Wasgamuwa national park is probably the best place to see sloth bears in Sri Lanka. The name Wasgamuwa literally derives from “Walas Gomuwa” which translates to Bear Forest. The sloth bear is a bear species specially adapted to a tropical omnivorous lifestyle. Insects are a delicacy for sloth bears. It is indigenous to the sub-continent region. The Sri Lankan sloth bear is an endemic subspecies present in the island’s dry zone forests. Deforestation is a major threat to the species because it exclusively depends on natural dry zone forests for food. The present wild population estimate is around 500. It is a highly threatened species. Interestingly, sloth bears share a common ancestor with leopards. In addition, Wasgamuwa national park is home to a herd of 150 Asian elephants. A new species of Asian elephants known as the marsh elephants (Elephas maximus vil aliya), is thought to call Wasgamuwa their home as well. The park is also an important bird area (IBA) with 143 bird species recorded so far.
Wasgamuwa National Park Opening and Closing Times – 6.00 a.m to 6.00 p.m
Wasgamuwa Safari Duration – 3 Hours
Major eco-systems inside Wasgamuwa National Park
- Tropical Dry Mixed Evergreen Forest
- Wetlands, Grasslands
- Abondoned chena cultivation
The area in Wasgamuwa National Park
Wasgamuwa National Park Total Area – 30,821 hectares
Other information about Wasgamuwa National Park
Status – National park, Important bird area (IBAs), Catment area of Minneriya wewa
Altitude – 100m to 885m
Annual Rainfall – 1146mm
Average annual temperature – 27.50C
Closest Towns – Minneriya, Habarana, Polonnaruwa
Nearest Hospital – Hingurakgoda District Hospital
Access Roads to Kaudulla National Park
- Colombo to Minneriya (191km)
- Habarana to Minneriya (9.4km)
- Dambulla to Minneriya (30.8km)
- Polonnaruwa to Minneriya (37.1km)
- Sigiriya to Minneriya (19.5km)
Major Attractions of Kaudulla Safari – Sri Lankan Elephant, Sri Lankan Sloth Bear, Birdlife
Best time to visit Minneriya National Park – July to October
Useful Tips for Wasgamuwa Safari Drive
- It is best to start early or late in to the afternoon when the animals come out of the shade.
- It will be a bumpy ride.
- Minneriya can get busy sometimes. You can ask your tracker to avoid the crowds if necessary.
- Take enough bottled water. Don’t forget to stay hydrated.
- Take care of yourself and others. Never get out of your safari jeep unless permitted by your tracker. Do not feed the animals inside the park. There are records of wild elephant attacks when safari jeeps got too close. Always remember that you are in the wild.