Sri Lanka Nature and Wildlife
Sri Lanka is home to approximately ninety-one species of mammals. Of these ninety-one, sixteen are endemic and can only be found in Sri Lanka while fourteen are threatened including the large Sloth Bear, the Sri Lankan Leopard and the Sri Lankan Elephant. Due to the geographical differences (climate, vegetation and altitude) found in Sri Lanka, mammals are widely distributed throughout the country.
The Sloth Bear and Leopards are found in the majority of National Parks in Sri Lanka, however, Sloth Bears are most commonly spotted between June and July in either Yala or Wasgamuwa National Parks. Research suggests that Yala National Park hosts the highest density of leopards in the world.
The elephant population has dropped steadily in the past hundred years and is estimated to be at approximately 4,500-5,000. The population has fallen due to extreme loss of habitat. Udawalawe National Park is considered by many to be one of the best natural habitats to view elephants year-round. Minneriya National Park is famous for “The Gathering” which happens between July and October when the park witnesses over three hundred elephants gathering by the Minneriya water tank due to the immense dry season experienced there. It is believed that the amount of elephants gathering in Minneriya is the highest in the world.
There are also three monkey species found in Sri Lanka as well as a variety of bats, squirrels and a further twenty-six marine species located in the waters around the country. Blue whales and spinners and Risso’s dolphins can be found on the coasts of Mirissa and Kalpitiya. Blacktip reef sharks are also spotted in Sri Lankan waters. The beaches located on the west and south coasts offer year-round accommodation for endangered marine turtles who come ashore to nest. Approximately 227 bird species live in Sri Lanka, however, some people place the number at over 400.
Sri Lanka is home to 171 reptile species, the majority of which are snakes. The largest reptiles in Sri Lanka are two species of crocodile, the Mugger Crocodile and the Saltwater Crocodile. With 106 amphibian species, many claims that Sri Lanka has the highest density of amphibian species in the world.
With upwards of 26.5% of the total land area of the country listed as protected, Sri Lanka has a higher percentage of protected areas than any other country in Asia as well as much of the world. Sri Lanka has 501 listed areas covering around 1,767,000 ha including 32 forests. Within the 501 protected areas are 92 Key Biodiversity Areas which are considered irreplaceable because they each house endemic species with some providing habitats to more than 100 globally threatened species. There are also four Biosphere Reserves which have been declared under UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Reserve Programme.
Sri Lanka Travel Information
At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy-to-navigate travel information section dedicated to Sri Lanka.
Learn about the history and culture of Sri Lanka, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about Sri Lanka's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information, will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering Sri Lanka for yourself. Start exploring… book one of our Sri Lanka tours today!
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