Wilpattu National Park Sri Lanka – The leopard sanctuary

Wilpattu National Park Sri Lanka is the oldest and largest national park; also known as the leopard sanctuary in Sri Lanka, famous for its population of leopards.

Historical importance

About 500 BC, prince Vijaya and his followers from India landed at Thambapanni in the North West of Wilpattu defeating the Rakshas who inhabited this area; settled down and developed the land to originate the Sinhala kingdom. Many archaeological remains of that era are scattered around Wilpattu. To view these ruins, guidance of a competent tour guide is advised.

Way to explore

The best way to explore this park is to get professional guidance from Cinnamon Nature Trails one of many operators that offer Sri Lanka Guided Tours with a resort located near the park.

Wilpattu Park features

It is a large park sanctuary spread over 130,000 hectares in the North West coast of the dry zone in Sri Lanka, west of Anuradhapura. What’s unique about this park is that it is dotted with small natural lakes or ‘Villus’ collecting rain water for wildlife.

Animal population

It is world famous for its leopard population, has the largest collection of leopards also known as the Panthera pardus kotiya in Sri Lanka. The park is also famous for Sloth bears and barking deer.

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Sri Lankan Sloth Bear – The nocturnal solitary bear of the island

Sri Lankan sloth bears with their shaggy black coats are now restricted to the Northern and Eastern lowlands jungles of Sri Lanka. They normally aren’t easily seen as they are quite the shy animals and enjoy their solitude.

Sri Lankan sloth bear

It is a sub species a little different to its Indian cousin and are omnivores, so they enjoy eating small fruits, bee hives and even small insects like ants and termites. They have specially developed a lower lip for gathering these small insects. You will most often find the young cubs sometimes ride on their mother’s back or perched on top of a tree as these animals are excellent climbers.


Sri Lankan sloth bears are found in jungles especially in the dry zone. This bear can easily be spotted in Yala and Wilpattu national parks. There are many instances where humans have been attacked by the she bears with her cubs and some tribal villagers have suffered as a result of this. Therefore, close encounters are best avoided while on your jungle trek.

How to view these sloth bears

The best way to see them is to get assistance from a tour operator like Cinnamon Nature Trails, one of the many Sri Lanka wildlife tour operators that provide customized packages for customers.

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Plan a Trip to Wilpattu National Park Sri Lanka – Get one with nature!

Embark on a journey to witness nature at its best and raw state, discover tranquillity as you wander through the wilderness at the Wilpattu National Park.

Image Credit- Rehman Abubakr, WilpattuNationalPark-April2014 (8)CC BY-SA 4.0


Located 26 Kilometers north of Puttalam and 30 Kilometers west Anuradhapura, Wilpattu Sri Lanka is placed at the lowland dry zone in the north western region of Sri Lanka. It has a number of lakes and tanks supporting a variety of wildlife. It is also regarded as one of the oldest and largest nature reserves in Sri Lanka.

A bit of History

The park was designated as a sanctuary in 1905 and was upgraded to a national park in the year of 1938. Today it has become as one of the most sought over nature travel destinations in Sri Lanka.


The region receives an annual rainfall of approximately 1000mm and the average temperature fluctuates between 25-30 Degrees. The inter monsoonal rains during March and the north east monsoonal period from December – February are the main sources of rain and what makes this land thrive with wildlife.

The Experience

The reserve is home to an extensive range of flora and fauna, some of the species of plants and animals are endemic to Sri Lanka. Witnessing them up-close and personal will certainly be a worthy experience and you can make that happen by planning your tour with Cinnamon Nature Trails.

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