Sri Lanka is is one of 34 biodiversity hotspots of the world. The land is a paradise for a nature lover – be it the marine wonders or endemic wild life. The main attraction of Sri Lankan wild life is the native Sri Lankan elephants. And also sightings of the leopards, sloth bear, lizards, blue whales, dolphins are also quite common in the reservations.
The marine life around the island is an actual underwater pradise. Hence blue whales, dolphins and turtles are some of many wondeful creatures you can meet in Sri Lanka.
Most noteworthy, the Sri Lankan wildlife and Marine Life is protected. So it is our duty to protect the biodiversity of the island by being a responsible traveller.
Native Wild Life Commonly Sighted by Travellers
- Sri Lankan Elephant
The Sri Lankan elephant is one of three recognised subspecies of the Asian elephant, and native to Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan has been listed as endangered by IUCN. These majestic animals are found at several national parks in Sri Lanka.
The elephant conservation strategy of the Department of Wildlife Conservation aims at conserving as many viable populations as possible in as wide a range of suitable habitats as is feasible.
At Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage injured elephants are treated, and orphaned baby elephants cared for. Nearly 70 elephants live here. Captive breeding is also going on. It is a famous hotspot for elephants lovers. The Udawalawe Elephant Transit Centre in Udawalawe National Park is a rehabilitation centre, where orphaned elephant calves are cared for before released back into the wild.
- Sri Lankan Sambar Deer
The Sri Lankan sambar deer is a subspecies of sambar deer that lives in India and Sri Lanka. It is one of the largest sambar deer species with the largest antlers both in size and in body proportions. Large herds of sambar deer roam the Horton Plains National Park, a famous traveller’s hotspot where it is the most common large mammal.
- Rillow – Toque Macaque
The toque macaque is a reddish-brown-coloured Old World monkey endemic to Sri Lanka, where it is known as the rilewa or rilawa.
- Sri Lankan leopard
The Sri Lankan leopard (Kotiya) is a leopard subspecies native to Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan leopard was listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. According to a BBC article, the Sri Lankan leopard has evolved to become a rather large leopard subspecies with very large males reaching almost 220 lb (100 kg), due to the fact that it is an apex predator without competition by other large wild cat species in the country.
- Sri Lankan Junglefowl
The Sri Lankan junglefowl aka the Ceylon junglefowl is a member of the Galliformes bird order which is endemic to Sri Lanka, where it is the national bird.
- Sri Lankan Sloth Bear
The Sri Lankan sloth bear is a subspecies of the sloth bear which is found mainly in lowland dry forests in the island of Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan sloth bear is highly threatened.
Marine Life Commonly Sighted by Travellers
- Endangered sea turtles
There are five globally endangered sea turtles are visited Sri Lankan coastlines.
- Neritic & Pelagic Seabirds
At least fifty-three species of seabirds are currently recognised from Sri Lanka and almost all are migratory with a few breeding species. Some are famous for the great length of their long annual journeys. Several migratory species found around Sri Lanka are from September to April while some frigatebirds, petrels, shearwaters, skuas and noddies from the southern hemisphere are seen between March and October. The most intensive movement of seabirds occurs annually around July on the western seaboard. (slam.lk)
- Whales, Dolphins, Porpoises & Dugongs
- Manta Rays, Mobula Rays, Stingrays, Skates & Electric Rays
- Corals & Coral Reefs
Sri Lanka has an abundance of coral reefs around most part of the island. They are rich in biodiversity with over 180 hard coral species recorded. The colourful coral reefs with tropical fish and other marine species and shipwrecks with spectacular artificial reefs can be explored at several diving and snorkelling locations.
The varying coral and rock formations have its own beauty for dive enthusiasts to explore. Dive centres around Sri Lanka offer day dives and some even night dives. Snorkelling expeditions are available for the less adventurous to marvel at the beauty of the corals and marine life from shallower seas.
Sources: English Wikipedia, slam.lk