Udawalawe National Park lies on the boundary of Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces, in Sri Lanka, 170 km southeast of Colombo. The national park was created to provide a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe Reservoir on the Walawe River, as well as to protect the catchment of the reservoir. In the center of the park is the great Udawalawe reservoir and the park covers an area of approximately 30,821 hectares in the dry zone where the long dry season is characteristic feature.
This Park comprises grasslands and thorn scrubs and many valuable species of trees especially teak. The grasslands make it an open habitat and the elephants are easily visible at close range. Many elephants are attracted to the park because of the Udawalawe reservoir, with a herd of about 250 to be permanently resident. It is a popular tourist destination and the third most visited park in the country.
There are Leopards, Spotted Deer, Sambar, Wild Boars, Gray Langurs, Toque Monkeys, Golden Jackals, Wild Water Buffaloes, Crocodiles and 30 varieties of snakes.
Udawalawe National Park includes a wide diversity of bird life too, endemics such as Sri Lanka spur fowl, red-faced malkoha, Sri Lanka grey hornbill, brown-capped babbler, and Sri Lanka jungle fowl are among of the breeding resident birds. White wagtail and black-capped kingfisher are rare migrants. A variety of water birds visit the reservoir, including cormorants, the spot-billed pelican, Asian openbill, painted stork, black-headed ibis and Eurasian spoonbill.
The open parkland attracts birds of prey such as white-bellied sea eagle, crested serpent-eagle, grey-headed fish eagle, booted eagle, and changeable hawk-eagle. Land birds are in abundance, and include Indian roller, Indian peafowl, Malabar pied hornbill and pied cuckoo.
Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home is a facility within the park established in 1995 by the Sri Lanka Department of Wildlife Conservation. Its primary objective is to rehabilitate orphaned / handicapped elephant calves for ultimate release back into the wild.