Lunugamvehera National Park is the immediate catchment of Lunugamvehera reservoir. The park serves as a link between the Yala Protected Area Complex on its east and Udawalawe National Park to its west and facilities the ranging of elephants to and from areas such as Haldummula and Koslanda in Uva and the southern region of Sri Lanka.
This National Park falls within the divisional secretaries' (Ds) divisions of Thanamalwila, Wellawaya, Kataragama and But tala in Moneragala district and DS divison of lunugamvehera in Hambantota District.
The park office is situated at Lunugamvehera on Wellawaya- Hambantota road. There are two main access routes to the park Head quarters from Colombo.
Via Ratnapura, Uda walawe, Thanamalwila to Lunugam- vehera (approximately 231 km)
Via Hambantota, Tissamaharama, Thanamalwila to Lunugamvehera (approximately 265 km)
Lying in the dry zone, conditions are characterized by an annual drought coinciding with the south-west monsoon. The physiography of the park is characterized by a vast featureless gently undulating plain with rock knob plains generally occupying the slightly elevated areas in south. The park is located at an average elevation of 91m with sittarama being the highest peak of 290 m.
The total extent of park is 23,498 ha (235 km2). A significant area (14%) of the park is occupied by the Lunugamvehera reservoir. At full capacity the reservoir occupies 3,283 ha and other small tanks within the park cover an area of 50 ha. Thus the total dry land area of the park is 20,156.8 ha.
The climate in the park is characterized by a bimodal seasonal rainfall pattern and uniform high temperature conditions. The average annual rainfall at Thanamalwila is about 1,000 mm and the rainfall in the park area decreases from north to south and west to east. The annual average temperature is about 300C.
Date and History of Establishment :
This park is established on O8th December 1995.
The vegetation includes different stages of forest succession along with scrub/grasslands mosaics. The shifting (chena) cultivation has caused degradation of the forest communities to open thorny shrub and grassland communities. The dense forest which is dry mixed evergreen forest dominated by weera Drypetes sepiaria, palu Manilkara hexandra, kon Schleichera oleosa, hik Lannea coromandelica, kunumella Disopyros ovalifolia, kirikon Walsura piscidia, ul kenda Polyalthea korinti, kunumella Diospyros ovalifolia, him tambala Carmona microphylla, keppetiya Croton lacciferus and Coffea wightiana. The principal species. dominating grasslands include Mayaurathana Chloris montana, Eragrostis spp., lschaemum spp., durvathana Cynodon dactylon, C. barberi, guinea tana Panicum maximum, illuk lmperata cylindrica. Gandapana Lantana camera podisingho maran Chromolaena ordorata, Nidikumba Mimosa pudica, Hinthambala Carmona microphylla and katupila Securinega leucopyrus are mainly found in open scrub vegetations abandoned chena cultivation lands. Teak and Eucalyptus plantations are also found.
Twenty one (21) fish species, 12 amphibians, 33 reptiles, 184 birds and 43 mammals were recorded. The teak plantations are frequented by the elephants. Elephas maximus. Among the mammals domestic feral/wild buffalo Bubalus bubalis are found in abundance and palm squirrel Funambulua palmarum, gaint squirrel Ratufa macroua, porcupine Hystrix indica, palm cat Paradoxurus ! hemiphroditus,. grey mongoose Herpestes edwardi, brown mongoose Hfuscus, blacktipped mongoose H. smithi, wild boar Sus scrofa, mouse deer Tragulus meminna and spotted deer Ax ix axis ceylonensis are found to be common. Sloth bear Melursus ursinus and leopard Panthera pardus kotiya also occur in natural low density.
Out of the birds observed in the park, only Sri Lanka jungle fowl Gallus lafayettii can be listed as endemic and nationally threatened. Of the amphibians, Atukorale's dwarf toad Bufo atukoralei and burrowing frog Tomopterna breviceps are found to be endemic and nationally threatened and Rana gracilis is an endemic with globally threatened status. Among the reptiles marsh crocodile Crocodylus palustris, star tortoise Ceochelone elegans, spot -shelled terrapin and python Python molurus are globally threatened. All the endemic reptiles found in the park, i.e. common agamid lizard Calotes versicolor, green garden lizard C. calotes, red-Iipped lizard C. ceylonensis, crocodile gecko Emidactylus leschenulti, termite hill gecko H. triedrus and green pit viper Trimeresurus trigonocephala and two others i.e. Russel's viper Daboia russelli and green keelback Macrophisthodon plumbicolor have been listed as nationally threatened.
Visitors and Visitor Facilities :
At present this park does not cater for tourism.
Information by- Department of Wildlife Conservation