Kumana National Park

Kumana National Park in Sri Lanka is renowned for its avifauna, particularly its large flocks of migratory waterfowl and wading birds. The park is 391 kilometres (243 mi) southeast of Colombo on Sri Lanka’s southeastern coast. Kumana is contiguous with Yala National Park.Kumana was formerly known as Yala East National Park, but changed to its present name in 5 September 2006.

The park was closed from 1985 to March 2003 because of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam) attacks. It was also affected by the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004.

Kumbukkan Oya forms the southern boundary of the national park.[2] Some 20 lagoons and tanks support the extensive birdlife of the national park.[5] The lagoons are shallow with depths less than 2 metres (6.6 ft). Kumana villu is subject to occasional inundation with seawater. The elevation of the area ranges from sea level to 90 metres (300 ft). The mean annual temperature is 27.30 °C (81.14 °F) and the area receives 1,300 millimetres (51.18 in) of annual rainfall.

The Kumana area is part of an ancient civilization that goes back to the 3rd century BC. Rock inscriptions belonging to the 2nd and 1st centuries BC have also been found in the region. The Kumana National Park lies on the route of the traditional annual foot Pilgrimage to the Hindu temple at Kataragama. Both Tamil and Sinhalese communities take part in this pilgrimage.

The number of birds observed in the national park has fallen in recent years. Environmentalists and wildlife lovers have expressed their concern over a road planned to be constructed from Kirinda to Panama which will run along the coastline of the park.

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