Pigeon Island National Park is one of Sri Lanka's two maritime national parks. The national park, which covers 471.429 hectares, is located 1 km off the shore of Nilaveli, a coastal town in Eastern Province. The name of the island comes from the rock pigeon that has colonized it. The national park is home to some of Sri Lanka's greatest preserved coral reefs. Pigeon Island was classified as a wildlife refuge in 1963. It was re-designated a national park in 2003. This is Sri Lanka's 17th national park. During the colonial era, the island was utilized as a shooting range. Pigeon Island was one of several protected places hit by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.