Location: Eastern Province | Sri Lanka
Nearest City: Hambantota
Nearest Airport: Bandaranayake Airport | Sri Lanka
Coordinates: 6°30′47″N 81°41′16″E
Area: 35,664 hectares (88,130 acres)
Established: 20 January 1970
Governing Body: Department of Wildlife Conservation
Country: Sri Lanka | Asia
Most Popular: Birds, Wildlife
Kumana National Park in Sri Lanka is famous for its avifauna, especially large flocks of migratory waterfowl and wading birds. The park is located on Sri Lanka’s southeastern coast, 391 kilometers (243 miles) southeast of Colombo. Kumana National Park is adjacent to Yala National Park. Kumana was previously known as Yala East National Park, but it was renamed Kumana on September 5, 2006. Because of LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) attacks, the park was closed from 1985 to March 2003. It was also impacted by the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.
The national park’s southern boundary is Kumbukkan Oya. The national park’s extensive birdlife is supported by 20 lagoons and tanks. The lagoons are shallow, with depths of no more than 2 meters (6.6 ft). Kumana villu is occasionally inundated with seawater. The area’s elevation ranges from sea level to 90 meters (300 ft). The average annual temperature is 27.30 °C (81.14 °F), and the annual rainfall is 1,300 millimeters (51.18 in).
“Kumana National Park is 391 kilometers (243 miles) southeast of Colombo. The national park’s extensive bird life is supported by 20 lagoons and tanks. Kumana was previously known as Yala East National Park, but was renamed Kumana on September 5, 2006.”
The wetland areas of the park are surrounded by dry zone tropical thorn forest. Manilkara hexandra (Sinhalese “palu”), Hemicyclea sepieria, Bauhinia racemosa, Cassia fistula (“ehela”), Chloroxylon swietenia (“burutha”), and Salvadora persica species dominate the inland forest’s flora. Sonneratia caseolaris is the dominant tree in the Kumana villu, while Typha angustifolia is the dominant reed. The riverine forests along the Kumbukkan Oya are dominated by Terminalia arjuna trees. The swamp’s common aquatic plants include the vibrant Ludwigia spp., Nelumbo nucifera, Nymphaea pubescens, Aponogeton spp., and Neptunia oleracea.
“Manilkara hexandra (Sinhalese “palu”) and Salvadora persica species dominate the inland forest’s flora. Sonneratia caseolaris is the dominant tree in the Kumana villu. The riverine forests along the Kumbukkan Oya are dominated by Terminalia arjuna trees.”
Kumana Bird Sanctuary, established in 1938, is part of Kumana National Park. Kumana is one of Sri Lanka’s most important bird nesting and breeding grounds. The national park has been home to 255 different bird species. Tens of thousands of birds migrate to the Kumana swamp area from April to July. Breeding residents include the black-necked stork, lesser adjutant, Eurasian spoonbill, and great thick-knee. Waders from the families Scolopacidae and Charadriidae, as well as waterfowl, visit the area. Pintail snipes migrate here, flying from Siberia at distances ranging from 9,000 kilometers (5,600 miles) to 11,000 kilometers (6,800 miles). The following bird species migrate here in large numbers: Asian openbill, glossy ibis, purple heron, great egret, Indian pond heron, black-crowned night heron, intermediate egret, little egret, spot-billed pelican, Indian cormorant, little cormorant, common moorhen, watercock, purple swamphen, white-breasted waterhen, pheasant-tailed jacana, black-winged stilt, The yellow-footed green pigeon, greater racket-tailed drongo, Malabar trogon, red-faced malkoha, and sirkeer malkoha are among the rare birds that migrate to the swap. The park’s common wading birds include the Pacific golden plover, greater sand plover, lesser sand plover, grey plover, ruddy turnstone, little ringed plover, wood sandpiper, marsh sandpiper, common redshank, common sandpiper, curlew sandpiper, little stint, common snipe, and pintail snipe.
Tilapia and mullet are the most commonly caught species in the area, but Channa spp. are also caught on occasion. The park’s most common reptiles are mugger crocodiles, Indian flap-shelled turtles, and Indian black turtles. Feeding mammals include the golden jackal, wild boar, Sri Lankan elephant, European otter, and fishing cat. The number of elephants roaming in the Kumana is estimated to be between 30 and 40.
“Kumana is one of Sri Lanka’s most important bird nesting and breeding grounds. Tens of thousands of birds migrate to the Kumana swamp area from April to July. Pintail snipes migrate here at distances of up to 9,000 kilometers (5,600 miles).”
Cultural Significance and Conservation
The Kumana region is associated with an ancient civilization that dates back to the third century BC. Inscriptions on rocks dating back to the 2nd and 1st centuries BC have also been discovered in the area. The Kumana National Park is located on the traditional annual foot pilgrimage route to the Hindu temple at Kataragama. This pilgrimage is attended by both Tamil and Sinhalese communities. In recent years, the number of birds observed in the national park has decreased. Environmentalists and wildlife enthusiasts have expressed concern about a road that will run along the park’s coastline from Kirinda to Panama.
“The Kumana region is associated with an ancient civilization that dates back to the third century BC. The Kumana National Park is located on the traditional annual foot pilgrimage route to the Hindu temple at Kataragama. Environmentalists and wildlife enthusiasts have expressed concern about a road that will run along the park’s coastline.”
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