Minneriya National Park is located in the north central plains of Sri Lanka. The central feature here is the ancient Minneriya Tank reservoir, which attracts elephant herds and huge flocks of birds.
In order to protect the catchment and historical importance of the Minneriya Tank (a reservoir built in 3 AD), this wildlife sanctuary was recognised as a national park in 1997. It is here that huge numbers of Asian elephants (200+) come to bathe, socialise and feed on the fresh grass when the water in the reservoir begins to recede.
Whilst the elephants are the highlight, the Tank also attracts over 170 species of bird including migratory waders such as the wood sandpiper and forest birds such as hornbills. The park is home to 24 species of mammal including monkeys, mongoose, bear, deer and porcupine and numerous reptile species including monitor lizards.
The park forms part of the elephant corridor as they migrate between Kaudulla in the north and Wasgamuwa in the south. The peak season for observing these huge herds is in August and September as they gather in Minneriya, however May to October is the best overall season to visit.
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