Wilpattu National Park or better known as the Land of Lakes is a park is located 30 km west of Anuradhapura and located 26 km north of Puttalam (approximately 180 km north of Colombo).
The park is 131, 693 hectares and ranges from 0 to 152 meters above sea level. Nearly sixty lakes and tanks are found spread throughout Wilpattu. It is the largest and one of the oldest National Parks in Sri Lanka and is among the top national parks, world renowned for its Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) population.
The unique feature of this park is the existence of “Willus” (Natural lakes), Natural sand-rimmed water basins or depressions that fill with rainwater.
The Mahavansa records that in 543 BC Prince Vijaya landed at Kudrimalai Point (Horse Point), married Kuweni and the Sinhalese race was born. In 1905 the area was designated a sanctuary and in 1938 it was upgraded to the National Park status.
There are many types of vegetation to be found in Wilpattu; Littoral vegetation, including Salt grass and low scrub monsoon forest with tall emergents, such as Palu, and Satin, Milla, Weera, Ebony and Wewarna.
31 species of mammals have been identified within Wilpattu national park that are categorized as threatened species. Also living within the Wilpattu National Park are the elephant, Sloth bear, water Buffalo, Sambhur, spotted deer, mongoose and shrew are other Wilpattu residents.
The painted stork, the open bill, little cormorant, Sri Lanka Junglefowl along with many species of owls, terns, gulls, eagles and kite buzzards are to be found at Wilpattu National Park. Wetland bird species that can be seen in Wilpattu are the Garganey, Pin tail, Whistling teal, Spoonbill, White ibis, Large white egret, Cattle egret and Purple heron.
The most common reptiles found in the park are the Monitor Lizard, Mugger crocodile, Common cobra, Rat snake, Indian python, Pond turtle and the Soft shelled turtle that are resident’s in the large permanent Villus.