Why Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is rated world’s 34 biodiversity hot spots (Conservation International) due it’s rich biodiversity and wildlife. The establishment of wildlife reserves dates back to 3rd centuary BC when King Devananpiyatissa created a sanctuary in the south of the country (Yala), where animals would be protected (The National Atlas of Sri Lanka). There are 26 National Parks in Sri Lanka which are administered and promulgated by the Department of Wildlife Conservation in Sri Lanka and which accounts to 12% of the land area of the entire country.
These national parks and the rest of the country are home to a wide range of flora and funa, including much endemic wildlife to Sri Lanka. This consist more than 4,000 species of flowering plants, 245 species of butterfly, 92 species of freshwater fish, 207 species of reptiles, 108 species of amphibians, 492 species of birds, 95 terrestrial species of mammals and several thousand invertebrates.
Furthermore, Sri Lanka claims a wide and unique range of spectacular wildlife in the world. Out of many countries in the globe, Sri Lanka is the only country that you could witness largest mammals, whales and elephants altogether in one go. If you ever visit Sri Lanka during the months from August to October, you can witness the largest gathering of Asian elephants where closer to 300 elephants gather at Minneriya, now known internationally as ‘The Gathering’ (Lonely Planet); the largest concentration of leopards in the world in Yala National Park (Big Cat Diary BBC); and is one of the best places in the world to see blue whales, off the coast of Mirrisa in the deep south.
Not to be outdone by mammals, the avian aspects of Sri Lanka wildlife, though lesser known is also quite spectacular. Of the 400 odd species of birds, 33 are endemic to Sri Lanka, while the mixed bird species feeding flocks in the Sinharaja Virgin rainforest is said to be quite unique.