SRI LANKA – Biodiversity
Despite its small size, Sri Lanka has one of the highest rates of biological endemism in the world, be it plants or animals, and is one of the top five biodiversity hotspots in the world. Of the ninety-one species of mammals found in Sri Lanka’s Asian elephants, sloth bears, leopards, sambars, and wild buffalo attract most of the attention of wildlife enthusiasts. However, the rarest mammals in Sri Lanka are the red-slender loris, toque macaque and purple-faced langur, which, according to the IUCN, are endangered by habitat loss.
Meanwhile, large families of whales live in the ocean around Sri Lanka, including the mighty blue whales, sperm whales and lively dolphins. A total of 26 species of whales dominate the country’s waters, making it one of the best places to spot whales and dolphins.
Despite the mighty elephants and rare amphibians found in the countryside, birds are the fame of Sri Lanka’s wildlife. With nearly 433 species of birds, 233 of which are native to Sri Lanka, there are 20 endemic species in Sri Lanka. Another 80 species have evolved different races in Sri Lanka compared to their cousins in mainland India.
Although less famous, Sri Lanka has one of the richest species of amphibians in the world that includes over 106 amphibian species, of which over 90 are endemic. The country has long claimed to have the highest density of amphibians in the world with a high concentration in the Sinharaja rainforest.