SRI LANKA, A BIODIVERSITY JEWEL
Several books gave this title at this place for its incredible diversity compared the size of land. Situated in the end part of Asia has a dimension around 66000km2 corresponding, more or less, to about half size of England. Here at the same time you can find big sand beaches, historical places, beautiful landscapes and a lot of incredible animals as, for example, the asian leopards. It is the best place in Asia where you can see continental terrestrial mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians and more.
Starting from Colombo, the main city of Sri Lanka, the landscapes change immediately from buildings, cars and tuc-tuc to forests and silence.
The main rainforest of the island is located in the southwest of it in the low country wet zone. The rainforests are extremely important for the environment for conserving and protect the fauna. Here about of 800 species of plants are endemic and of these about of 60% are living in the rainforests. The Sri Lanka rainforests, thanks to their origin in the Gondwana, are a connection between the Asian forests and African ones. The link allowed at the species to colonize this land during the favourable climatic conditions.
Moving away from the rainforests we can find cloud forest, in the mountain areas and around 1500 meters a.s.l., and the dry lowland forest. These zones are more or less then two-thirds of the island and include a big variety of vegetation types, including monsoon forest, riparian forest, sand dunes habitat and mangroves.
In Sri Lanka today are present 21 differrent National Parks under the umbrella of the Department of Wildlife Conservation and the Forest Department. In the south of Sri Lanka the main parks are Yala (Ruhunu) NP and Uda Walawe NP. Moving to the north of the island in the middle part of it there is the Wasgamuwa NP and, a few kilometers from it, other two parks are present… Minneriya NP and Kandulla NP.
In the last centuries here an amazing event known as “The Gathering” happens during each year among August and October with a peak of activity in September-October. During the event hundreds of elephants travel to the shores, to bathe, mate, socialize and, most importantly, to feed, of an ancient reservoir built by a king more than 1700 years ago.
Although the main possibilities to see the animals are inside the parks in Sri Lanka there is nature everywhere. In fact, a great number of animals are in the sanctuaries and, for example, the best place where you can see the primates is the Sigiriya Sanctuary. In Sri Lanka, the nature is dominant and you can live in real contact with it, out of the ordinary life.