Yala National Park, Sri Lanka

"With trumpeting elephants, monkeys crashing through the trees, peacocks in their finest frocks and cunning leopards sliding like shadows through the undergrowth, Yala National Park (also known as Ruhunu) is The Jungle Book brought to glorious life. This vast region of dry woodland and open patches of grasslands is the big draw of this corner of Sri Lanka … Yala combines a strict nature reserve with a national park, bringing the total protected area to 126,786 hectares of scrub, light forest, grassy plains and brackish lagoons. It’s divided into five blocks, with the most visited being Block I (14,101 hectares), which, at the time of research, was the only one actually open to tourists. Also known as Yala West, this block was originally a reserve for hunters, but was given over to conservation in 1938.

"With over 35 leopards, Yala West has one of the world’s densest leopard populations and is renowned as one of the best places in which to see one of these stunning cats. Panthera pardus kotiya, the subspecies you may well see, is unique to Sri Lanka. The best time to spot leopards is February to June or July, when the water levels in the park are low. Elephants are also well-known inhabitants (the best time to spot them is also between February and July), and with luck you’ll also get to see the shaggy-coated sloth bear or some of the fox-like jackals. Sambars, spotted deer, boars, crocodiles, buffaloes, mongooses and monkeys are here in their hundreds. Around 150 species of birds have been recorded at Yala, many of which are visitors escaping the northern winter." (Source: Lonely Planet Sri Lanka 2012.)


A road inside the park

Monitor Lizard (more)

Painted Stork

A river in the park

Leopard on a tree (1, 2)

Leopard with its kill, a Langur monkey

Blocking the road (more)

Toque macaque (1, 2, 3)

Learning new tricks (1, 2)

Mud shower (1, 2, 3)

Mother with two children (1, 2, 3)

Mothers with their young (1, 2, 3)

Goofy baby (1, 2)

Staying close to mom (more)

A road inside the park (more)

Hugging the southern coast

Snakebird (1, 2)

Green Bee-eater (more)

Eurasian Spoonbill

Crocodile (more)

Park Landscape

Elephant Rocks

Park landscape (more)

Park landscape

Crossing the road (more)

Baby following mom (more)

A female in a large parade (more)

Watching from afar (more)

Checking out the visitors

Mother with children (1, 2, 3)

A female in a large parade

Checking out the visitors

Malabar Pied Hornbill

Sri Lankan Junglefowl

Grey Heron

Malabar Pied Hornbill (1, 2, 3)

Emerging from the foliage

Frolicking in the pond

A female from a parade

Mothers with children (1, 2)

Langur Monkeys

Spotted deer (more)

Spotted Deer

Scurrying mongooses

Eastern Great Egret

Water Buffalo (more)

Buffalo in a rainshower (more)

Peacock (more)

Safari Jeep

Ear bitten off?

Monitor Lizard (1, 2)

Closeup (more)

Approaching our jeep (1, 2)

Coastal village inside Yala NP

Lake Tissa, Tissamaharama

Leafless tree


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