Wilpattu Ramsar Wetland Cluster

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Wilpattu Ramsar Wetland Cluster

  • Country: 
    Sri Lanka
  • Site number: 
  • Area: 
    165,800 ha
  • Designation date: 
  • Coordinates: 
    08°32'N 80°10'E
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Wilpattu Ramsar Wetland Cluster. 02/02/2013; North Western, North Central provinces; 165,800 ha; 08º32'27"N 080º10'01"E. National Park. The site encompasses all of Wilpattu National Park (Willu-pattu meaning 'Land of Lakes'), declared in 1938. Some 205 water bodies, both natural and manmade, were identified within the boundary of the park. A unique feature is the numerous 'villus' which are natural, sand-rimmed water basins ranging between 10 to 160 hectares that are filled with rainwater. The varying salt content of the villus offer an ideal habitat for a wide range of resident and migrant wildlife species, including the endangered Asia Elephant Elephas maximus, the vulnerable Lesser Adjutant (Leptoptilos javanicus) and the vulnerable freshwater crocodile Crocodylus palustris. Seagrass beds, mangroves, salt marshes, swamps and floodplain forests are also found and contribute to the area's rich biodiversity. Twenty-one endemic species of vertebrates have been recorded at the site, including the endangered Sri Lankan Leopard (Panthera pardus ssp. Kotiya) and the Ceylon Swallow (Hirundo hyperythra). The site once supported a thriving agricultural civilization, demonstrated by its 68 archaeologically important sites. Currently, communities in the southeastern and western areas rely on commercial and subsistence fisheries, while those in other areas depend upon agriculture. Invasive aquatic species, logging, slash and burn agriculture threaten the site. Ramsar Site no. 2095. Most recent RIS information: 2013.

Administrative region: 
North Western and North Central Provinces

  • National legal designation: 
    • National Park
  • Last publication date: 


Ramsar Information Sheet (RIS)

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