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Tuesday, 06 November 2018 18:09

Wilpattu National Park - 27th and 28th October 2018

Participants
A total of 26 members accompanied by the Hon Gen Secretary of WNPS embarked on this journey to visit the Wilpattu National Park. Mr. Kithsiri Gunawardena, our expert resource person, joined us at the park bungalow.

Travel Route
WNPS Head Office at Battaramulla - Rajagiriya - Borella - Dematagoda - New Kelani Bridge - Katunayake Expressway - Negombo - Chilaw - Puttalam - Wilpattu National Park.

Theme
The main theme of the visit was to view the various species of animals and birds in their natural jungle habitat within the Wilpattu National Park.

Saturday 27 th October 2018
wilpattu02We gathered in time at the Head Office of the WNPS at Rajamalwatte Road, Battaramulla and after loading our luggage started off at 0509 hours. The threat of late comers being left behind had worked wonders amongst us Sri Lankans, some of whom are used to JMT (Jaffna Man’s Time) and not GMT. We journeyed on in a spacious and comfortable 45 seater AC bus with much room to spare. For the first time the camera bag rode shotgun on the adjoining seat instead of being cramped up underneath the seat in the space behind the feet.

We arrived at the Chilaw Rest House around 0700 hours. A self serving breakfast awaited us, after which we left on time at 0800 hours. Our next stop, at 0915 hours, was a short stop at the Puttalam market to stock up on fresh fruits and for last minute shopping for our participants.

wilpattu03We arrived at the Wilpattu park entrance at 1100 hours. Our luggage was loaded onto a jeep and we piled into the other 4 jeeps for our ride to the Maradanmaduwa bungalow which we reached by 1200 noon. This spacious bungalow has two wings, each of which was furnished with 20 bunk beds; with a total capacity to sleep 80 visitors. Each bed bunk was protected from mosquitoes and other insects by a mosquito net hanging from the ceiling. Each wing had its own set of tiled toilets with a good flow of water. Electricity was provided by solar power and was restricted to lighting; charging phones and cameras was not possible and this was done by using portable power banks. The gents occupied the left wing whilst the ladies were housed in the right wing of the bungalow.

wilpattu04A lunch of tasty lamprise brought from Pelawatte was a delightful surprise. Fresh curd and treacle was served for dessert; the curd was so fresh and milky that it hardly needed the treacle. We rested for a short while and started on our first jeep safari at 1400 hours. It began to rain at 1515 hours and it lasted for about half an hour after which it fortunately turned into a light drizzle, enabling us to continue as usual with our safari. The special sighting for the evening was of the sloth bear which was sighted close to our bungalow of the road leading towards the entrance. We watched it for about 25 minutes while to foraged for termites quite unconcerned by our presence. We returned to our bungalow at 1800 hours.

We gathered around 1930 hours to listen to Mr. Kithsiri Gunawardena who shared with us his knowledge on general wildlife management and on the leopards of Wilpattu. This was followed by a question and answer session, after which we partook of dinner.

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Sunday 28 th October 2018
wilpattu08We were ready for tea, coffee and biscuits at 0530 hours an left on the morning jeep safari at 0600 hours. Sambur, crocodiles, spotted deer, jackals and many birds were seen. We were back at the bungalow at 0945 hours for breakfast. The Kiri bath, pol roti breakfast was well appreciated. Water melon and pawpaw followed. We packed up our belongings at left by jeeps, vacating the bungalow by 1100 hours. A leopard was sighted on the way back to the entrance, close to Percy bandi wewa.

At the park entrance our luggage was loaded into the bus and we departed from Wilpattu. We reached Puttalam at 1330 hours and drove on to reach Negombo at 1505 hours for a snack and a comfort stop. Thereafter to continued on our journey reaching the WNPS head office around 1500 hours.

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A VISITOR AT THE BUNGALOW
wilpattu13Our special evening visitor at the bungalow was a prickly looking Porcupine. Quite contrary to popular belief it did not shoot out its sharp quills at us but gently sniffed our toes !! - an up close first time experience for most of us.

IN GENERAL
The weather was hot and sunny in the mornings and cloudy in the afternoons. A short shower on Saturday evening was followed by a continuous drizzle.

Our appreciation to :-

  • The Hon. General Secretary WNPS the WNPS Committee and staff for the time and effort spent in organizing the trip and the flawless logistical arrangements
  • Mr. Kithsiri Gunawardena for sharing his valuable knowledge on wild life management in general and on leopards, which was very interesting and educative
  • The Bus driver for his careful driving and bringing us back safe and sound 
  • Our special thanks to all participants for adhering to the email sent to all of us viz. “Consumption of alcohol is strictly prohibited throughout the trip”
  • All our participants for their pleasant friendly companionship and camaraderie which added greatly to an enjoyable field visit.

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wilpattu15This field visit report was compiled by Sri with photographs by Sri; the picture of the leopard was by Spencer M. The views expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily those of the WNPS.

Last modified on Tuesday, 06 November 2018 18:35