Yala Strict Nature Reserve Sri Lanka
Yala is a complex of National Reserves consisting five Blocks (97,881.3 hectares), including a Yala Strict Nature Reserve – SNR and three Sanctuaries covering an area of 151,778.8 hectares. Out of these five blocks of Yala, only Block I is open for public which is an area of 14,100.6 Ha in extent.
Yala is known for its variety of eco-systems and rich biodiversity. It is situated in s dry semi-arid climatic region hosts various ecosystems from moist monsoon forests to freshwater and marine wetlands. Being situated in an area that hosted ancient civilizations, Yala not only consists of pilgrim sites such as Sithulpawwa and Magul viharaya, but also several ancient man made tanks such as Maha Seelawawa and Buthawa tank.
Yala is one of the 70 important bird areas (IBAs) in Sri Lanka and boasts of a recorded 215 bird species, out of which seven are endemic to the country. Out of the 90 water birds in Yala, half are migrants. 44 species of mammals are resident in Yala including Sri Lankan elephant. It also has one of the highest leopard densities in the world and also harbors many threatened species such as Sri Lankan sloth bear, leopard, elephant and wild buffalo. 47 reptile species (with 6 endemic species), 18 amphibian species (with 2 being endemic) and 21 freshwater fish species has also been recorded in Yala.
Refence – DWC – Department of Wildlife Conservations
SLTPB – Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau