leopards in sri lanka

leopards in sri lanka

elephants in sri lanka

elephants in sri lanka


 

Wildlife in Sri Lanka

 

The need to conserve the environment was deeply ingrained in traditional Sri Lankan society: in the 3rd c. BC, the country’s first Buddhist monarch established the world’s first wildlife sanctuary. Today, this tradition continues with 13% of Sri Lanka conserved as national parks, reserves, sanctuaries and jungle corridors.
Sri Lanka possesses a high degree of biodiversity. Indeed the island (together with the Western Ghats of India) has been identified by Conservation International as one of 34 world biodiversity hot spots. In addition, The Sinharaja Forest Reserve, the country’s last viable area of primary tropical rainforest has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. What’s remarkable is the high proportion of endemic species.

A safari in one of the 14 national parks offers the chance to see some of Sri Lanka’s 91 mammals (16 endemic) - elephant, leopard, sloth bear, sambhur, spotted deer, hog, mouse- and barking-deer, wild boar, porcupine, ant-eater, civet cat, loris, giant squirrel, and monkeys such as the macaque, purple-faced leaf monkey and grey langur.

The island is an ornithologist’s paradise, with over 233 resident species, (33 endemic) - but migratory species stretch the number to an astounding 482. There are 171 reptiles (101 endemic including two crocodile species). Thankfully, only five of the 83 snake species are lethal. In recent years there has been a surge in the discovery of amphibians, so that by the time you read this, the figure of 106 (90 endemic), will no doubt have risen.

  • Yala National Park
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    Yala National Park is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka, bordering the Indian Ocean located South-East of the country. Divided into 5 blocks, the park has a protected area of nearly 130,000 hectares of land consisting of light forests, scrubs, grasslands, tanks and lagoons. Two blocks are currently opened to the public. Yala was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900, and, along with Wilpattu was one of the first two national parks in Sri Lanka, having been designated in 1938. Ironically, the park was initially used as a hunting ground for the elite under British rule. Yala is home to 44 varieties of mammal and 215 bird species. Among its more famous residents are the world's biggest concentration of leopards, majestic elephants, sloth bears, sambars, jackals, spotted dear, peacocks, and crocodiles. The area around Yala has hosted several ancient civilizations. Two important pilgrim sites, Sithulpahuwa and Magul Vihara, are situated within the park.

  • Wilpattu National Park
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    Wilpattu National Park is located on the West side of the island of Sri Lanka. The unique feature of this park is the existence of "Willus" (Natural lakes) - Natural, sand-rimmed water basins or depressions that fill with rainwater. Located in the Northwest coast lowland dry zone of Sri Lanka. The park is located 30 km west Anuradhapura and located 26 km north of Puttalam (approximately 180 km north of Colombo). The park is 1,317 square kilometers (131, 693 hectares) and ranges from 0 to 152 meters above sea level. Nearly sixty lakes (Willu) and tanks are found spread throughout Wilpattu. Wilpattu is the largest and one of the oldest National Parks in Sri Lanka. Wilpattu is among the top national parks world-renowned for its leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) population. A remote camera survey was conducted in Wilpattu from July to October 2015 by the Wilderness & Wildlife Conservation Trust. A sample of forty nine individual leopards were photo-captured in the surveyed area and the core area density was between that of Yala National Park's Block I and Horton Plains National Park. 31 species of mammals have been identified within Wilpattu national park. Mammals that are identified as threatened species living within the Wilpattu National Park are the elephant, sloth bear, leopard and water buffalo. Sambhur, spotted deer, mongoose, mouse and shrew are more of Wilpattu's residents.

  • Gal Oya National Park
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    Gal Oya National Park in Sri Lanka was established in 1954 and serves as the main catchment area for Senanayake Samudraya, the largest reservoir in Sri Lanka. Senanayake Samudraya was built under the Gal Oya development project by damming the Gal Oya at Inginiyagala in 1950. An important feature of the Gal Oya National Park is its elephant herd that can be seen throughout the year. Three important herbs of the Ayurveda medicine, triphala: Terminalia chebula, Terminalia bellirica and Emblica officinalis are amongst the notable flora of the forest. From 1954 to 1965 the park was administrated by the Gal Oya Development Board until the Department of Wildlife Conservation took over administration. The national park is situated 314 km from Colombo. 32 terrestrial mammals have been recorded in the park. The Sri Lankan elephant, Sri Lankan axis deer, muntjac, water buffalo, Sri Lankan sambar deer, Sri Lanka leopard, toque monkey and wild boar are among them. Included amongst the reptile species of the park are the mugger crocodile and star tortoise. More than 150 species of birds have been recorded in Gal Oya. The lesser adjutant, spot-billed pelican and red-faced malkoha are some of the park's resident birds. The Indian cormorant, Oriental darter, grey heron, and lesser whistling duck are among the common water birds of the Senanayake reservoir. The white-bellied sea eagle, and grey-headed fish eagle are the notable raptors of the area. Gal Oya National Park's butterfly species include the endemic lesser albatross.

  • Kumana National Park
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    Kumana Bird Sanctuary, declared in 1938, is located 391 kilometres (243 mi) southeast of Colombo on Sri Lanka's southeastern coast. Kumana is one of the most important bird nesting and breeding grounds in Sri Lanka. Kumana was formerly known as Yala East National Park, but changed to its present name in 5 September 2006. 255 species of birds have been recorded in the national park. From April to July tens of thousands of birds migrate to the Kumana swamp area. Rare species such as black-necked stork, lesser adjutant, Eurasian spoonbill, and great thick-knee are breeding inhabitants. Waders belonging to families Scolopacidae and Charadriidae are among the visitors to the area along with waterfowl. Pintail snipes migrate here flying 9,000 kilometres (5,600 mi) to 11,000 kilometres (6,800 mi) from Siberia. Asian openbill, glossy ibis, purple heron, great egret, Indian pond heron, black-crowned night heron, intermediate egret, little egret, spot-billed pelican, Indian cormorant, little cormorant, common moorhen, watercock, purple swamphen, white-breasted waterhen, pheasant-tailed jacana, black-winged stilt, lesser whistling duck and little grebe are the bird species migrate here in large flocks. Among the rare birds that migrate to the swap are the yellow-footed green pigeon, greater racket-tailed drongo, Malabar trogon, red-faced malkoha, and sirkeer malkoha. Pacific golden plover, greater sand plover, lesser sand plover, grey plover, ruddy turnstone, little ringed plover, wood sandpiper, marsh sandpiper, common redshank, common sandpiper, curlew sandpiper, little stint, common snipe, and pintail snipe are the common wading birds of the park. Tilapia and mullet are the commonly fished varieties in the area while Channa spp. are also caught occasionally. Mugger crocodile, Indian flap-shelled turtle and Indian black turtle are the common reptiles inhabiting the park. Mammals such as golden jackal, wild boar, Sri Lankan elephant, European otter, and fishing cat also visit the swamp to feed. The number of elephants roaming in the Kumana is estimated at 30–40

  • Udawalawe National Park
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    Udawalawe National Park lies on the boundary of Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces, in Sri Lanka. The national park was created to provide a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe Reservoir on the Walawe River, as well as to protect the catchment of the reservoir. The reserve covers 30,821 hectares (119.00 sq mi) of land area and was established on 30 June 1972. It is a popular tourist destination and the third most visited park in the country. Udawalawe is an important habitat for water birds and Sri Lankan elephants, which are relatively hard to see in its open habitats. Many elephants are attracted to the park because of the Udawalawe reservoir, with a herd of about 250 believed to be permanently resident. The Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home was established in 1995 for the purpose of looking after abandoned elephant calves within the park. A total of nine calves, on two occasions in 1998 and 2000, with another eight calves in 2002, were released in the park when old enough to fend for themselves. The rusty-spotted cat, fishing cat and Sri Lankan leopard are members of the family Felidae present in Udawalawe. The Sri Lankan sloth bear is seldom seen because of its rarity. Sri Lankan sambar deer, Sri Lankan axis deer, Indian muntjac, Sri Lankan spotted chevrotain, wild boar and water buffalo are among other mammal species. Golden jackal, Asian palm civet, toque macaque, tufted grey langur and Indian hare also inhabit the park. A study conducted in 1989 found that considerable numbers of golden palm civets inhabit the forests of Udawalawe. Five species of mice also have been recorded from the park. The endemic Ceylon spiny mouse, known from Yala National Park, was recorded in Udawalawe in 1989. Indian bush rat and three species of mongoose are also recorded in the national park.

  • Lahugala National Park
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    Lahugala Kitulana National Park is one of the smallest national parks in Sri Lanka. Despite its land area, the park is an important habitat for Sri Lankan elephant and endemic birds of Sri Lanka. The national park contains the reservoirs of Lahugala, Kitulana and Sengamuwa and they are ultimately empties to Heda Oya river. Originally it was designated as a wildlife sanctuary on July 1 of 1966. Then the protected area was upgraded to a national park on October 31 of 1980. Lahugala Kitulana is situated 318 km east of Colombo. This national park is traditionally used by elephants as a feeding ground. A herd of 150 individuals is attracted by Sacciolepis interrupta grass which is common around the Lahugala tank. Endemic toque macaque, tufted gray langur, sloth bear, golden jackal, rusty-spotted cat, fishing cat, Sri Lanka leopard, wild boar, Indian muntjac, Sri Lankan axis deer, Sri Lankan sambar deer, Indian pangolin and Indian hare are the other mammals found in the park. Many wetland birds found in Lahugala Kitulana include great white pelican, purple heron, painted stork, lesser adjutant, Anas spp., white-bellied sea eagle, grey-headed fish eagle, common kingfisher, stork-billed kingfisher, white-throated kingfisher. Spot-billed pelican, Asian openbill and woolly-necked stork are also recorded visiting the wetland. The last recorded sighting of knob-billed duck, now thought be extinct in Sri Lanka, occurred in here. Red-faced malkoha and Sri Lanka spurfowl are two endemic birds that reside in the park.

  • Maduru Oya National Park
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    Maduru Oya National Park was established under the Mahaweli development project and also acts as a catchment of the Maduru Oya Reservoir. The park was designated on 9 November 1983. Providing a sanctuary to wildlife, especially for elephants and protecting the immediate catchments of five reservoirs are the importance of the park. A community of Vedda people, the indigenous ethnic group of Sri Lanka lives within the park boundary in Henanigala. The park is situated 288 kilometres (179 mi) north-east of Colombo. The importance of the park's fauna is its richness, which includes a number of endemic species. Threatened mammal species include elephants, of which there were 150-200 before the establishment of the park, sloth bear, leopard and water buffalo. A 2007 study showed that the current elephant population was around 150 to 200. Other mammals are toque monkey Macaca sinica, common langur Presbytis entellus, jackal Canis aureus, fishing cat felis viverrina, wild boar Sus scrofa, Indian muntjac Muntiacus muntjak, spotted deer Cervus axis, and sambar C. unicolor. Small mammals include porcupine Hystrix indica, black-naped hare Lepus nigricollis, Indian pangolin Manis crassicaudata, squirrels, rats and mice. European otter Lutra lutra has also been reported in the park. Maduru Oya National Park is one of the recorded habitats of the grey slender loris Loris lydekkerianus. The park's diverse aquatic avifauna includes painted stork Mycteria leucocephala, white-bellied sea eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster, grey pelican Pelecanus philippensis, great cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo , and little cormorant P. niger. Notable forest species are endemic Sri Lanka junglefowl Gallus lafayetii, the rare broad-billed roller Eurystomus glaucurus (possibly the only dry zone haunt), common tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius, shama Copsychus malabaricus, black-hooded oriole Oriolus xanthornus, and woodpecker Dendrocopos nanus. Endemic red-faced malkoha (Phaenicophaeus pyrrhocephalus) also occurs. The reservoirs harbor several species of bird including Oriental darter Anhinga melanogaster, spot-billed pelican Pelecanus philippensis, Asian openbill Anastomus oscitans, black-headed ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus, and Eurasian spoonbill Platalea leucorodia.

  • Wasgamuwa National Park
  • Somawathiya National Park
  • Horton Plains National Park
  • Bundala National Park
  • Lunugamvehera National Park
  • Minneriya National Park
  • Kaudulla National Park

   
       
  leopards in sri lanka