Wildlife of Sri Lanka


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.

Wildlife of Sri LankaSri Lanka’s Big Five – 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.

Wildlife of Sri Lanka 03The 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 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.



Amazing experience - great company values

We had a wonderful stay at yala camp - great accommodation / food / safari. The staff were all outstanding - all full of passion for their role to make sure we had an unforgettable experience and absolutely committed to providing an ethical product. This company provides a perfect safari experience - no plastics / sustainable / local produce / knowledgeable committed staff. An honour to be a guest and support them."

J K wrote, Traveled as a couple
December 2019

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