Wild Life & Nature Introduction
One of the many reasons as to why people visit Sri Lanka is because of its very diverse wildlife. From flora to fauna, a lot of species are only endemic to Sri Lanka. A lot of people, even the locals come to nature reserves and forests to get a glimpse of rare creatures for maybe once in their whole lifetime.
The biggest national park, whose Block 1 – one of the five areas open to public – has one of the world’s densest leopard populations. There are closely 35 leopards residing here, but it’s probably the best place in the world to catch one, in the wild, on film. All the big game mammals of the country are found within the park. Elephant, Leopard, sloth bear, Spotted Dear, Wild Boar.
Likened to an African game reserve, the Uda Walawe National Park is probably one of the most impressive nature parks in the country. About 106 miles southeast of Colombo, the park houses an estimated 500 elephants, of which you can see up to 100 at a time. The Uda Walawe Reservoir in the middle of the park serves the animals. Catch the Spotted Deer, Sambar, Water Buffalo, Mongoose, Bandicoot, Toque Monkey and Grey Langur in addition to foxes, crocodiles, wild boars, leopards and 30 varieties of snakes.
Sinharaja Rain Forest
Located in south-west Sri Lanka, Sinharaja is the country’s last viable area of primary tropical rainforest. More than 60% of the trees are endemic and many of them are considered rare. There is much endemic wildlife, especially birds, but the reserve is also home to over 50% of Sri Lanka’s endemic species of mammals and butterflies, as well as many kinds of insects, reptiles and rare amphibians.
A flapping sea of black invades the emerald Minneriya Tank, as a flock of two thousand cormorants nosedive for fish. Later, elephants trudge by, drinking from the same reservoir. Not nearly the largest tank in Sri Lanka, Minneriya Tank – with the woods that surround it forming the Minneriya-Giritale National Park – is nevertheless home to an extraordinary diversity of wildlife. If numbers interest you, there are nine species of amphibians, 24 species of mammals, 25 species of reptiles, 26 species of fish (three of which are endangered), 75 species of butterflies and birds.