Wilpattu, Sri Lanka’s largest park, is situated in the dry lowlands of the island’s north-west and comprises a series of lakes – or villus – with varying degrees of freshness or salinity.
The park reopened in 2003 after nearly 15 years of closure. Over time, the wildlife should recover to its former abundance and become more habituated to vehicles – at the moment the animals are wary of any human presence. Wilpattu was famous for its leopards, and big-cat enthusiasts are hoping this reputation will return. The park’s fauna is similar to Yala, but visitors also have a chance of seeing the muntjac or barking deer.
Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne runs Sri Lankan tour operator Jetwing Eco, and is the author and photographer of a number of wildlife publications.