Sri Lanka is rich in indigenous flora & fauna that form an integral part of the island’s unique biodiversity. The fact that the country has varying geographical landscapes that range from scrub jungles to mountain rainforests means that plant and animal life greatly varies as well, offering something new to discover for those embarking on nature excursions.
There is a vast array of endemic plant and tree life in Sri Lanka that can be found in the country’s forests and grassland areas, be it vibrant orchids to magnificent ironwood trees standing watch over the lush landscapes. Bamboo, satinwood, jak and coconut trees are also easily found, while the island’s forests feature rare indigenous plants that are used for the traditional medicines of Ayurveda. The Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Kanneliya Rainforest and Horton Plains National Park are some of the sites where you can see this diversity.
The exotic wildlife of Sri Lanka is another fascinating aspect of the country’s biodiversity. National parks such as Yala, Wilpattu and Minneriya are ideal sanctuaries to spot the wild life in their natural habitat. On your safari adventures keep a lookout for the Sri Lankan leopard, elephant, sambar deer, toque macaque monkey and sloth bear all of which are endemic. These reserves are also inhabited by a considerable range of reptiles, butterflies & amphibians that help keep this delicate ecosystem in the balance.
A special mention should be made on the large number of bird species, both endemic and migratory, that can be found here. The Kumana, Bundala and Wirawila bird sanctuaries and wetlands such as the Muthurajawela marshes are amongst the bird watching hotspots. The Sri Lankan junglefowl, red-faced malkoha and white-faced starling are a few of the endemic birds one has a chance of spotting, while depending on when you visit, you may also see migratory birds that include the spot-billed pelican, Indian cormorant and eastern great egret.