Sri Lanka, an island located in the Indian Ocean, is considered a biological hotspot due to its multitude of ecosystems that co-exist harmoniously in a limited space. Although the country is just over 65,000 km2 in area, it is among the 35 bio-diversity hotspots in the world due to its high point endemism. Having the highest biodiversity in Asia, National Red List 2012 states that Sri Lanka is home to 2,936 species of fauna, 3,492 species of flora and 3,021 marine species. The country is also home to the largest animals in the world, on land and sea, elephants and whales. The wildlife aspect of the country is so rich that over 14% of the total land in Sri Lanka is protected under Department of Wildlife Conservation in Sri Lanka. This remarkable ranking in nature’s treasures makes Sri Lanka a favourite tourist destination, which only raises the stakes in the importance of conserving the wildlife of Sri Lanka.
There are many threats to wildlife in the country, high rate of development prominent among them. Many of the developmental activities tend to take over or destroy the habitats of flora and fauna, which is a major problem. Another major threat is the high rate of tourism, where wildlife is being domesticated for the sake of financial gain among the locals. It is in this light that many animals are slaughtered to make mementos, and other animals are domesticated as a photo opportunity. If one happens to go on a Sri Lanka wildlife tour, one is likely to encounter animals such as elephants who, though in the wild, are accustomed to being fed by the tourists and have made it a photo op. activities such as these threaten the survival of wildlife, which needs to be preserved. However, there are many responsible touring companies operating in the country too. Mahoora Tented Safari Camps is one such endeavour, which is world’s only Carbon neutral safari camp.
Wildlife, no matter where they are, needs to be conserved. In the context of Sri Lanka, this is more important as a significant component of country’s social, economic and biological well-being is dependent on the wildlife of the country.
Fritzjames Stephen is a travel writer, who writes content based on the myriad of experiences and indulgences that the world has to offer travellers across all walks of life.