The Enchanted Wildlife - Bird Watching, Safari
There is a long tradition of conservation rooted in its ancient traditions which teaches kindness to all living creatures and indeed Sri Lanka has an abundance of exotic and varied wildlife - whether it be on land or in the water.
Mammals - Of the 92 species of mammals in Sri Lanka , 14 of which are endemic, pride of place goes to the majestic elephant.
Despite human encroachment, the island's biggest cat - the leopard - continues to prowl the remaining small forest areas. Many species of deer - the Sambar, the Hog Deer and the Mouse Deer - as well as the Sloth Bear can be found in the Parks. Other mammals such as the Wild Boar, Porcupine and Monkey - especially the Grey Langur - are common throughout the island. In the north-western seagrass beds, the protected Dugong can still be spotted. The Bear Monkey, a subspecies of the endemic Purple-faced Leaf Monkey is confined to the montage region, whilst the others arc found across humid areas of the country. The highest endemic number of mammals in Sri Lanka are amongst the shrews, and the largest group of mammals-consisting of 36 species - are bats.
Butterflies - To the naturalist, Sri Lanka offers a tantalising array of interesting and unique butterfly forms. Of the 242 known species, 42 are endemic to the island.
Inland Waterways - With cascading waterfalls and as many as 103 rivers, all major groups of vertebrates can be found in Sri Lanka . Of these, the highest endemic species are found in the amphibian and reptile group. Most of the 107 species of fish are marsh and river dwelling.
An Orchestra of Birds for Bird Watching Lovers - The abundance of Sri Lanka 's bird-life makes it an ornithologist's paradise. Of the 435 recorded species, 230 are resident, and no less than twenty-three are endemic to the island. Most of the endemic birds, like the Sri Lanka Myna or the Yellow-eared Bulbul, are restricted to the wet zone. Others such as the striking red-faced malkoha and the Sri Lanka Spot-wingcd Thrush, can be found throughout the island, although confined to small areas of humid forest.
Among the best areas for bird-life are the Sinharaja Forest Reserve, the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary and the Polonnaruwa Archaeological Reserve Area. Around mid-August, the first flocks of the species that winter in Sri Lanka begin to arrive with large numbers of waders from northern temperate countries - sandpipers, stilts, plovers and tcrns - finding refuge in the unique lagoons along the coastal belt
In the forested areas, migratory tree warblers, thrushes and cuckoos can be found. Reservoirs in the dry zone attract numerous types of ducks, whilst large water birds - including storks, herons and egrets - can easily be spotted in areas such as Buniala, Kalametiya and Wirawila in the north-western province. The eastern lagoons in the island, particularly Bundala, are especially famous for migrating flocks of flamingoes.
If it is Game Fish you are after, then there are plenty of Marlin, Barracuda, Yellowfin or Grouper to be found in the Ocean off Sri Lanka - as well as sightings of Dolphins and Whales.
The reefs and seabeds also offer another exciting attraction. For the skilled diver; underwater archaeologists or photographer submerged wrecks abound in coastal waters - from centuries old galleons to the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes (sunk in 1942), there are plenty of wrecks to explore.