Gal Oya National Park
Situated in the eastern part of Sri Lanka, Galoya is an ecological destination and a National Park which centered around the Senanayaka Samudra Reservoir the largest inland body of water in Sri Lanka. Galoya is a great place for bird watching, nature expeditions and Elephants. The National Park lies south-east of the country in the eastern and uva provinces.In addition to the national park, three sanctuaries were declared to protect the catchments area of this tank. They areSenanayake Samudra SanctuaryGal Oya Valley North-East SanctuaryGal Oya Valley South-West SanctuaryTogether these reserves and the national park cover approx 63,000 ha of land. The park and the three sanctuaries was established by the Gal Oya Development board on 12 February 1954 and subsequently handed over to the Department of Wild life conservation in 1965Gal Oya is a valley, which has given refuge to several kings in the ancient past. In the 2nd century BC, king Tissa sought refuge at the Digavapi, a place Lord Buddha has visited in his third visit to Sri Lanka.
The Digavapi Dagoba, built in the 2nd century BC to mark the spot where the Lord Buddha sat on his last visit to Sri Lanka, attracts thousands of pilgrims even today.FloraAbout 45% of the vegetation is evergreen forest, 33% savanna, 9% grassland, 2% cheina cultivations and the balance is water bodies dominated by Senanayake Samudraya. A host of medicinal shrubs and trees such as Aralu, Bulu, Nelli can be readily found in the Nilgala area, while a number of locally known trees such as Vevarana, Halmilla, Veera, Palu, Ebony and Mahogany are found in great numbers.FaunaThe park with its thick green canopy is a haven for species of birds and nearer to the Samudraya even migratory birds such as Painted Storks, Pelicans, Cormorants and Teals could be seen. A host of local birds such as the Grey Dove, Malabar Horn Bill and Grey Horn Bill, Koel and a number of water birds are found in this jungle habitat.In addition to elephants, the park is home to leopards, bear, spotted deer, sambur, wild boar etc. Among other fauna are several species of monkeys, Porcupine, a number of fish species, reptiles and four species of butterflies such as the Crimson rose and Glassy Tiger have been recorded.