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Wildlife in Sri Lanka

DolphinAnawilunduwa Sanctuary

For one of the smallest countries in the world in land mass, Sri Lanka abounds with an awe-inspiring scope of eco-diversity, boasting one of the highest rates of biological endemism in the world. The main reason for this incredible diversity is the widely differing altitudes within the country, ranging from sea level to 2500 metres above sea level.
The country is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and in particular birdwatchers, with over 440 bird species. Furthermore, the island is also home to 92 species of mammals, 242 butterfly and 117 dragonfly species, 190 reptiles of which 98 species are of snakes, while the remaining are of mainly lizards, crocodiles and turtles, 102 amphibian species, 107 species of fish and 3210 species of flowering plants.
With nearly 20 wildlife parks and reserves spread all across the island, one receives many opportunities to witness wild and endangered species in their natural habitats. Some wildlife highlights worth keeping an eye out for include ‘The Gathering,’ where over 300 elephants gather at the Minneriya National Park, a sight that can be seen nowhere else in the world. The elusive leopard, an endangered species in the country, can generally be spotted at the Yala National Park and more rarely at Horton Plains along with samber deer and otter.
Marine wildlife wonders include the endangered Sri Lankan marine turtle and whale and dolphin watching – a seasonal activity, Sri Lanka’s surrounding waters are home to a high concentration of blue whales and sperm whales.
Wildlife holidays are a popular option for those visiting the country and can be easily arranged as many of the larger hotel chains and smaller establishments operate wildlife safaris and tours all across the island.

 

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