Eco Tourism in Eastern province Sri lanka
Sri Lanka is considered as being one of the most biodiverse areas in South Asia and in fact has been recognized as a global diversity “hotspot”. Throughout its history, Sri Lanka has had various forms of parks and has the oldest protected areas system on record in the world. Currently there are 12 protected areas in the country; these areas contain samples of all the main ecosystems that support the varied species of life in the country. What you will see will thrill and captivate you.
To protect and conserve these natural resources, the Ministry under which the Department of Wildlife Conservation falls, has appointed a task force to formulate a Policy for Wildlife Conservation and Management. This task force has also made recommendations to bring the existing Fauna & Flora Act in line with the urgent needs of wildlife management and conservation. This policy has also addressed the issue of the sustainable use of the wildlife resources in the country, and the participation of the local communities, in the planning and implementing programs for the management and conservation of Sri Lanka’s wildlife, both within the protected areas and outside.
At present, 22% of Sri Lanka’s land area is covered by forest and a censiderible amount of this exist in the Eastern province of Sri lanka. Sri Lanka’s ancient rulers were keenly aware of the importance of forest conservation for ecological needs. Large wilderness tracts were set aside as reserves for rain catchments and pest control purposes. We are also a people that cherish the Sacred Bo tree, the oldest historically documented tree in the world. For over twenty centuries we have treasured the flora around us for their curative powers in our indigenous medical system. Many varieties of trees, both tropical and temperate thrive within the diversified climate. The tall majestic trees of the wet zone tropical forests contrast with the arid scrub land and talipot palms of the dry northern and eastern plains. The vegetation found on the hills ranges from the almost treeless patanas to the dark rhododendron forests.
The open parklands of the Eastern Province Sri lanka add to the variety with trees, which are of great value to the Ayurvedic pharmacopoeia. The famous Sri Lankan spices grown in abundance in the wet zone lowland and hills. Highly prized timber trees such as ebony, teak, mahogany are also found here. Throughout the year, you will find fruits in abundance. There are also botanical gardens offering fascinating collection of tropical and subtropical flora.
Sri Lanka has a long history of conservation rooted in Buddhist teachings of kindness and compassion to all living things. In fact, Sri Lanka has the distinction of having the world’s first wildlife sanctuary dating back to the 3rd century BC. There are 86 species of mammals to be found in Sri Lanka and of these, 16 are endemic to the Island. Of the 427 recorded species of birds, 250 are resident and 26 are endemic, making an ornithologist’s paradise. The Island plays host to 242 species of butterflies, most being found in the lower foothills. All major groups of vertebrates are found here, most endemic to the island, especially amphibians and reptiles.
There are 54 species of fish, mostly found in the marsh and river areas. Of the 54, there are 14 endemic species found in the wet-zone streams. Of the 38 species of amphibian found, 16 are unique to the Island. There are 75 species of endemic reptiles, 2 species of crocodiles, the Star Tortoise, 83 species snakes, 5 of which are lethal.
Beneath the seas of eastern province Sri lanka lies a fascinating water world of multi-colored coral, rainbow hued tropical fish and shipwrecks infested with a myriad of sea life. Don a mask, snorkel, flippers or scuba gear and get up close and personal with the watery side of life. If you are not this adventurous, explore in a glass-keeled boat.