Yala National Park, one of Sri Lanka’s premier eco tourism destinations, lies 24km northeast of Tissamaharama and 290km from Colombo on the southeast coast of Sri Lanka, spanning a vast 97,878 hectares over the Southern and Uva Provinces. The vegetation in the park comprises predominantly of semi-arid thorny scrub, interspersed with pockets of fairly dense secondary forest. Small patches of mangrove vegetation also occur along the coastal lagoons. The park is renowned for the variety of its Wildlife (most notably its many elephants) and its fine coastline (with associated coral reefs). It also boasts a large number of important cultural ruins, bearing testimony to earlier civilizations and indicating that much of the area used to be populated and well developed. This is the park where the Sri Lankan Leopard locally known as Kotiya is one of the eight known subspecies of leopard is living. It is thought to be one of the largest, although research is still to confirm this. Its coat is tawny or rusty yellow; stamped with dark spots and rosettes a recent study has shown that Yala (Ruhunu) National Park, Block 1 has one of the highest densities of leopards in the world.