Elephants are the most often-spotted inhabitants of the vast
Yala National Park in the southeast of Sri Lanka, east of Matara,
but they share the reserve with 130 different species of birds and
other creatures like sambhur, spotted deer, sloths, crocodiles,
monkeys, wild boar and porcupines. There is also a large
concentration of leopards in this, the country's oldest protected
area. Most of the reserve is open parkland, but it also contains
jungle, beaches, lakes and rivers. Areas of the park were badly
damaged by the 2004 tsunami, but most parts are open to the public.
The park is somewhat remote, the nearest town being Tissa, and is
situated about 190 miles (305km) from Colombo. Yala is also dotted
with a number of fascinating archaeological sites, like the Magul
Maha Vihara ruins, dating from the 1st century BC.