In the year 2007, it was decided to open the ‘Galves Land National Park’ for the public. At that time, ‘Galves Land’ was a Reserve under the Department of Wildlife Conservation. Although smaller in extent, this area is rich in animals and plants the department as well as the former minister in charge also wanted to the public coming to NuwaraEliya be given the opportunity to to see this area. I was working in Galvesland as a park warden in those days. Then the current Director General Mr. Suriyabandara worked as the Assistant Director in charge of this area. He Wildlife Ranger A.N. Mr. Jayasuriya also worked with great interest in opening Galwayland to the public.
There was a footpath through the middle of Galwayland. The engineering section of the Department converted this footpath into a new macadamized road. The road is 2 ½ to 3 feet wide.
When walking on the road, from the places where there is no forest, you can see Pidurutalagala and NuwaraEliya city in the distance. You can walk in 35 to 40 minutes. There are benches for sitting in some places. A ticket counter and toilets were built at the entrance. Benches were also established there.
I had the pleasure of being able to participate in the opening of Galvesland to the public during my period of working there. In addition to those mentioned earlier, it must be remembered M.P. Wimalaratne and K.E. Piyadasawho retired as Rangers also contributed to this work.
Also, a village where low-income Tamil community live bordered Galvezland. They used to enter in to the forest called Galvesland to cut fire wood. This practice destroyed the forest and with opening of the National Park, we conducted Community out Reach Program for the villagers. Efficient wood stoves were provided to every family by the Department and trained the people how to use them. They used to dump their garbage in the forest and we provided them with compost bins for recycling purpose. Also, the village temples were repaired. Accordingly, now they are cooperating with us.
Mr. IndikaGalpatha joined the Department of Wildlife Conservation in 1998. Passing A-Levels in the Biology stream his destiny given him the opportunity for this job after passing a competitive examination.
Mr. Galpatha’s first appointment was inMeegalawa, Galgamuwa Range in Anuradhapura Division. Followed by he worked at the Elephant Coordinating Center in Megalewa.
He had the opportunity to work in Wilpattu National Park from 2002-2007 and he considers it a precious opportunity in his life to be able to participate in the opening of Wilpattu to the public in 2003.
Mr. Galpatha worked in Galvezland for 4 years from 2007 and then worked in Polgolla Park and Gampaha Assistant Director’s Office for about 5 years. In 2017, after working in the Kurunegala Zonal Director’s Office, Mr. Galpatha was assigned to the Legal Department of the Battaramulla Head Office and he is still working there.
In the year 2000, Mr. Galpatha had the opportunity to follow the 09-month diploma course in Giritale offered by the Wildlife Department and study in India. He had visited China.
His wife Mrs. PramilaRavindika works in the Divisional Secretariat. Daughter Mohanza, who is studying at GampahaTaxilaVidyalaya, passed her GCE in this year. His son Savindu, who is studying in the same school, in Grade10 and is about to sit for the GCE Ordinary Level Examination.
Phone number: 071 3101687
The history of the biodiversity-rich Galveston National Park dates back to the era of British rule, providing a fascinating and exciting destination for those who want to be one with nature. Located in the Nuwara Eliya District of Sri Lanka, this is the only park in a city center of Sri Lanka. This is a land owned by the British Lord Galvez, so it is named Galvezland. This sanctuary, which started with 15 acres on 27th May 1938, was designated as a National Park of 29.24 hectares by the Gazette No. 1445/18 dated 18th May 2006, in accordance with the provisions of the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance. One of the main purposes of establishment of this NP was conservation of mountain ecosystems.
Descriptive boards in the park
Since it is located in the mountain wet zone, there are regular monsoons and convective rains for most of the period of the year. With a rainfall of about 2400 mm, there is a cold climate and the average temperature is about 15-16 degrees Celsius. The site is often a red-yellow *podzolic soil with very low exposure to sunlight.
The diversity of plants is also very high here due wet climatic condition for most of the year. Especially, Kina (Calophyllum walker), Damba (Syzygium assimile) species which found in mountainous moist evergreen forests are common. Since it is a garden established during the British period, Eucalyptus sps. Pinus sps. and a number of exotic plant species are found. As theunderplanting is dense and sunlight is restricted into the ground, many plant species are observed to have limited growth in heart wood and reduced vigor. It is also seen that the stems of the plants have grown up in a twisted manner due to the strong wind currents in the mountains. Araucaria (Araucaria Sps.), a large open-seeded plant, and Ginihota (Cyathea Sps.), a fern species, can be seen in the park. Plants like Valsapu (Michelia nilagirica), Wel una (Bambusamatioter) can be seen as dominant plants. Also, this NP is famous for beautiful species of flowers of local and foreign origin. In the Park many orchid species can be seen and **Lichen (Lichen Sps) and Fungus Sps. are abundant.
There is also a high diversity of animals compared to the size of the park. Although large mammals are not found here, many species of small mammals are found. Among those species, Purple faced langur (Semnopithecus vetulus), Giant squirrel (Ratufa macroura), Barking deer (Muntiacus muntjak), Wild boar (Sus scrofa), Fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus), Black naped hare (Lepus nigricollis) and Porcupine (Hystrix indica) are frequently found.
Indian Mountain hourglass tree frog (Taruga eques) and tree frog (Polypedates maculatus) are endemic to Sri Lanka as amphibians. Due to the climatic condition of the park, the number of reptile species living there is limited, but Cobra (Naja naja), Boie’s rough-sided snake (Aspidura brachyorrhos) can be seen. Black-cheeked lizard (Calotes nigrilabris), Mahaeliya pygmy lizard (Cophotis ceylanica) and Rhino horned lizard (Ceratophora stoddartii) are common endemic lizard species. Although the Horned Lizard endemic to Sri Lanka can be found in the mountainous wet zone, it is special that the highest population can be found in the Galvezland National Park.
About 20 species of butterflies can be observed in the park and Common rose (Pachliopta aristolochiae), Lemon emigrant (Catopsilia Pomona), Great eggfly (Hypolimnas bolina), Red pierrot (Talicada nyseus) are common species.
Among the animals in the park, birds show the highest population. Considered by experts as one of the country’s most important bird-watching spots, it hosts around 20 rare bird species that migrate every year. About 7 bird species are endemic and the total number of bird species recorded is about 35.Therefore, Galvez Land National Park is famous as a bird watching spot. The species of endemic birds are Sri Lankan yellow-eared bulbul (Pycnonotus penicillatus), Sri Lanka whistling thrush (Myophonus blighi), Sri lanka Junglefowl (Gallus lafayetti), Dusky blue flycatcher (Eumyias sordidus), White eye (Zosterops ceylonensis) etc. Oriental magpie robin (Copsychus saularis), Small minivet (Pericrocotus cinnamomeus), Black hooded oriole (Oriolus xanthornus), Emerald dove (Chalcophaps indica) are among the local bird species and forest wagtail (Dendronanthus indicus), Brown shrike (Lanius cristatus) are among the migratory bird species seen here.
Although one of the smallest National Parks, Galvez Land National Park is one of the few famous National Parks located near cities. A visitor to the park from Colombo has several ways to get here and the easiest way is through Kaduwela-Kosgama-Avissavella-Yatianthota-Kithulgala-Ginigathena-Talawakele to enter Nuwara Eliya city. From Nuwara Eliya city, you can reach the entrance of Galvezland National Park by traveling about one kilometer along the Galvez Road near the Nuwara Eliya Economic Center.
Tickets and guiding for entering the park are available at the entrance and the park is open daily from 6am to 6pm. Also, the park has provided camping facilities for the visiting tourists and the days can be booked from the park office or from the head office of the Department of Wildlife Conservation in Colombo.
*Podsoilic soil – soil which is well drained & are leached of clay and organic matter.
** Lichens- Symbiolic relationship between fungi and algae or a cyanobacteria(Photosynthetic bacteria)
ஊதா நிற முகம் கொண்ட இலைக் குரங்கு
Purple faced langur
பழுப்பு மலை அணில்
இந்திய குழி முயல்
Black naped hare
ලංකා පීතකන් කොණ්ඩයා
மஞ்சள் காது புல்புல்
Sri lanka yellow-eared bulbul
இலங்கை விசில் த்ரஷ்
Sri Lanka whistling thrush
ලංකා වළි කුකුළා
ලංකා අදුරු නිල් මැසිමරා
வலி மரிச்சான் குருவி
Dusky blue flycatcher
வண்ணாத்திக் குருவி – பாடும் குருவி
Black hooded oriole
කදුකර ගස් මැඩියා
Indian Mountain hourglass tree frog
இந்திய மரத் தவளை
பாயின் கரடுமுரடான பாம்பு
Boie’s rough-sided snake
කළු කොපුල් කටුස්සා
கறுப்புக் கன்ன பல்லி
මහඑළිය කුරු බෝදිලිමා
Mahaeliya pygmy lizard
காண்டாமிருகக் கொம்புப் பல்லி
Rhino horned lizard
|වැල් උණ||மூங்கிலிரிசி||Common bamboo/Golden bamboo|
|ඕකිඩ් විශේෂ||ஓகிட் இனங்கள்|
Editor– Dammika Malsinghe, Additional Secretary,Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation, Section, Ministry of Agriculture and Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation (MAWFRC)
Article on park written by– Hasini Sarathchandra, Chief Media Officer, Department of Wildlife Coservation (DWLC), Mahesha Chathurani Perera ,Development Officer, (DWLC)
Tamil Translations– A.R.F. Rifna, Development Officer, MAWFRC
English Translations – Asoka Palihawadana, Translator, MAWFRC
Web Designing–N.I.Gayathri, Development Officer,MAWFRC -C.A.D.D.A. Kollure, Management Service Officer, MAWFRC
Photography– pictures are from internet.
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