Yala National Park
Yala National Park is situated, 44 Km from Tissamaharama town, approx 300 Km from Colombo, in the Southern province of Sri Lanka, bordering the Indian Ocean. It is considered the most frequented and second largest National park only to Wilpattu, in Sri Lanka, with an extent of 979 Sq.Km. It consists of 5 blocks and only two are open for the public. The most popular are the Ruhunu National park in block 1 and Kumana National park in block 2. It is believed that Yala has the highest density of Sri Lankan leopards in the world. In addition, it is home to some 300-350 Sri Lankan wild elephants, 215 bird species and several other species of mammals and reptiles such as snakes, mugger crocodiles etc. Sithulpahuwa and Magul Vihara are the two important pilgrim sites located within the park. The famed Kataragama temple is also situated within a close distance from Yala. It is reported 250 people died during the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004 causing severe devastation of the Yala national park. However, through some strange sense of danger waves received by wild animals in Yala, most had evacuated from the site to safer areas, before the Tsunami hit and no deaths of animals were recorded.
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