Bundala National Park
Bundala National Park is one of the smallest national parks in Sri Lanka but quite unique. The national park is adjoined to a protected coastal area in the southeastern part of the country. It consists of marshes, lagoons, and sand dunes.
It is also the first wetland in the country to be declared in 1991 as Ramsar site in recognition of its importance to areas of high biodiversity value, including wetlands. The park is also considered an internationally important habitat for migratory birds. Bundala has about 230 indigenous and migrant bird species, including many wetland species.
In 2005, UNESCO designated the National Park as a biosphere reserve, The Bundala Biosphere Reserve (BBR). Bundala is Sri Lanka’s only biosphere reserve located at the coast. Despite the small size of the park, you can still see Asian elephants, deer, porcupines, leopards, wild boars, jackals, different types of fish and amphibia, five different species of sea turtles and two species of crocodiles.
The park is for wildlife photographers and bird watchers a must!
The Kanneliya Rainforest is Sri Lanka’s lesser-known forest reserve, with two of the island’s main rivers running through it and a diverse range of wildlife living within its thick canopy. Neatly tucked away just 35 kilometres away from Galle, the forest reserve also houses around 78 villages. The wildlife tracker who will guide you in Kanneliya is from one of these forest reserve villages and has spent his entire lifetime living within the reserve. The scenery in the area is straight out of the Jungle Book and the opportunity to be out in nature makes this a fantastic experience for children and families.
The Kanneliya National Park is home to many species of endemic wildlife. The forest reserve is home to close to 17 percent of lowland endemic floral species and 86 species of mammals, 20 endemic species of birds, 36 species of snakes, 23 species of lizards, 14 species of lizards, 32 species of butterflies and 20 percentage of the country’s endemic fish which inhabit the two main rivers that are fed by the springs of the Kanneliya Rain Forest. Some of the endemic birds you can see here are the endangered Red Faced Malkoha, Orange Billed babbler, Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, Sri Lanka Spurfowl and the Sri Lanka Jungle Fowl.