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Updated by Joanna James on May 02, 2024
Joanna James Joanna James
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Types of Wildlife that can be seen at Yala National Park, Sri Lanka – Verdant Sanctuary

Yala National Park is the most popular in Sri Lanka. The savannah like scrub jungle with coastal parts is a treat to explore. The wildlife is quite stunning and exotic as listed below.


The Birds of Yala

Anyone visiting Yala Park will be rewarded with sights of the feathered wonders that grace its environs. In fact Yala is considered as one of the 70 important bird sanctuaries in the country. It is home to 215 species; of these 6 are considered endemic to Sri Lanka. Birds in this area are so varied and plentiful that you can spot many even from the confines of Yala hotels emulating lush jungle environs. Look out for the Sri Lanka Jungle Fowl, the Sri Lanka grey hornbill, Sri Lanka woodpigeon, crimson fronted barbet, brown capped babbler and black capped bulbul. There are around 90 species of water birds; many of these are migratory types favouring the wetland areas of the park. Amongst them are whistling duck, cormorants, Eurasian spoonbill, medium sized waders, grey heron, black necked stork and many more. With an amalgamation of visiting and resident species, birds do occupy a large chunk of your attention; take along the binoculars folks you are in for a treat.


The Mammals of Yala

By far the most fascinating collection of wild life is found in Yala. There are 44 species of mammals in the park; these include the Asian elephant. The park is also famous as home to one of Asia's largest leopard populations. In block I alone there is an estimated 25 individual leopards. The herd of elephants are counted at around 300 to 350 with sudden sightings on the wild beaches of Yala quite a treat. You should book an early morning jeep safari via Jetwing Yala or a tour operator for a comprehensive scout of all the park has to offer. Amongst these mammals there is a range of 'threatened species' that Yala protects; included are the elephants, leopards, wild water buffalo and sloth bear. You will also spot other mammals such as Toque macaque, red slender loris, golden palm civet and the fishing cat.


The Reptiles of Yala

There are 46 species of reptiles recorded at Yala; amongst these 5 are endemic to the country. You will be treated to sights of Sri Lankan krait, Sri Lanka flying snake, Wiegmanns Agama, Boulanger's keelback and others. The coastal areas of the park is favoured by 5 of the worlds most treasured turtle species the hawksbill, sea turtle, olive ridley, green turtle and leather back. The crocodiles consist of the salt water crocodile and mugger crocodile. The fierce Indian cobra and Russell's viper add to the snake population.


Amphibians of Yala

A total of 18 amphibian species are recorded in Yala. Amongst these the Bufo Atukoralei and Adenomus Kelaartii are endemic to the country.


Fish at Yala National Park

There are 21 species of fresh water fish in Yala inhabiting the lakes and lagoons of the boulder strewn beautiful park. The perennial reservoirs are home to 'food fish' such as the Mozambique Tilapia. Endemic species include the stone sucker, Esomos thermoicos.

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