Breathtaking sightings

Lunugamvehera National Park is the immediate catchment of the Lunugamvehera reservoir. This serves as a link between the Ruhunu Yala National Protected area complex on the east side and Udawalawe National Park to its west and facilitates the ranging of elephants to and from areas such as Haldummula and Koslands in the Uva and Southern region of Sri Lanka. Located 261 kilometers from Colombo, Lunugamvehera National Park can be accessed via the ancient religious city of Tissamaharama or the next National conservation of Udawalawe.

Lunugamvehera National Park, which is a contiguous stretch of forests of famous Ruhuna (Yala) National Park, was declared open in 1995 with the objectives of protecting the catchment area of Lunugamvehera reservoir and wildlife resources therein. Protection of this catchment area is vital to maintain the water levels of five other reservoirs downstream like Kirindi Oya River and wetland characteristics of Bundala National Park too.

The national park is a significant part of the jungle tract, which pave way for the seasonal movement of the wild elephants in the area. It ensures the continuous movement between Yala and Udawalawe National parks, which is quite important for the long term existence of elephants. Lunugamvehera is an ideal habitat for water birds too.

Lunugamvehera is in the Dry zone of Sri Lanka and therefore the park is exposed to annual drought, relieved by the south western monsoon. Out of 23,498 hectares of total land area, 14 percent is land under the reservoir. Nearby Thanamalvila area receives a 1,000 millimeters of annual rainfall.

The forest of Lunugamvehera national park is also characterized by its several forest layers. The mosaic of scrubland and grassland which make up these forests consists of plant species such as the endemic Drypetes sepiaria, Manilkara hexandra, Schleichera oleosa, Lannea coromandelica to name a few. The Grassland area contains several species of grasses such as Chloris montana, Cynodon dactylon, Panicum maximum, Imperata cylindrica and others which are also common in abandoned chenalands. Teak and Eucalyptus plantations are now common in the forest.

Fauna of the park includes 21 fish species, 12 amphibians, 33 reptiles, 183 birds and 43 mammals. Sri Lankan Elephant, Water buffalo, Sri Lankan Sambar Deer, Wild boar, Sri Lankan Spotted Chevrotain, Grizzled Giant Squirrel, Sri Lankan Axis Deer, and Asian Palm Civet are some of the common mammals which are endemic among amphibians found in the forest. Mugger crocodile is one of the aquatic reptiles. Large water birds such as Grey Heron, Black-headed Ibis, Asian Openbill, Painted Stork, and Spot-billed Pelican are too inhabited here.