The island kingdom is a real treat for the nature lovers. It is
the abode of a rich variety of wildlife species which include elephants,
leopards, sloth bears, sambhur, deer and monkeys, wild buffalo, wild
boar, porcupines, ant-eaters, civet cat, jackal, mongoose, loris several
varieties of lizards, squirrels, reptiles and amphibians. The forests,
swamps, rivers and marshes provide safe habitat to these elusive
Sri Lanka has an elephant
population about 2,500 - 3,000, which is quite large considering the
area of the island. As such, the chances of sighting this enormous
herbivore is quite high. Elephants are best seen in the Yala National
Park, 309 kms south of Colombo; Uda Walawe, 170 kms from Colombo and Gal
Oya National Park at Inginiyagala, 314 kms from Colombo. Besides, there
is also an orphanage for elephants at Pinnawela, 90 kms from Colombo.
It is the largest of the four
species of wild cats found in Sri Lanka. Poachers are always on the run
for their skins, teeth and meat. The best places for sighting leopards
is the Wilpattu National Park, 176 kms north of Colombo and Yala (
Ruhuna) National Park.
The sloth bear is the only
species of bear found in Sri Lanka, further research is needed to find
out more about its ecology, distribution and status. Wilpattu National
Park is the abode of this elusive mammal.
Altogether, five species of deer
are found in Sri Lanka. Among these, the spotted deer and the sambar
have the largest distribution. Poaching goes on unabated and studies to
ascertain their ecology, distribution and status are yet to be done.
Deers are mostly spotted in the Uda Walawe National Park, 170 kms
southeast of Colombo.
Sri Lanka has more than 400 species
of birds out of which 26 species are endemic to the island. Large and
small scale clearing of jungles and forests, causes local extinctions of
the more specialized species, and threatens the survival of others.
Sinharaja Natural World Heritage, Horton Plains National Park and the
coastal wetlands of Bundala and Yala National Park are home to a large
number of aves.
The inland waters of Sri Lanka
is home to than 60 species of fresh water fish of which over 24 species
are only found in Sri Lanka. Around 1,000 species of fish are found in
the coastal waters surrounding the island.
Five species of sea turtles
and 25 species of whales and dolphins can be seen in the territorial
waters of the Indian Ocean. These mostly seen around the southwestern
and the southeastern coast.
Out of more than 90 species of
snakes found in Sri Lanka, the cobra is the most well known. In
addition, many species of lizards, two species of crocodiles and
monitors also inhabit the island.
Over 240 species of
butterflies can be seen in Sri Lanka out of which 14 species are
A rich variety of plant life are
found in Sri Lanka of which a majority are endemic to the island. Many
species of colorful and rare orchids, ferns, ayurvedic herbs and plants,
large trees, bromeliads and epiphytes adds to the wealth of the island's
Indeed, the island kingdom is an exciting vacation for the wildlife