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Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation

Episode 19 – Wildlife Reserves in Batticaloa District

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A story about brotherhood

It was the year 2014 and those days I was working in Batticaloa District. There are several Reserves located in Batticaloa District and they all belong to the Department of Forest Conservation. There were no Reserves belonging to the Wildlife Department in this area. But the problem of wild elephants is there throughout the Batticaloa District. Therefore, the Beet Office was also maintained by the Wildlife Department. It was located near KalAdi Bridge. Several other officers worked under me in this office.

One day we received a message that a baby elephant was injured. When we went to the place, we saw male elephant calf about five years old lying down. When the calf was given saline, it got up and walked with difficulty towards the forest. Later we continued to look for the young elephant but did not find it. It was the time that L. T. T. E.  terror era and we didn’t walk much in the forests because there may be landmines planted by the terrorists.

About a week after this incident, a message came at around ten in the morning that an elephant had run into the village and was behaving violently. I had a limited staff to support me. Therefore, we went to the village with two army personnel. The elephant has behaved very violently. Usually, wild elephants attack villages at night but this incident happened in the morning. The elephant had gone to vicinity of a house and trampled a dog in front of it. There was also a pre-school nearby where children and people were shouting. We were looking for the elephant and the officers separated and went from place to place. In the meantime, we saw the elephant, it chased after us. Our vehicle was parked nearby and the driver was able to get into the vehicle. I did not get into the vehicle until others get into the it. But I realized that I don’t have time to get into the car. I ran and hid behind a tree. The elephant ran forward and I escaped. After some time, we shot the elephant and chased the elephant into the forest.

Then we investigated how this incident happened. We got to know that the baby elephant mentioned earlier is dead. While searching further, we found the dead body. The calf has eaten a hakkapatas (a food implanted with locally made mines). A male elephant has been crying and screaming near this calf for days. According to the information given by the villagers, it is the same elephant that came to this village. It was thought that the elephant had come to the village because of the suffering elephant calf.

I remembered this as a sensitive and pathetic event. Usually, elephants are accompanied by a mother or a herd, but here a male elephant is sitting with the calf. Maybe another elephant took care of a baby elephant that got away from the herd.

Many lives could have been lost in that incident.

Mr. Janaka Shantha Kumara

Mr. Janaka Shanta Kumara joined the Wildlife Department as a Grade 03 Wildlife Guard on 09.11.1998. He first worked at Bundala National Park, then worked at Thotabowa Site, Leegala Site and Mullegama Sites of the Gallawala National Park, Palatupana Headquarters and 3, 4, 5 Zones of the Yala National Park, Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home, Batticaloa Elephant Surveillance Unit and Turtle Conservation Center at Dodankumbura.

Currently he is working in Boondala National Park as a Grade I Wildlife Guard and also as the park Warden there.

He has completed a Diploma course conducted by the Department of Wildlife and as a part of the same course he has also received training for about a month in India and also received short training in China as well.

The wife of Mr. JanakaShanta Kumara, Mrs. ThushariBuddhikaAbeyratne, is working as a teacher at the Diyagaha East Junior School, Matara. His son is studying for his Advanced Level Examination while his daughter is studying at the Grade Eight.

His address is Ratnamali, Navimana South, Matara.

Wildlife Reserves in Batticaloa District

Wildlife Reserves in the Batticaloa District include the Kayankarni Marine Sanctuary, part of the Trikonamadu Nature Reserve and a small part of the Seruvila Ale Sanctuary.

Map of Wildlife Reserves in Batticaloa District

Kayankarni Marine Sanctuary

Map of Kayankarni Marine Sanctuary

Kayankarni Coral Reef in Madakapu, which is one of the main marine ecological sites on the coast of the eastern region of Sri Lanka, has been declared as a marine sanctuary on April 11, 2019 under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance. Thus, the “Kayankarni Marine Sanctuary” declared for the conservation of marine ecosystems consists of an area of ​​953 hectares located in the Batticaloa District, KoralePattuwa – North Divisional Secretariat of the Eastern Province and an area of ​​marine land adjacent to that area. It is a precious habitat for a variety of coral reefs and other living plant and animal communities. Kayankarni Marine Sanctuary, located off Kalkuda in Batticaloa District, possess a marine area several times larger than the land area and is highly biologically diverse, including many species of fish that have been discovered so far. This coral reef is said to extend about 800 meters from the north shore of Batticaloa. It is like an underwater garden decorated with colorful fish; this park has been able to attract tourists naturally.

Kayankarni Marine Sanctuary
Kayankarni Marine Sanctuary

18 species of butterfly fish live on coral reefs are found in clear waters here. Examples for butterfly fish include Chaetodon species; Red-tailed butterflyfish (Chaetodon collare), Speckled butterflyfish (Chaetodon citrinellus), Blackwedged butterflyfish (Chaetodon falcula), Yellowhead butterflyfish (Chaetodon xanthocephalus), Lined butterflyfish (Chaetodon lineolatus), Scrawled butterflyfish (Chaetodon meyeri), Black-backed butterflyfish (Chaetodon melannotus), Latticed butterflyfish (Chaetodon rafflesi), Melon butterflyfish (Chaetodon trifasciatus) and Triangle butterflyfish (Chaetodon triangulum). These are very striking and colorful butterfly fish. They only live in healthy coral reefs. The abundance of these species in these habitats indicates the biodiversity of the habitat. Tourists are naturally attracted by the variety of their colors. Among algae, there are Caulerpa taxifolia, Ulva, Sargassam and Padina species. Among the coral reefs on the thin muddy bottom are Halophile species and sea grass species such as Enhalus acoroides. They are the only flowering plants on the sea floor and the only plants that live in the ocean. A diver will see a variety of coral species, including Devil’s hand corals (Lobophytum) and staghorn corals such as Acropora cervicornis, Acropora formosa, Rose coral (Montipora aequituberuulata). Another variety of coral species found in these coral reefs are Cauliflower coral or Lace coral (Pocillopora damicornis), Rasp coral (Pocillopora verrucosa), Pocillopora eydouxi, Stony coral (Porites rus), Star coral (Favites abdita). Feather duster worms (Sabella species), lobsters (Panulirus species), common spider conch (Lambis lambis), giant spider conch (Lambis truncate), coral snails (Drupa species), onus species and sea urchin (Echinethrix calamaris) are among some of the invertebrates found here.

Melon butterflyfish(Chaetodon trifasciatus)

A large number of stakeholders are engaged in a joint round-the-clock effort to protect Kayankarni Marine Sanctuary and the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA), Wildlife Department and District Secretary are involved in this conservation exercise.

Trikonamaduwa Nature Reserve

Map of the Trikonamaduwa Nature Reserve

Trikonamaduwa, a little-known wildlife reserve, stretches over the districts of Polonnaruwa, Trincomalee and Batticaloa, where Madu trees are widespread. This land with dry mixed evergreen forest cover was gazetted on 24th October 1986 under Gazette Notification No. 424/24. As the entire land is flat topographical, grasslands are also spread and the land is consisting of high forest density of about 25019 hectares. Plants like Satin (Chloroxylon swietenia), Palu (Manilkara hexandra), Veera (Drypetes sepiaria), Milla (Vitex altissima), Ebony (Diospyros altissima), Kalumadiriya  (Diospyros quaesita), Maila (Bauhinia racemosa), Grass species such as Vasmen and ManaMana (Cymbopogon confertiflorus), Illuk (Imperata cylindrica), etc. can be seen here. Elephants, who add solemnity to the wilderness, use the Trikonamadu Nature Reserve during their annual seasonal migration. Two tributaries of the Mahaweli River, Verugal Aru and Kandakadu Aru, flow through the reserve and consist of 5-10 tanks and two lakes. This is a native land of animals belonging to the dry region and mammals such as Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), Spotted deer (Axis axis ceylonensis), Sambar bull (Rusa unicolor), Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) can also be seen here.

Ale Sanctuary in Seruwila

Map of theAle Sanctuary in Seruwila

Seruwila Ale has been gazetted as a sanctuary on 09.10.1970 under the Gazette Notification No. 14925. This sanctuary is spread over an area of ​​15,540 hectares in Koddiar Pattuwa Grama Niladhari Division under Seruvila Divisional Secretariat Division of the Trincomalee Administrative District. The vegetation of the sanctuary consists of dry zone evergreen forests and due to the diversity of vegetation, the animals living here get food, shade and shelter. A large shallow lagoon, about 2 meters deep, called Ullackalie is located within the territory of this sanctuary.

List of animals in the Wildlife Reserves in Batticaloa District

 Sinhala Names

Tamil Names

English Names

Scientific Names




Panthera pardus kotiya



Asian elephant

Elephas maximus


புள்ளி மான்

Spotted deer

Axis axis ceylonensis




Rusa unicolor

සමනල මත්ස්‍යයන් Chaetodon විශේෂ                       

வண்ணத்துப்பூச்சி மீனினங்கள்

Chaetodon வகைகள்

Butterfly fish species

Chaetodon species



Red-tailed butterflyfish

Chaetodon collare


Speckled butterflyfish

Chaetodon citrinellus


Blackwedged butterflyfish

Chaetodon falcula


Yellowhead butterflyfish

Chaetodon xanthocephalus


Lined butterflyfish

Chaetodon lineolatus


Scrawled butterflyfish

Chaetodon meyeri


Black-backed butterflyfish

Chaetodon melannotus


Latticed butterflyfish

Chaetodon rafflesi


Melon butterflyfish

Chaetodon trifasciatus


Triangle butterflyfish

Chaetodon triangulum

පණු විශේෂ

புழு இனங்கள்

Feather duster worms

Sabella species


பாறை இறால்


Panulirus species

බෙල්ලන් විශේෂ

சங்கு இனங்கள்

Common spider conch

Lambis lambis

බෙල්ලන් විශේෂ

சங்கு இனங்கள்

The giant spider conch

Lambis truncate

ගොලු බෙල්ලන්

கடல் நத்தைகள்

Coral snails (Drupa species)


පණු විශේෂ

புழு இனங்கள்

Onus species


මුහුදු ඉකිරියන්

இரட்டை சுழல் முல்லை

Sea urchin

Echinethrix calamaris

කොරල් විශේෂ

பவளப்பாறை இனங்கள்

Devil’s hand corals






Acropora cervicornis


Acropora formosa


Rose coral 

Montipora aequituberuulata


Cauliflower coral or Lace coral

Pocillopora damicornis


Rasp coral

Pocillopora verrucosa


Pocillopora eydouxi


Stony coral

Porites rus


Star coral

Favites abdita

List of trees in the Wildlife Reserves in Batticaloa District

Sinhala Name

Tamil Name

English Name

Scientific Name



Satin wood

 Chloroxylon swietenia




Diospyros ebenum


காட்டு நொச்சி


Vitex altissimia




Manilkara hexandra



Hedge Box wood

Drypetes sepiaria




Diospyros quaesita

මයිල அத்திMilaBauhinia racemosa


கமாச்சிப் புல்


Cymbopogon confertiflorus


தர்ப்பைப் புல்


Imperata cylindrica




Caulerpa taxifolia










මුහුදු තෘණ විශේෂ -හලෝෆිලා 



Halophile species




Enhalus acoroides

Editor–  DammikaMalsinghe, Additional Secretary,Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation, Section, Ministry of Agriculture and Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation  (MAWFRC)

Article on park written byHasiniSarathchandra, Chief Media Officer, Department of Wildlife Coservation (DWLC) MaheshaChathuraniPerera (Graduate Trainee), (DWLC)

Tamil TranslationsA.R.F. Rifna, Development Officer, MAWFRC

English Translations Asoka Palihawadana, Translator, MAWFRC

Web DesigningN.I.Gayathri, Development Officer,MAWFRC -C.A.D.D.A. Kollure, Management Service Officer, MAWFRC

Photography pictures are from internet.






Sunday Observer (16.12.2018)

Kayankerni Marine Sanctuary;  Ecological grandeur,  Ravi  Ladduwahetti, Sunday Observer (04.09.2022)

Preliminary  report on the Status of  Kayankerni Coral Reef, Sri Lanka 2019,  NishanPerera,  Consultant,  SACEP

Dinamina (2022.06.04)