Sri Lanka is known for its biodiversity which is second to none! It is often considered one of the top hotspots of biodiversity around 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).
The dugong looks like a manatee, but with the fluked tail of a whale and looks similar to an 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.
Often known as “scaly anteaters” for their thick protective armour of overlapping scales, pangolins are the world’s most endangered group of mammals. These are nocturnal and usually inhabit deep burrows during the day. They can easily curl into the shape of a ball and defend themselves from the outside environment like a 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.
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, 7-10 inches long and weigh around one pound.
Their huge eyes and prominent ears give them an endearingly different appearance.
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, these distinctive langurs are the other type of monkeys considered 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, 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 the 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 preparing for your trip to Sri Lanka today!