Wildlife of Sri Lanka

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The wildlife of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is second to none in terms of its biodiversity and can be considered the best for big game safaris outside the African continent. As bold a statement as that may be, Sri Lanka’s wildlife credentials speak for itself.

 

Sri Lanka’s Big Five 

Wildlife of Sri Lanka

leopard, elephant, sloth bear, blue whale, and sperm whale – are known as the country’s great wildlife attractions. These species are just some of the country’s plethora of wild species of fauna. It is also renowned as a birder’s paradise with an array of endemic, migratory, and resident avifauna found in its 70 Important Bird Areas strewn across its diverse landscape. Sri Lanka is also famous for its abundance of exotic flora.

Amongst its many wildlife attractions, none have garnered such awe as those pertaining to the largest land mammal in the world – the elephant. Sri Lanka is home to the largest seasonally recurring concentration of wild elephants found anywhere in the world. This phenomenon known simply as The Gathering takes place in the country’s Minneriya National Park which is renowned the world over for being one of the best locations to spot elephant herds and observe their behaviour. Herds as large as 400 elephants have been recorded here in the past. Lonely Planet listed this occurrence as one of the Top Ten Wildlife Spectacles in the world. Sri Lankan elephants can also be spotted in several of the country’s 26 national parks including the Udawalawe National Park which is the only place in the world that guarantees an elephant sighting on each visit.

Wildlife of Sri Lanka 04Sri Lanka’s wildlife crown jewel is the Sri Lankan leopard. Yala National Park is celebrated as the best place on Earth to see leopards as its leopard density is unmatched. Block 1 has a leopard for every square kilometre and these usually reclusive beasts are often spotted in these parts. Apart from the leopard, Sri Lanka is also home to other wildcats including jungle cats, civet cats, and rusty-spotted cats that can be found in Sri Lanka’s wilds.

The sloth bear is somewhat more elusive and its dwindling numbers have meant that spotting them in the wild is a rarity. However, in places such as Wasgamuwa National Park, Wilpattu National Park, and Yala, visitors have been able to catch a glimpse of these magnificent bears, especially during the Palu Season during which these marvellous mammals can be seen climbing the palu trees to gorge themselves on their favourite fruity snacks.

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Ocean Giants...Blue Whales & Serm Whales

The island is also considered the best place in the world to spot the largest animal that has ever lived on earth – the blue whale. The coastlines of Mirissa and Trincomalee offer the best locations for viewing these magnificent beasts while Kalpitiya is known as one of the world’s top ten best sites to catch a glimpse of the amazing sperm whale – the biggest toothed whale in the world. Meanwhile, Mirissa additionally offers visitors the best chance at seeing both these magnificent mammals of the ocean on the same tour.

 

Sri Lanka's Bird Diversity

Wildlife of Sri Lanka 03Sri Lanka is also an amazing place to visit for those interested in birding. It has dozens of bird sanctuaries and Important Bird Areas where an eye-catching array of avifauna can be viewed. The Kumana and Bundala National Parks are birding hotspots where almost every species of bird recorded in Sri Lanka can be seen. The Sinharaja Bird Wave is also a well-known attraction in Sri Lanka, providing visitors with the largest and longest studied bird waves on the island.

The wildlife of Sri Lanka is one of the country’s defining attractions and few countries can rival Sri Lankan wildlife and its combination of big game safari animals, species densities, and its tourism infrastructure. It is well and truly the ultimate safari island.

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Much more than just a great place to stay

"Thanks to our guide Avinka we had five great safaris staying four nights just after reopening this February. The staff made us feel so very welcome during the entire stay.

The safaries are just wonderful, and having a great guide in your vehicle makes a big difference. Avinka can spot animals you would never see and we were even lucky enough to sight leopards on the trees, close to our vehicle, and also running through the field. The wildlife is so exciting that you will have a great experience even if you don‘t see any leopards. We also had a great driver, which is essential if you drive through difficult territory. You are being taken care of the entire time, so even for those who do safaris for the first time, you will always feel safe.

The camp itself is very comfortable, you get everything you can think of, and on top of the great food being served with so much attention and friendliness. You also get wonderful vegetarian and vegan options. They put on bonfires at night, which makes it unforgettable.
When booking and making plans, you get great support from the headquarters, even if it gets difficult since you have to change your plans.
The best thing what can happen to you at the end of a vacation is when you are a bit sad to leave the place, having experienced something to remember forever, and the team does everything for this to happen. Thank you so much"

Axel S wrote, Traveled with family
January 2021

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