Minneriya National Park is a national park in North Central Province of Sri Lanka. The area was designated as a national park on 12 August 1997, having been originally declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1938. The reason for declaring the area as protected is to protect the catchment of Minneriya tank and the wildlife of the surrounding area. The tank is of historical importance, having been built by King Mahasen in third century AD.
The park is a dry season feeding ground for the elephant population dwelling in forests of Matale, Polonnaruwa, and Trincomalee districts. The park earned revenue of Rs. 10.7 million in the six months ending in August 2009. Along with Kaudulla and Girithale, Minneriya forms one of the 70 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) of Sri Lanka.
Take the first step, the rest will follow. Book the ticket, apply for the job, send the email, jump into the water. The rest gets easier from there.
Large numbers of Sri Lankan elephants are attracted to grass fields on the edges of the reservoir during the dry season. The Minneriya tank contributes to sustain a large herd of elephants. Some reports account the number of elephants to as high as 700. They migrate here from Wasgamuwa National Park and benefited from food and shelter of the park's forest. Tourists visit Minneriya largely because of elephants, especially in the dry season.
The park is also 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 also frequent the park. Rare and endangered species such as Sri Lankan leopard and Sri Lankan sloth bear also inhabit in Minneriya. Minneriya is one of the areas that the gray slender loris is reportedly found in Sri Lanka.
The Minneriya reservoir is an important habitat for large water birds such as lesser adjutant, painted stork, and spot-billed pelican. Minneriya is a dormitory for many residents as well as migrant bird species. Instances of occurring a flock of 2000 little cormorants have been reported. Great white pelican, ruddy turnstone, and grey heron are the other water birds can be seen here. Among the endemic birds are Sri Lanka Junglefowl, Sri Lanka hanging parrot, brown-capped babbler, Sri Lanka grey hornbill, black-crested bulbul and Crimson-fronted barbet.
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