see the elusive Spot-bellied Eagle Owl also known as the Devil Bird. Other forest birds include Little Green Bee-eater, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Common Iora, Black-headed Cuckoo Shrike, Brown Shrike, Black-headed Munias, Indian Pitta, Forest Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Orange-headed Ground Thrush, Jungle Prinia, Ashy Prinia, White-rumped Shama, Malabar-pied Hornbill and the Chestnut-headed Bee-eater.
Wasgomuwa has both types of Crocodiles found in Sri Lanka, the Estuarine and Mugger Crocodiles along with land Monitors. If you are lucky you can also see the Indian Python crossing the jeep tracks in the early morning.
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