Sri Lanka’s rich biodiversity and untouched natural habitats have been protected and nurtured for generations. For over 2,000 years, both ancient and contemporary Sri Lankan rulers have made it a priority to preserve the land and its wildlife. Hundreds of species of mammals, reptiles and birds call the island home.

Mihintale, the world’s first “reserve”, was created in the third century BC. With such an entrenched national conservation ethic, the country is renowned for its historically high standards of wildlife viewing and over 100 national parks.


Geographically separated from the mainland, many species have evolved in isolation, their habitats free from external influences. Some of the purest examples of nature at work. Heavy monsoon rains and Sri Lanka’s diverse topography have ensured that Sri Lanka’s biodiversity both survives and thrives.

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National Parks

Dry zone

Angammedilla, Bundala, Flood Plains, Gal Oya, Kaudulla, Kumana, Lahugala Kitulana, Lunugamvehera, Maduru Oya, Minneriya, Somawathiya, Udawalawe, Ussangoda, Wasgamuwa, Wilpattu, Yala.

Wet zone

Galway’s Land, Horagolla, Horton Plains


Hikkaduwa, Pigeon Island


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  • Sri Lanka is home to around 123 species of mammal including the large sloth bear, the endemic Sri Lankan leopard and Sri Lankan elephant
  • There are over 171 species of reptile on the island including a variety of snakes, the mugger crocodile and saltwater crocodile
  • Sri Lanka has one of the richest diversity of amphibians in the world, containing over 119 species
  • The island boasts 433 species of birds such as boobies, storm petrels, flamingos and pelicans

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One of the aspects that make Gal Oya National Park truly special is that it is the only place where you can take a boat safari in Sri Lanka and, if you are lucky, see the Asian elephant swimming in its natural habitat. Imagine the thrill of being out on the water, watching these magnificent creatures swimming from island to island, foraging and socializing at the water’s edge. The memory will stay with you long after your return home.