Wilpattu National Park
Wilpattu sanctuary was declared a National Park in 1938, Wilpattu National Park is located on the west coast close to the historical city of Anuradhapura. The dry zone jungle is thickly grown. Wilpattu Natonal Park is home for many villus, or natural lakes which dot the landscape. Except for two, These lakes contain rainwater, thus are important for resident and migratory water-birds.
It is the largest and oldest park in Sri Lanka and world known for its diverse wildlife which includes the Sri Lankan Elephant, Sri Lankan Leopard, Lankan Sloth Bear, Sri, Spotted Deer, Buffalo, Sambar, Mongoose and different varieties of monkeys and hundreds of species of local and migratory birds.
Minneriya National Park
Home to the largest Asian elephant gathering known to exist, over 300 elephants live in this area. You will look out over a vast reservoir of flat drying grasslands and gently rippling water. Shadows begin to emerge from the surrounding jungle one by one as the elephants slowly make their way out of the shady trees to the plains towards the water. It is fascinating to sit and watch these huge animals drink, play and snack on the green, lush grass that have been exposed by the receding water. This is home for the 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 Minneriya.
The Minneriya reservoir is an important habitat for large water birds and reptiles. The number of threatened birds recorded from this national park is 11 and 8 species of endemic reptiles are also found here and are also considered endangered.
Smithsonian Primate Research Center (Monkey Kingdom)
Known formally as the “Smithsonian Primate Research Center" and locally as the Monkey Camp, the Primate Center Lodge is part of the Association for the Conservation of Primate Diversity, under the umbrella of the Smithsonian Institution Primate Biology Program, based in Sri Lanka and the USA. Their studies on the monkeys have been highlighted recently in the movie theater film “Monkey Kingdom” (produced with Disney Nature). The monkeys have also been featured in many documentary films for TV on the BBC, Discovery, Animal Planet and others.
During your visit you will experience the thrill of observing three species of monkeys native to Sri Lanka up-close in their natural forest home. These are the toque macaque, the gray langur and the purple-faced langur. Like humans, monkeys live in families, tribes and communities. They have relatives, friends and enemies, and use a rich repertoire of gestures to communicate. You will see them display care, courtship, passion, cooperation and teamwork, as well as greed, jealousy, aggression, and tribal warfare. You will also see the ecological challenges facing primates in a changing modern environment.