Launch of "Wilpattu: Villus and Beyond"

01 March 2010 | News story

The Wilpattu National Park was re-opened to the general public by the Hon.Patali Champika Ranawaka, Minister of Environment & Natural Resources on the invitation of Mr W A D A Wijesuriya, Director General of Department of Wildlife Conservation on 27 February, 2010.

This park, is the oldest and the largest National Park in Sri Lanka and is located in the fringes of the Northern Province, was beset by separatist violence and has been inaccessible for nearly three decades. It was re-opened for visitors in 2003 during a ceasefire, which provided an opportunity to examine its long-neglected flora, fauna and archaeological resources in order to develop an integrated management plan for conservation and management of the park.

IUCN Sri Lanka undertook this sometimes risky survey during the short period when it was open before the Park was again closed for visitors due to terrorist activities.  This is perhaps the only systematic examination of the Wilpattu Park after the work of Eisenberg & Lockhart in 1972, and provides an insight into the floral, faunal and archaeological inventory of the Park.  This work is doubly important in that the Park has many threatened and vulnerable species.

The results of the survey are embodied in a book, Wilpattu – Villus and Beyond, compiled by Vimukthi Weeratunge.  The book was also launched when the Park was re-opened by the Hon. Minister. The book is illustrated with some beautiful photographs, mainly from IUCN Sri Lanka staff members, which bring an added value.  It documents the floral and faunal diversity as well as the archaeologically important sites – an aspect hitherto not well documented.