Sri Lanka reopens wildlife parks

Sri Lanka is famed for its leopards

Sri Lankan wildlife authorities have reopened two famous wildlife parks in the southeast of the country which  have been closed for four years due to the threat of terrorism.

Kumana National Park and Lahugala National Park, a wildlife nature reserve, are now once again welcoming visitors.

Kumana National Park, a renowned bird sanctuary contiguous with the Yala National Park, is located 391 km south east of the capital Colombo. Lahugala National Park, a habitat for wild elephants, is located at Heda Oya, in the Eastern Province, 318 km east of Colombo.

The two sanctuaries have been closed since 2005 due to the presence of the LTTE terrorists in those areas. The Wildlife Department decided to re-open the parks after receiving security clearance following the end of the war.

Since the end of the war last year, the government has taken measures to promote tourism in the country. The two parks are big eco-tourism attractions.

“Sri Lanka is famed for its jungles containing rare orchids, delicious fruits and bountiful shrubs and trees. This is a land where travellers can come face to face with a wild elephant, admire the savage grace of a leopard from afar, or marvel at a sea turtle flicking sand protectively over eggs just laid on the beach,” said Heba Al Ghais Al Mansoori, Middle East director of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau.

There are also four species of deer and the fierce, but rarely encountered, sloth bear. Buffalo range across the grassland areas and visitors may also spot wild boar, giant squirrels and several species of monkey.