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Sri Lanka Wildlife

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Sri Lanka Wildlife
Wildlife Sri Lanka
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 creatures.

Wild Attractions
Elephant: 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.

Leopard: 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.

Sloth Bear: 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.

Deer: 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.

Aves: 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.

Pisceans: 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.

Marine Life: 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.

Reptiles: 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.

Invertebrates: Over 240 species of butterflies can be seen in Sri Lanka out of which 14 species are endemic.

Flora: 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 plant kingdom.

Indeed, the island kingdom is an exciting vacation for the wildlife lovers.