Sri Lanka is ranked amongst the world’s twenty five biodiversity hot spots. As a country with high rate of endemism it has many faunal groups including birds , mammals , reptiles and amphibians which you can not find anywhere in the world. It is world renowned as one of the best places to watch elephants and leopards for nature enthusiastic and photographers. There are season for elephant gathering where large concentration of wild elephants together can be seen during that time at a place known as Minneriya in the north central province of the country. Primate safaris are arranged with cultural tours as it is possible to find wide range of primates in place surrounded by cultural heritages mainly in the dry zone. During the early part of the year ( January-April) , the largest animal ever lived in the world you may guess as ‘ blue whale’ can be seen in off shores of southern city Galle. Sinharaja, the tropical rainforest of the country is the place to glue one’s eyes on to the world’s largest mixed species of birds flocking together.
One of the key reasons which makes Sri Lanka a popular wild life destination is the availability of expertise , well trained field guides and simple photographic guides, booklets and posters of key wild life attractions such as elephants, leopards, birds, butterflies , primates and floral species to the enthusiast. Sri Lankan tour operators too are equipped with sophisticated technologies , marketing strategies and high caliber service levels to attract ever increasing tourist both from west and east with wild life as main interest for significant proportion of them. Communication is no barrier as in Sri Lanka as tourist industry professionals are well equipped with skills in English and even with other foreign languages to respond the needs of the foreign visitors effectively.
In comparison with countries of its size , Sri Lanka has a high density of species of birds. More than 40 bird species have been recorded including migrants. Around three quarter of these species of birds are endemic, simply can not find anywhere else in the world. The mixed species feeding flocks in Sinharaja (the ‘Sinharaja Bird Waves’) are the largest in the world. These birds can be seen easily as they are relatively tamed.
Sri Lanka is a popular destination in Asia to see and photograph leopards. In Yala national park it is high as one per square kilometer according to the research statistics supported by tourism industry records. Since only few number of large carnivores available, the leopard has become the top predator. Further the adults and cubs are remarkably relaxed during the day, offering great opportunities for viewing and photography.
In August and September, one can see the highest concentration of Elephants occur during ‘The Gathering’ a seasonal event which takes place at Minneriya National Park. In other parks, elephants can be watched throughout the year. In Uda Walawe, elephants are guaranteed, a promise which no other park in Asia can make.
Sri Lanka is definitely one of the best places in the world to witness the social dynamics of diurnal primates. Noticeably, it has three species of diurnal primates (two are endemic) and two species of nocturnal primates (two lorises with one endemic).
Sri Lanka has three species of diurnal primates (two are endemic) and two species of nocturnal primates (two lorises with one endemic). It is probably one of the best places in the world to observe the social dynamics of diurnal primates. The endemic Toque Monkeys have been studied in one of the longest running field studies in the world.
Sri Lanka is a country which can provide amazing range of butterflies, statistically nearing 250 species of butterflies and skippers. Simply to say how easy to find butterflies in Sri Lanka, even the wetland reserves close to commercial capital Colombo holds as many as 50 different species. large scale migrations are taking place amongst the white and yellow colored habitats. A breathtaking array of species can be seen at any time of the year.
Sri Lanka currently contains 171 species of reptiles, of which 56 are threatened and 101 are endemic. Most of the reptiles are snakes and the largest are two species of Crocodile, the Mugger crocodile and Saltwater Crocodile
Sri Lanka has one of the most rich diversity of Amphibians, containing over 106 species of amphibians and has been claimed to have the highest amphibian species density in the world though that has been challenged. 52 species of amphibians in Sri Lanka are threatened, all but one of which are enedmic.
Around 120 species of dragonflies have been identified with more of them still to be described by science. Sri Lanka which is famous for thousands of manmade lakes, enormous areas of paddy fields and irrigation channels resembles a giant wetland complex. This has significantly influenced the origination of abundance of habitat make the island very good for dragonfly watchers.
Rainforest which covers sizable area of south-west of the island is amongst the best for its bio diversity not only in south asia but throughout the globe. For this reason Sri Lanka is placed amongst the world’s bio diversity hyper hot spots. The country’s relative small size and location as an island makes it one of the most diverse geography and climate conditions. It is possible to be in a rainforest and a beach shore within a few hours distance.