The south-east of Sri Lanka (Ampara district) provides the location for Gal Oya National Park which was established in 1954 by the Gal Oya Development Board with the purpose of protecting the catchment area of the ‘Senanayake Samudra’ Reservoir. The park was handed over to the department of Wildlife Conservation in 1965. The Park has been widened from its original 9324 hectares to nearly 63,000 hectares today offering a nature preserve to many wildlife while winning its name as a big game sanctuary in the region.
The park is comprised with rich wetland which provides an ideal haven for nearly 150 species of Sri Lanka’s 430 species of birds observed in this region. Endemic bird species like Grey Dove, Malabar Horn Bill and Grey Horn Bill, Red faced malkoha, the White-bellied Sea Eagle, and Grey-headed Fish Eagle too are found in abundance where the reservoir provides a home for feeding and nesting.
The Gal Oya park too is a home for about 32 species of mammals including Common Langur, endemic Toque macaque, Leopard, Sloth Bear, Elephants, Wild Boar, Water Buffalo, Sri Lankan Sambar Deer, Sri Lankan Axis Deer and Leopard.