Thursday, January 10, 2019

Pigeon Island National Park

Pigeon Island National Park
Pigeon Island National Park is one of the three marine national parks in Sri Lanka (Perera & Kotagama, 2016). The island is located about 2.2 km off shore of the Nilaweli beach in Trincomalee District. It is the 17th national park in the country.

Name
The island's name derives from the wild rock pigeon (Columba livia) which has colonized it (Katupotha & Senevirathna, 2017).

Island
The pigeon island national park consists of two small islands; large pigeon island and small pigeon island (Rajasuriya et al, 2005). The large island has two small beaches located in the south-western and northern flank of the island (Rajasuriya et al, 2005). The main coral reef which is about 200 m long, 100 m wide is found in front of the south-western beach. This coral reef is extended in a depth of 1 to 6 m and dominated by branching and tabulate Acropora species (Rajasuriya et al, 2005). The small island is surrounded by rocky islets. Faviidae, Mussidae and Portidae species are found in the coral reef around the rocky islets (Rajasuriya et al, 2005). Areas with soft corals such as Sinularia, Lobophytum and Sacrophyton are also identified. The total area of the park is about 471 hectares (Katupotha & Senevirathna, 2017; Perera & Kotagama, 2016).

Flora & Fauna
A large number of coral species (over 100 species) and coral reef fishes (over 222 specie) have been recorded around this national park (Perera & Kotagama, 2016). Juvenile and adult Black tip reef sharks, Hawk bill, Green and Olive ridley turtles are some of the marine animals found around the shallow coral areas. The island is also an important breeding and nesting ground for rock pigeons.

A protected site
During the colonial era, the island is said to be used as a shooting range (Katupotha & Senevirathna, 2017). In 1963, the island was designated as a sanctuary for the purpose of protecting birds (Rajasuriya et al, 2005). In 2003, the island and the surrounding area within a one mile radius, including its coral reefs, were re-designated as a National Park under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance (The Gazette, no: 1291/16). Today, this national park is governed by the Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Pigeon Island National Park Pigeon Island National Park
Pigeon Island National Park Pigeon Island National Park
Attribution
1) Sri Lanka-Trincomalee-Pigeon Island by Dschen Reinecke is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

References
1) Katupotha, K.N.J. and Senevirathna, C., 2017. Geomorphology of the Pigeon Island National Park, Sri Lanka. National Research Symposium - Sharing Knowledge for a sustainable management of Pigeon Island National Park.
2) Perera, N.; Kotagama, S.W., 2016. Recommendations for co-existence of coral reef conservation and tourism at Pigeon Island National Park. Journal of Tropical Forestry and Environment, 6(1). pp.20-35.
3) Rajasuriya, A., Perera, N. and Fernando, M., 2005. Status of coral reefs in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka. Coral reef degradation in the Indian Ocean (CORDIO): status report 2005, pp.97-103.
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka: Extraordinary, no: 1291/16. 4 June 2003. p.546.

Location Map

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