Sri Lanka is known for its biodiversity that is second to none! It is often considered as one of the top hotspots of biodiversity in the globe! Pack your binoculars and your DSLR kit as you make plans to visit any one of the many National Parks in the country!
Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the elusive spotted leopard, huge herds of Asian elephants, the magnificence of bears, the cuteness of deers, the haughtiness of monkeys and a plethora of wild animals like wild boar, mongoose, water buffalo, peacocks, etc. You should not miss your chance to visit the Yala National Park and the Horton Plains National Park! Sri Lanka is home to a variety of intriguing species, let us take a look at a few of them.
Sri Lankan Sloth Bear: These average-sized bears evolved during the early Pleistocene era, and are distinguished from Asian black bears. They have lanky builds, shaggier coats, pale muzzles and white claws.
These also possess a specially adapted lower palate, which the nocturnal insectivores use to consume termites, and honeybee colonies. This isolated subspecies is currently classified as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Dugong: The dugong looks like a manatee, but with the fluke tail of a whale and with looks similar to the elephant.
Another species quoted as vulnerable to extinction, these gentle underwater grazers are believed to have been the real inspiration for the early tales of mermaids and sirens.
Indian Pangolin: Often known as “scaly anteaters” for their thick protective armour of overlapping scales, pangolins are the world’s most endangered groups of mammals. These are nocturnal and usually inhabits deep burrows during the day. They can easily curl into the shape of a ball and defend itself from the outside environment like the tiger or leopard attack.
Sri Lankan Leopard: The Sri Lankan leopard is currently listed as endangered by the IUCN. The Yala National Park, on the southeastern coastal arid zone boasts the world’s highest density of wild leopards. Yet not every wildlife safari tourer is lucky enough to spot a leopard.
Being loners they are difficult to spot, but female leopards do wander along with their young ones. The Sri Lankan leopard is considered larger than other leopards.
Loris: This small, nocturnal animal is a focal species close to extinction with few close evolutionary relatives. Found only in Sri Lanka’s rainforests, they are small in size with 7-10 inches and weighing around one pound.
Their huge eyes and prominent ears give them an endearingly different appearance.
Purple-faced Langur: Once commonly seen in Sri Lanka’s wet zone villages, it is now an endangered species due to rapid urbanization. Primarily found in densely populated rainforests, this distinctive langurs are the other type of monkeys considered as leaf monkeys who live up in the trees.
There are grey langurs and purple-faced langurs, and the latter is native to Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan Elephant: Yala National Park is well known for this endangered species, and these can be seen in Udawalawe, Lunugamvehera, Wilpattu and Minneriya National Parks, and other unprotected areas. In fact, Sri Lanka is estimated to have the highest density of elephants in all of Asia, despite the decline in population caused by habitat loss. Moreover, most visitors to the island go on an elephant watching safari or visit an elephant orphanage.
It’s a great destination for animal lovers and bird watchers who would love spotting these intriguing species while going on jungle safaris. Although it is a popular tourist destination, one would not witness crowded places of interest, pollution and destruction of natural beauty in Sri Lanka. Why? The country’s environment still enjoys minimal interference from humans. This makes a visit to Sri Lanka pure bliss – to state the least. So, start making preparations for your trip to Sri Lanka today!