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Sri Lanka's Big 5

Lazing on a treetop, blending in perfectly with its surroundings, the big cat is almost invisible, yet the absence of tigers in Sri Lanka makes for a leopard with real attitude.  Usually tagged ‘Prince of the Night’, this cat is well out of its normally nocturnal closet.  Confident, it will stroll in the open by day, to every ecotourist’s delight. There are believed to be about 600 leopards across Sri Lanka today, mostly in the protected parks and reserves. Yala National Park has one of the highest recorded densities of leopards in the world,

The Majestic elephant moves with steady deliberation, placing huge round feet with incongruous gleaming toenails on the dusty, dry-season soil.  The matriarch leads the way along a route she has followed year after year for perhaps the last half century. How many of these giant mammals still roam the island of Sri Lanka?  Estimates put the number at 2,500-3,000 wild elephants. Around the middle of the year, as many as 200-300 elephants make their way to the Minneriya lake in the Minneriya National Park, possibly one of the few places on earth where such splendour can be enjoyed.

Third must-see, on the Sri Lankan wildlife scoreboard, is the Sri Lanka Sloth Bear. These shaggy, shuffling and rather hunch-backed black bears may be seen loping around even in daylight and are endemic to Sri Lanka.

In the turquoise waters of Sri Lanka, the awe-inspiring presence of the Blue Whale and the Sperm Whale completes the eco-attractiveness of this haven for wildlife.

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