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Yala National Park Facts
Yala National Park is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka, bordering the Indian Ocean.
Yala National Park covers 979 square kilometres (378 sq mi).
The area around Yala has hosted several ancient civilizations. Two important pilgrim sites, Sithulpahuwa and Magul Vihara, are situated within the park.
The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami caused severe damage on the Yala National Park and 250 people died in its vicinity.
On 1 March 1938, Yala became a national park when the Flora and Fauna Protection Ordinance was passed into law by D. S. Senanayake, the minister of agriculture.
Yala is one of the 70 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Sri Lanka.
Yala National Park consists of five blocks, two of which are now open to the public, and also adjoining parks.
Yala was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900, and, along with Wilpattu was one of the first two national parks in Sri Lanka, having been designated in 1938.
Yala National Park has a variety of ecosystems including moist monsoon forests, dry monsoon forests, semi-deciduous forests, thorn forests, grasslands, marshes, marine wetlands, and sandy beaches.
The Yala area is mostly composed of metamorphic rock belonging to the Precambrian era and classified into two series, Vijayan series and Highland series.