The jungles of sri lanka abound in a variety of wildlife, which is surprising for an Island of its size in the tropics. from ancient days the elephants and peacocks From the sri lankan jungles were prize exports to the kingdoms of east and West. butapart from these well known examples of the fauna, a visit to the Sri lankan jungles is to enter a whole new world where nature has largely Stayed still.
There are several national parks, of these the best known is the ruhunu (yala) national park in the deep south of the island. the other
parks are gal oya, udawalawe, wasgomuwa, wilpattu and Horton plains.the topography and vegetation change from park to park,even the founa and flora.most common in these parks are elephants and birdlife.
Yala is famous for its elephant population, seen in small and large herds, Spotted deer, sambhur, barking deer, monkey, wild buffalo, wild boer, sloth Bear, and innumerable varieties of birds, endemic and migratory. peacock Is the most famous of the birds at yala. the mating dance of the male with Its colourful plumes fully spread is a photographer’s delight.
Situated in the north central province closer to the ancient cities, at Wasgomuwa wild elephants could be easily sighted. it is also rich in
Other large mammals.
Udawalawe is next in popularity to yala, and elephants could easily be Observed even in midday. in addition 39 species of mammals and 183
Species of birds have been recorded.
The recently re-opened wilpattu, close to anuradhapura is unique in Its topography having several inland ‘villus’ (lakes) that attract thousands
Of water birds.it is the domain of the elusive leopard.
bundala bird sanctuary in the deep south on the way to yala is sri lanka’s first recognized ramsar site (i.e. a wetland of international importance) popular with both local and migratory birds. Around 167 species have been sighted. The park is nthe last refuge of the grater flamingo in this part of the island, upto 2000 of these birds have been recorded during nov/des.
The lagoons also constitute one of the most popular wintering areas of migratory shorebirds In the country, accommodating upto 20000 shorebirds at anytime including the black necked Stork.
Sri lanka blessed with an abundance of flora and fauna has a long redition of conservation. This Goes back to its ancient Buddhist tradition which teaches respect and compassion to all living Things. The world’s first wild life sanctuary was set up by royal edict in the 3rd c. B.C.in mihintale (where the Buddhist doctrine was first preached)and is still a sanctuary. understanding the Importance of conservation ecological integrity, large wilderness tracts were set aside by Successive rulers as reserves for rain catchments and pest control purposes. Today, the sanctuaries National parks, and reserves where law protects flora and fauna comprise 14% of the island’s Total land area of 65610sq, KM.
Within this land area there are more than 70 sanctuaries, national parks & a number of wetlands And mountain ranges. therefore the bio-diversity in srilanka is regarded to be greater per sq. metre Of surface area than any other country in the Asian region. whensrilanka’s ecosystem is compared With other Asian countries, srilanka has many tropical rain forests, montane, lowland and virgin
Forests and wetlands. there are also many ecosystems with mangroves, sand dunes, beaches And coral reefs. numbering over 220,srilanka for its size has perhaps the largest number of Waterfalls of any country in the world.
Sri lanka is a global bio-diversity hot spot. about half of its species are endemic, including all Fresh water crabs,90% amphibians,25-75% reptiles and vertebrates, around 50% fresh water Fishes,26% flowering plants,145 mammals and as many as non migrant birds.
Species richness is extreme and there are known to be over 3,368 species of flowering plants, 314 ferns, 575 mosses,190 liverworts,896 algae,1920 fungi,400 orchids, 242 butterflies, 117 Gragonflies,and damselflies,139 mosquitoes,525 carabis beetles,266 land snails,78 fresh water Fishes,250 amphibians, 92 snakes,35 fresh water crabs,21 geckos, 21 shinks, 322 non-migrant Birds. The island also provides critical habitat for internationally mobile species, including 5 Species of endangered marine turtles, about 100 species of waterfowl, and many other migratory Birds.
In srilanka, though acotourism is in its infancy, concerted efforts are being taken to develop Ecotourism methodically by the ministry of tourism in srilanka supported by all stake holders Of the tourism industry, ecotourism NGO’s and other sectors responsible for environment,
Natural resources, wildlife and forestry.
Sinharaja,a world heritage site (nature) srilanka’s most beautiful and the biggest rain forest Is situated close to ratnapura and is between the villages of rakwana, deniyaya and matugama. A variety of indigenous plants and animals, flowingrevers and silent streamlets cover up nearly
9800 hectares.out of a total of 830 indegenous flowering plants in the island sinharaja has Nearly 500 plants and out of 21 native bird species in the country 17 species have made sinharaja Their home.