Pigeon Island National Park

IUCN category
II (National Park)
Designation type
National Park
Surface area
4.714 km²
Status year
Governing type
Federal or national ministry or agency
Management authority
Department of Wildlife Conservation

Pigeon Island National Park is one of the two marine national parks in Sri Lanka Consisting of two islands situated a kilometer off the coast of Nilaveli, It encompasses an area of 417.429 hectares, and contains some of the best remaining coral reefs of Sri Lanka. Named after the rock pigeon which has colonized it, the islands were designated as a national park in 2003. These islands also have a history of being used as shooting practice grounds during the colonial era situated in the dry zone of Sri Lanka, the two islands of the Pigeon Island National Park are named the large pigeon island and the small pigeon island. The large pigeon island is about 200m long and 100m wide and is fringed by a coral reef, while the small pigeon island is surrounded by rocky islets and coral reefs. Since the most rain is received during the North-eastern monsoon from October to March, the ideal time to visit the park is during the dry weather from April to September.

Acropora, Montipora, Faviidae, Mussidae and Poritidae species dominates the coral reefs around the islands, with soft corals also being recorded. The reef is home to many aquatic species; both vertebrates and invertebrates, with many of the 100 species of corals and 300 species of reef fishes recorded in the vicinity being found within the park. Other aquatic animals such as the blacktip reef shark, Hawksbill turtle, green turtle and olive ridley are known to visit the reef. The park is an ideal spot for scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, boat rides and sight-seeing.