Declared a protected area the park is the key catchment area for the historical Minneriya tank built by King Mahasen in 3rd Century AD. The tank provides much needed water to the herds of wild elephants living in the area during dry season. The park provides a guaranteed sighting of wild elephants at any time of the year. Large numbers of Elephants are attracted to grass fields on the edges of the reservoir during the dry season as the Minneriya tank contributes to sustain a large herd of elephants. Individuals of elephants gathered here is numbering around 150-200. Some reports account number of elephants to as high as 700. They migrate here from neighboring Wasgamuwa National Park to share the food and shelter of the park’s forest. Tourists visit Minneriya largely because of elephants, especially in dry season.