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Nature and Wildlife in Sri Lanka

Strict Nature Reserves
|| Hakgala || Ritigala || Yala (Block 2) ||

National Parks
|| Bundala || Gal Oya || Horagolla || Horton Plains || Kaudulla || Lahugala Kitulana ||
|| Lunugamvehera || Maduruoya || Minneriya || Somawathi || Udawalawe ||
|| Wasgamuwa || Wilpattu || Yala (Ruhuna) || Yala-East (Kumana) ||

Natrure Reserves
|| Flood Plains || Hikkaduwa (Corals) ||

|| Bellanwila Attidiya || Gall Oya-Northeastern || Gall Oya-Southwestern ||
|| Pigeons Island || Mihinthale || Senanayake Samuddraya || Udawatta Kele ||

Rain Forests
Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Articles on Sri Lankan Wildlife

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Sri Lanka had an abundance of wildlife in the 1800s. Villagers used to hunt animals like deer, sambur, buffalo, wild boar etc. for their consumption. However, during the middle of that century the government found that there was organized poaching by parties that came to the villages from outside and shot these animals including leopard for their skin and deer for antlers and meat, thereby reducing the animal population steadily.

In addition, the Britishers, who lived in this country, also indulged in hunting, which was one of their favourite sports. This further reduced the number of animals.

The government decided to enact, in 1872, an "Ordinance to prevent the wasteful destruction of buffaloes and game throughout the island". Game included deer, sambur and peafowl.

In 1894, a group of planters formed the Ceylon Game Protection Society. Their main objective was to assist the government to protect wildlife or game as it was then called. Game was only those animals that they hunted.

Their motive in starting this association was also selfish in that it helped to protect game, which they could later shoot with licences obtained from the government.

They also established Resident Sportsmen's Reserves, which were solely maintained for hunting by members of the association. Yala and Wilpattu were the first of such reserves. Today these are two of Sri Lanka's major national parks. Today Sri Lanka has 13% of its land area under protection for fauna and flora.

Depending on their objective, there are different types of protection offered to these areas such as Strict Nature Reserves, National Parks, Nature Reserves, Jungle Corridors and Sanctuaries. They cover all the ecological and climatic regions of the country.


Strict Nature Reserves

No human activities are allowed in these areas and they are protected as a pure natural ecosystem. Research work is allowed under strict supervision and strict guidelines.
The areas under this classification are

National Parks

National Parks are the areas allowed for the public to see and study wildlife. However necessary rules and regulations are introduced to ensure the maximum protection to wildlife and their habitats.

The areas under this classification are

Nature Reserves

Wildlife viewing and studying are not allowed in Nature Reserves. However scientific studies are encouraged under supervision. The Major difference in this category compared to Strict Nature Reserve is, in Nature Reserves traditional human activities are allowed to continue. But this right in not transferable.

The areas under this classification are


Protection of the habitats and allowing human activities simultaneously done in the sanctuaries. Sanctuaries may include private lands too. Sanctuaries ensures the protection of wildlife which are outside the state land. It is not necessary to obtain a permit to enter into such areas. However the activities area regulated by the Flora and Fauna Protection Ordinance (FFPO)

The areas under this classification are

  • Anawilundhawa
  • Anuradhapura
  • Bellanwila Attidiya
  • Buddhangala
  • Chundikulam
  • Elahara-Girithale
  • Gall Oya-Northeastern
  • Gall Oya-Southwestern
  • Galpara Doopath- Ambalangoda
  • Galways Land
  • Honduwa Island
  • Horagolla
  • Kagagamuwa
  • Kahalla Pallekele
  • Kalamatiya
  • Katharagama
  • Kimbulwana Oya
  • Kokilay
  • Kudumbigala
  • Kurulu Kele(Kegalle)
  • Ma Imbulkanada-Nittambuwa
  • Madin Duwa
  • Madu Para
  • Madunagala
  • Mahakanadara Wewa
  • Mihinthale
  • Minneriya-Girithale
  • Muthurajawela
  • Nimalawa
  • Padavi Wewa
  • Palle Malala
  • Paraputuwa Meheni
  • Paravi Doopath
  • Pareithive Island
  • Polonnaruwa
  • Rawana Ella
  • Ridiyagama
  • Sagamam
  • Samanala
  • Senanayake Samuddraya
  • Seruwila-Alley
  • Sigiriya
  • Sorber (Big) Island
  • Sorber (Small) Island
  • Sri Jayawardhanapura Birds Sanctuery
  • Thangamaley
  • Thellwatta
  • Trincomalee
  • Udawatta Kele
  • Vavunikulam
  • Victoriya Randenigala Rantambe
  • Weerawila
  • Welhilla Kagagilla
  • Welipara
  • Willpattu-North
  • Yoda Wewa

Articles on Sri Lankan Wildlife


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Updated August 23, 2007
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August 23, 2007