Home to many nature parks and reserves, Sri Lanka is a wildlife enthusiast’s dream destination. The tear-shaped island south of India boasts an array of wildlife ranging from mammals to reptiles and is a favourite retreat for migratory birds. Many of Sri Lanka’s historic ruins, temples and wildlife reserves are found in the famous cultural triangle amidst which lies Hotel Sigiriya near the iconic Sigiriya Rock Fortress.
Stay at one of several Hotels Sigiriya and visit the Wasgamuwa, Kaudulla, Wilpattu and Minneriya National Parks situated near Sri Lanka’s historic cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. Being a dry zone, many of the nature reserves found in Sri Lanka’s Central Province are bordered by rivers and have savannah-like open spaces and dense shrub land that surround historic tanks. The 8,890 hectare Minneriya National Park, for example, is built around the 3rd century Minneriya tank where the surrounding plain is a popular feeding ground for wild elephants from neighbouring districts. Sri Lanka’s Central Province is famous for wild elephants and a solitary elephant can often be seen walking along the Habarana – Trincomalee road. Elephant herds are known to cross the trails that run through Wilpattu and Wasgamuwa National Parks (two of the country’s largest reserves) that is collectively home to over 300 wild elephants.
Among other endemic mammals seen in the region’s nature reserves is the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear, Leopard, Rusty-spotted cat, Water buffalo, Spotted Deer and Sambar Deer. Over 30 mammal species and reptiles including crocodiles, lizards, cobras, pythons and turtles reside in the region’s nature parks while Minneriya, Kaudulla, Girithale National Parks and Hurulu Eco Park are bird sanctuaries that is home to one third of Sri Lanka’s 400 bird species including Painted storks, Great White Pelican, Grey Heron, Sri Lanka Jungle fowl, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot and Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill. In Wasgamuwa National Park, 50 butterfly species including 9 endemic species flutter among Sri Lanka’s flora and fauna gazed upon by families of Purple-faced Langur monkeys.
Pushpitha Wijesinghe is an experienced independent freelance writer. He specializes in providing a wide variety of content and articles related to the travel hospitality industry.