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Kaudulla National Park
Kaudulla National Park is located 182 km away from Colombo in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. The major cities closest to Kaudulla National Park is Habarana and Polonnaruwa.
The renovated vast ancient Minneriya Rainwater Reservoir that irrigates the considerable area of the district of Polonnaruwa is the focal point of the Kaudulla National Park.
Being part of the elephant corridor which joins up with Kaudulla and Wasgamuwa National Parks, Minneriya National Park gives the opportunity to see herds of Elephants throughout the year. May to October is the best period to visit Kaudulla National Park in view of the World famous Great Elephant Gathering of the Asian wild elephants.
The area is situated in dry zone of Sri Lanka and receives an average rainfall of 1,500–2,000 millimetres (59–79 in). The lowest temperature and highest of the park are 20.6 °C (69.1 °F) and 34.5 °C (94.1 °F) respectively. The main sources of water for the tank are a diversion of Amban River and Elahera canal. The wet season lasts during the north eastern monsoon from October to January and from May to September considered as the dry season. The main habitats of Kaudulla are of several types, including low-canopy montane forests, intermediate high-canopy secondary forests, scrublands, abandoned chena lands, grasslands, rocky outcrops, and wetlands.
Kaudulla National Park‘s faunal species include 24 species of mammals, 160 species of birds, 9 species of amphibians, 25 species of reptiles, 26 species of fish, and 75 species of butterflies
Great Elephant Gathering at Kaudulla National Park
Kaudulla National Park is one of the largest known meeting place of Asian Elephants in the world. During this period herds up to 350 elephants are seen at the 8,890 hectare park within a few square kilometers of the Kaudulla Reservoir. Some reports account number of elephants to as high as 700. In August and September each year during the dry season, wild elephants migrates from Wasgamuwa National Park to Minneriya National Park, then to Kaudulla National Park for search of food and shelter. Tourists visit Kaudulla National Park largely because of elephants, especially in dry season.
The park is an important habitat for the two endemic monkeys of Sri Lanka: purple-faced langur and toque macaque. Large herbivorous mammals such as Sri Lankan sambar deer and Sri Lankan axis deer frequent the park. Rare and endangered species such as Sri Lankan leopard and Sri Lankan sloth bear inhabit in Kaudulla. Kaudulla is one of the areas where the gray slender loris is reportedly found in Sri Lanka.
The Kaudulla reservoir is an important habitat for large water birds such as lesser adjutant, painted stork, and spot-billed pelican. Kaudulla is a dormitory for many resident as well as migrant bird species. Flocks of 2000 little cormorants have been reported. Great white pelican, ruddy turnstone, and grey heron are the other water birds here. Among the endemic birds are Sri Lanka jungle fowl, Sri Lanka hanging parrot, brown-capped babbler, Sri Lanka grey hornbill, black-crested bulbul and crimson-fronted barbet. The number of threatened birds recorded from this national park is 11.
Among the nine species of Amphibians at Kaudulla National Park are the endemic and endangered Slender Wood Frog and the Common Tree Frog. Of the 25 species of reptiles recorded in the park 8 are endemic including the Red-lipped Lizard. Water and Land Monitors are also seen here. The Mugger Crocodile can be seen near the tank. Many species of fresh water fish are found in the Kaudulla reservoir.
Kaudulla National Park has accommodation facilities within nearby. ‘Menik Sorowwa Bungalow’ is one of inside adjutant to park, it can book via wild life department. Also the cities close to Kaudulla National Park- Minneriya & Habarana, Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa and Giritale- are full with luxury hotels and lodges.
The vegetation of the park consists of tropical dry mixed evergreen forests, abandoned chena lands, grasslands and wetlands. The open grasslands and old chena lands are dominated by the many species of small shrub.
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