There are no limits to the variety and number of plants and animals in Sri Lanka. Being a tropical island full of rain-forests, Sri Lanka has 21 national parks, including two marine national parks in Hikkaduwa and the famous Pigeon Island in Trincomalee.
Sri Lanka is also known for the highest density of leopards in the world at the famous Yala National Park. Another major attraction is the annual ‘elephant gathering’ which happens at the Minneriya National Park. This gathering is said to be the 6th animal spectacle in the world.
The Yala National Park is a combination of 5 blocks of land and is both nature and parkland. This massive park spreads to around one thousand hectares, but at present, only 2 sections are open to the public. This park is a treat for nature lovers to explore, as it consists of sunshine forests, scrubs, various varieties of grasslands and even lagoons and tanks.
This vast park is situated in the South-East of Sri Lanka and is home to 44 forms of craniates and 215 bird species. It was selected as a life sanctuary in 1900 and thereafter as parkland in 1938. This park has the highest concentration of leopards, majestic elephants, sambars, jackals and even sloth bears. The best time to visit this national park is between February and July as the water levels of the park will be low and the animals usually come into the open during these months.[/vc_column_text]
The Bundala Park is most famous for its flamingo’s. These magnificent birds are said to migrate to this park from the Rann of tannic acid in northern Bharat and can be seen in several numbers in the forests of Bundala. Although the breeding habits of these birds are unknown, they are a beautiful sight for bird lovers. This park is home to several varieties of peacocks (also known as the Indian pheasants). These majestic birds are a beautiful site as they sit perched on the rosewood trees of the park.
The Wilpattu National Park was recently opened after the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka. Many wildlife enthusiasts were impatiently waiting for the opening of this park, and now they can freely explore and discover the wonders of Wilpattu. This park is one of the oldest and most treasured national parks in Sri Lanka and is home to many species of plants and animals. It is situated in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka and is quite different to the Yala National Park.
The Wasgamuwa Park is located in the Matara and Polonnaruwa districts bordered by the Mahaveli watercourse. It spreads out to a neighborhood of 37062.9 hectares and was declared a park in 1984. This park is evident proof that it was a space dwelled by ancient Sri Lankan kings due to the remains of the Wilmitiya and Dasthota tanks. These tanks showed the prosperity of the traditional kingdoms in the ancient times.
Horton Plains is a UNESCO World Heritage Site & Eco-tourism hideout in the heart of the Sri Lanka, surrounded with unending stretches of green pastures, marking one of the healthiest wet montages of evergreen forests in Sri Lanka. The plains are a beautiful sight with misty grasslands and ice-cold rivulets. There is a famous point known as the “World’s End” that is considered to have the finest view point in Sri Lanka and is a 400 ft drop towards the southern end. Horton Plains has an altitude of over 7000 ft and the plateau sweeps to a robust 3169 hectares, sheltering various varieties of plants and animals. Horton Plains gets a lot of rain from the North West monsoon and throughout the year. The average temperature for Horton Plains is around 13C, although one can expect temperatures as high as 27C throughout the day and 5C in the nights.
The Udawalawe park is located 175 km from the capital of Sri Lanka and is situated in the Ratnapura and Monaragala districts. This park spreads out to 30,821 hectares and was declared a National Park on June 30th 1972.
It’s a host to a variety of wild animals and plants, but is mostly famous amongst locals and tourists both for the great number of elephants. Some of the other animals here are buffaloes, Sambur, wild boars, Crocodiles, toque monkeys, gray langurs and also a variety of bird species such as the grey hornbill, black headed Heron and many more.
The Sinharaja Forest is a world heritage site and also a major Eco tourism destination in Sri Lanka. It is situated in the South West of Sri Lanka and is particularly in the lowland and wet zone. It stretches out to three major districts of Sri Lanka – Galle, Matara and Ratnapura. This forest is a tropical wet forest and is home to many species of animals and plants. Bird watching in this forest is particularly popular and interesting amongst many tourists who visit the forest. Sinharaja was named a world heritage site in 1989.
The name ‘Sinharaja’ derived from the Sinhalese word ‘Sinha’ (which means Lion) and ‘Raja’ (which means King). There is a legendary mystery about this forest, it is said that the Sinhalese people were originated from the marriage of a Princess and the Lion king who once lived in this forest!
The Kumana Park is a bird sanctuary park and is situated in South-Eastern course of Sri Lanka. There is a hundred acre flowering swamp in this park – known as the ‘Kumana Villu” – that is occasionally filled with ocean water. This swamp is the place that attracts so many birds and is breeding place for most of them during the months of May & June.