THE ANIMALS OF YALA: PART 1 MAMMALS
de Silva Wijeyeratne, G. (2004). The Animals of Yala: Part 1 Mammals. Serendipity. February 2004. Page 8.
Yala or Ruhunu National Park in situated in the south-east corner of Sri Lanka. It is one of the best national parks in the country for observing a wide diversity of animals. It is particularly good when it comes to observing mammals.
Grey Langur (Presbytis entellus)
The Grey Langur is found mainly in the dry lowlands of Sri Lanka. It is encountered in small troops in the dry thorn scrub forests. Like all monkeys it can become habituated to humans, but is likely to be less aggressive to humans than the Toque Monkey. It feeds mainly on a vegetarian diet. In the park, the Grey Langurs are still quite shy and will move away if approached too closely. In Yala, their main predator is the Leopard. A troop will often make the presence of a Leopard known by their loud barking alarm calls.
Toque Monkey (Macaca sinica)
The Toque Monkey is found throughout Sri Lanka in three sub species. The dry zone sub-species Macaca sinica sinica, is found in Yala. It is not a common species and the best chance of seeing it in Yala is where people are allowed to alight at the Menik Ganga. It has an omnivorous diet with its food ranging from fruits and leaves to small animals and their eggs. The social life of all the primates are very complex and it can be fascinating to observe the social dynamics of animals in a troop.
Jackal (Canis aureus)
The Jackal is the only wild member of the dog family in Sri Lanka. It us found throughout the island, but in greater numbers in the dry lowlands. The Jackal tends to be nocturnal in habit, where it is threatened by the presence of humans. Yala is one of the best places to see the animals in the wild as it can be seen not too infrequently in search of food in small packs of up to 4 or 5 individuals. It prefers to hunt or scavenge animals, but will also consume fruits and berries.
Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus)
The Sloth Bear is restricted to large areas of scrub forest in the dry lowlands. As it is primarily a nocturnal animal, day time sightings are quite rare. In Yala, Leopards are more frequently encountered than Bears. However, in June and July, the fruits of the Palu Tree (Manilkara hexandra) are ripe and attract bears. During this period, day time sightings, become relatively easy. The Sloth Bears are also more tolerant of vehicles during this time and may continue to feed on the fruits, unperturbed by the presence of vehicles.
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