Alien Invasion

Feb 12, 2007 (LBO) – In the deep south of Sri Lanka, native vegetation at a fragile wetland nature reserve is being chocked-out by an implacable foreign invasion. The Bundala national park, designated a globally valuable resource under the Ramsar convention on wetlands, covers 3698 hectares of scrub jungle and water bodies bordering the coast in the southern Hambantota district of the island.

Last June, 2666 hectares of land bordering the park was declared the Bundala-Wilmanne sanctuary.

Migrant Paradise

Though in an arid region of the country, high rainfall flood the region at the tail-end of the year, readying the wetlands for an annual migration of tens of thousands of birds that fly into Sri Lanka from places as far away as Mongolia and Siberia from late August.

Bundala has habitat suitable for forest birds and waders. About two thirds of the park is covered in brackish lagoons, salt pans and inter-tidal mudflats.

At the height of the migrant season, thousands of ducks, terns as well as larger birds like flamingoes visit the wetland, supported by the explosion of life that rains bring.

Among the flowers that bloom in the r