Nature

Pigeon Island Park in the beautiful Nilaveli

Situated on an island, this park is located about a kilometer north of the Nilaveli beach, a beautiful beach north of Trincomalee. The island can be seen from the Nilaveli beach. There is a ferry service to the island. The boat ride is as short as 12 minutes.

The park ticket office is located on Nilaveli Beach. Pigeon Island National Park is 1 km from Colombo. M. 312 miles away. Visitors to Trincomalee can easily reach this forest park. This National Park is located in the Valaiyukku Grama Niladhari Division of the Kuchchaveli Divisional Secretariat in the Trincomalee District.

How did the name come about?

Pigeon Island gets its name from the hundreds of blue rock pigeons that inhabit the island. Pigeons nesting among the high rocks of the island bring a beautiful view. Ornithologists say Pigeon Island is one of the few places in Sri Lanka where rock pigeons are currently found. This is because it is one of the most trusted places to meet stone pigeons that have not been hybridized with domestic pigeons. This species of pigeon is found in several subspecies and the subspecies found in Sri Lanka lives in this country as well as in India.

Other places where stone pigeons are found in Sri Lanka are several islands in the Randenigala Reservoir and the Ussangoda area in Welipatanwila, Ambalantota in the Hambantota District. Since domestic pigeons are found in those areas, ornithologists are skeptical about whether the rock pigeons are hybrids or not. That requires genetic research.

Because Pigeon Island is separated from the sea, the chances of those pigeons breeding are very low. The island is also known as a haven for migratory birds that visit Sri Lanka at various times. There is also a nature trail for tourists.

National Park

Pigeon Island Marine Sanctuary was first designated a sanctuary in May 1973. Its land area was 97 hectares. It was later declared a National Park in 2003 due to its environmental significance. Considering the importance of the coral reefs around the island, they were also included in the park, bringing the land area to 471.43 hectares. Nine hectares are covered by land, and the rest are submerged coral reefs.

The park was officially opened to the public on May 28, 2011. But even before that, tourists used to visit this place.

The purpose of making it a national park is to protect the spawning habitats of the pigeons and the coral reefs. Despite being a sanctuary, its corals were broken. They were often seen being smashed and sold to tourists on the Nilaveli beach. Now such activities are difficult.

Fishing is prohibited within a kilometer of Pigeon Island. The biggest threat to the island is illegal fishing with dynamite. The navy and forest officials arrest those involved in smuggling and trapping. Irakkandiya is located near the fishing pigeon island of Valeyukku and Gopalpuram.

Another small island can be seen just off Pigeon Island. It is also known as Sinnapuramale or Crow Island. Also known as Little Pigeon Island. Its environment is not as impressive as Pigeon Island. Tourists do not visit this island as much as Pigeon Island. One reason for this is that the sea around Crow Island is relatively deep and the island does not have a coastline.

Coral reefs

The vast archipelago is surrounded by a beautiful coral reef about 200 feet [200 m] long and 100 feet [100 m] wide. It records about 100 very rare coral species not found anywhere else in Sri Lanka. It is considered as an ecosystem with high biodiversity. It is home to over 100 species of coral and 300 species of parasitic fish.

The coral system here is also important as a coral reef that was not damaged by the 1998 floods. Here, colorful fish of all sizes swim through the colorful coral reefs, creating breathtaking views.

Near Pigeon Island there is a system of corals surrounded by small islands and reefs. Ornamental coral species and fish are best seen in the shallow clear seas on the eastern side of the island.

Among the fish species here are very small fish as well as adult black reefs. In addition, endangered fish species such as butterflies, jellyfish, sea urchins, sea urchins and sea crabs are abundant here. Coral reefs are also home to edible fish such as sharks, lizards, otters, cossacks, pigeons, and madhu.

Tourist paradise

Pigeon Island is a paradise for local and foreign tourists during the dry season from July to September. At that time, you can dive into the blue clear sea and see the corals and swim among the colorful fish in the sea because the sea is calm.

There is an active boat service to take you from Nilaveli beach to Pigeon Island. Boats belonging to two Nilaveli and Gopalkulamiya Boating Associations operate here. Pigeon Island attracts more than 100 visitors a week and about 250 on weekends.

Traveling beyond the narrow beaches of the island, you will have the opportunity to see the fascinating views of the island. Pigeon Island is home to the Blue Stone Pigeon, as well as the dwarf eagle, the Brahmin hawk, the black hawk, the sea lizard, and the Malitha. Familiar trees such as Kohomba and Siyambala as well as temperate Acidula, Gansuriya, Katupili, Malithan, Palu, Cactus, Nawahandi, Wara, Heerassa, and cactus are some of the plants that grow on rocky outcrops.

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