There are thousands of wildlife reserve/sanctuaries in the present day earth to save special species and nature. It is one of the greatest initiatives of human civilization towards protecting the nature. But this is not an effort from the modern day mankind, but started around 2,500 years ago in the small island of Sri Lanka, Asia.
Mihintale, situated 13 km east of the ruins of the great city, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, was declared as wildlife sanctuary in 247 BC by king Devanampiya Tissa. One day king Devanampiya Tissa was hunting deer in Mihintale which was sighted by India’s emperor Ashoka’s son Arahath Mahinda. Mahinda was a Buddhist missionary monk and he stopped the king in the track and preached to him that all mammals, birds and other creatures enjoy an equal right to live in this land, wherever they may want. The land belongs to all the people and animals. The king is only the ruler and not the owner of this land. The monk’s words really impressed the king and he not only took Budhdhism as his religion also renounced the pleasure of animal hunting. Mahinda also advised King Devanampiya Tissa to designate Mihintale and the surrounding jungle areas as a sanctuary for wildlife. This is how the first wildlife sanctuary in earth got established.
Mihintale is still a wildife sanctuary under Sri Lanka’s Department of Wildlife Conservation with history over two thousands years old. Apart from the wildlife sanctuary, King Devanampiya Tissa also built the first Buddhist temple of Sri Lanka in Mihintale. He also built a Vihar and 68 caves for the monks to reside in. At the foot hill of Mihintale, there are still ruins of an ancient hospitals, medical baths. It is also believed to be one of the oldest hospitals in the world.