Complete List of Wildlife Spots in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is only 65,610 square kilometers, roughly the same as Ireland in size, but it stores a continent worth of diversity in every aspect; climate, landscape, cuisine and wildlife. Sheltering Asia’s largest density of wild elephants and the biggest population of leopards in the world, Sri Lanka is a dynamite of varying flora and fauna, some fund only in the island and nowhere else. Proud of this treasure, the world’s first reserve was opened in Sri Lanka by the kings in the city of Mihintale in the 3rd Century BC. Now, Sri Lanka has a dozen or so of wildlife parks. If you want to catch a glimpse of the diverse wildlife in Sri Lanka then head over to any of these parks
Just six hours away from the bustling capital of Colombo, Yala is located in the south-east of the Island. Regarded as one of the best mammals sighting parks in Asia, it is home to approximately 30 leopards, Sambar (a type of huge deer), spotted deer, wild pig, buffalo, golden jackal, langur and toque monkeys. The park is a combination of marine, freshwater and woodland environments making it a favorite among birds. Serious bird watching will result in you spotting around 100 species in a day.
Spot: Birds of all colors, shapes and sizes
Housing some of the trees found nowhere else in the world; the outstanding rainforest of Sri Lanka is located in the south-west of the island and is only a five-hour drive away from Colombo. A key feature of the forest is the flocks of birds having around six different species of birds. Other animals roaming its territory, apart from birds, include the barking deer, leopards, purple-faced langur and squirrels.
Spot: Sloth bear
After a 15 year hiatus, the park is back in action with its picturesque dry lowlands punctured with a string of villus or lakes. Famous for leopard sightings before its closure, the park now offers the possibility of seeing the barking deer or muntjac deer. Wilpattu has an environment similar to Yala and is regarded as Sri Lanka’s biggest park, however its decade and a half break has resulted in its animals being cautious of any human presence.
Spot: Birds and a breathtaking view
It just takes five hours from Colombo to get to this cool-climate plateau that is the highest in the island. Rising up through the central highlands, the animals have adapted and evolved to the temperature differences. The dwarf lizard has evolved to give birth to little lizards rather than laying eggs that will definitely have problems hatching. Admire the many species of birds that inhabit its territory while also drinking in the view from the World’s End, an 880 meter drop.
Located between Polonnaruwa and Habarana, the Park spans an area larger than 8,000 hectares and is a superb environment composed of rolling grasslands and thick shrubs. The park is also home to the reservoir constructed by King Mahasena in the third century BC. A bird watchers paradise, the park is also a good place to sight amphibians and reptiles. Visiting the park will give you a feeling of how much the ancient kings treasured the bounties of this diverse island.
Spot: Mugger Crocodile and Estuarine Crocodile
You can get a glimpse of the major species thriving in Sri Lanka. Usually a paradise for birdwatchers, it is thriving with aquatic birds and migratory birds which visit the park during the end of the year. Apart from that, it is the only park in Sri Lanka that promises sightings of both types of crocodiles that inhibit the waters of the island. Occasional sightings of sloth bears, leopards and sambar are also reported.
The wildlife in Sri Lanka is not just limited to these few parks; it thrives in every garden and field. I think its one of the main reasons that make sri Lanka the treasure it is.