Sri Lanka is an island, 65,610 km2 in area situated close to the Southeast corner of the peninsula of India. Despite its relatively small size, Sri Lanka possesses a high level of bioddiversity. A nortworthy feature of Sri Lanka's biodiversity is the remarkable high proportion of endemic species among its flora and fauna: 23% of the flowering plants and 16% of the mammals in the island are endemic. Sri Lanka has a wide range of topographic and climatic variation and this contributes to the special features of its biodiversity.
Elephant : Sri Lanka has an elephant population about 2,500 - 3,000, which is quite large considering the area of the island. As such, the chances of sighting this enormous herbivore is quite high. Elephants are best seen in the Yala National Park, 309 kms south of Colombo; Uda Walawe, 170 kms from Colombo and Gal Oya National Park at Inginiyagala, 314 kms from Colombo. Besides, there is also an orphanage for elephants at Pinnawela, 90 kms from Colombo.
Leopard : It is the largest of the four species of wild cats found in Sri Lanka. Poachers are always on the run for their skins, teeth and meat. The best places for sighting leopards is the Wilpattu National Park, 176 kms north of Colombo and Yala ( Ruhuna) National Park.
Sloth Bear : The sloth bear is the only species of bear found in Sri Lanka, further research is needed to find out more about its ecology, distribution and status. Wilpattu National Park is the abode of this elusive mammal.
Deer : Altogether, five species of deer are found in Sri Lanka. Among these, the spotted deer and the sambar have the largest distribution. Poaching goes on unabated and studies to ascertain their ecology, distribution and status are yet to be done. Deers are mostly spotted in the Uda Walawe National Park, 170 kms southeast of Colombo.
Aves : Sri Lanka has more than 400 species of birds out of which 26 species are endemic to the island. Large and small scale clearing of jungles and forests, causes local extinctions of the more specialized species, and threatens the survival of others. Sinharaja Natural World Heritage, Horton Plains National Park and the coastal wetlands of Bundala and Yala National Park are home to a large number of aves.
Pisceans : The inland waters of Sri Lanka is home to than 60 species of fresh water fish of which over 24 species are only found in Sri Lanka. Around 1,000 species of fish are found in the coastal waters surrounding the island.
Marine Life : Five species of sea turtles and 25 species of whales and dolphins can be seen in the territorial waters of the Indian Ocean. These mostly seen around the southwestern and the southeastern coast.
Reptiles : Out of more than 90 species of snakes found in Sri Lanka, the cobra is the most well known. In addition, many species of lizards, two species of crocodiles and monitors also inhabit the island.
Invertebrates : Over 240 species of butterflies can be seen in Sri Lanka out of which 14 species are endemic.
SFlora : A rich variety of plant life are found in Sri Lanka of which a majority are endemic to the island. Many species of colorful and rare orchids, ferns, ayurvedic herbs and plants, large trees, bromeliads and epiphytes adds to the wealth of the island's plant kingdom.
Sri Lanka is very rich for its size and about 433 species have been recorded. In addition to the many resident birds, a considerable number of migratory species winter in the country to escape their northern breeding grounds. There are 233 species which are resident, of which 26 are endemic. The other resident species are also found in the near by Indian mainland, but over 80 have developed distinct Sri Lankan races. Some of these races are very different in their plumage characteristics from the related forms in India.
WILD LIFE PHOTOGRAPHY Sri Lanka is one of the best places for wildlife and nature photography in the world, being a biodiversity hyper hotspot with a contrasting variation of ecologies such as Wetland Marshes, Mangoves, Rain Forest, Dry evergreen forests, Cloud Forests in the highlands with mesmerizing landscapes for long-range scenic shots as well as some of the world's most beautiful sandy beaches.