Minneriya National Park

Minneriya was declared a National Park in 1997. It encompasses an area of approximately 9,411 ha, which includes the former Minneriya-Giritale Sanctuary. The National Park lies within a complex of protected areas that includes Minneriya- Giritale Nature Reserve and Sigiriya Sanctuary, all of which were established with different but complimentary goals. The Nature Reserve protects the catchments of the three ancient irrigation tanks (Minneriya tank, Giritale tank and Prakram Samudra), Sigiriya Sanctuary safeguards the natural environment of the ancient ruins and Minneriya National Park was created to capitalize on the flow of tourism to this part of the ‘cultural triangle’.

More importantly, this park is one the most important habitats in the Mahaweli region for the long-term conservation of the elephant and associated flora and fauna. Furthermore, it is contiguous with Wasgomuwa National Park, Riverine Nature Reserve, Flood Plains National Park, Kaudulla National Park and Somawathiya National Park, providing tremendous opportunities for conservation in the Dry Zone at a landscape scale.

The Gathering of Asian elephants at Minneriya National Park takes place from around June to October each year, and has today become a well-known phenomenon in the world. During the peak dry season in the central province of Sri Lanka most of the other waterholes in the surrounding area dries out and ends up in cracked mud patches, and lush grasslands around Minneriya Reservoir becomes the only feeding ground for hungry elephants. Some 150-250 wild elephants gather around this ancient man-made reservoir Minneriya reservoir for feeding, bathing and social interaction between smaller herds, providing magical lifetime experience for its visitors.

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