Yala National Park or Ruhuna National Park is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. It is situated in the southeast region of the country and lies in Southern Province and Uva Province. The park covers 979 square kilometers and is located about 300 kilometers from Colombo. Yala was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900, and, along with Wilpattu, it was one of the first two national parks in Sri Lanka, having been designated in 1938. The park is best known for its variety of wild animals. It is important for the conservation of Sri Lankan Elephants and aquatic birds.