Minneriya National Park
Minneriya National Park has an area of 8,889 hectares and is reputed for its large population of elephants. Other wildlife that can be sighted include wild buffaloes, wild boar, spotted deer, sloth bear, sambhur, leopards, crocodiles, jackals, nine species of amphibians, 25 kinds of reptiles, 160 species of birds, 26 varieties of fish and 78 varieties of butterflies.
THE ELEPHANT GATHERING
Every evening during the dry season (August to early October) between 150 and 200 elephants assemble on the banks of the Minneriya Reservoir to graze on the tank bed, where grasses have sprouted due to the low water levels. The elephants turn to this much needed fodder at a time when foliage in other areas dries up. According to wildlife authorities, the Minneriya gathering is the largest grouping of wild Asian elephants at any given time.