''Sri Lanka is one of the best locations in the world, if not the best, for wildlife tourism, asserts naturalist Gehan de Silva Wijeyaratne''
And why wouldn’t they opt to come here? As Gehan points out, during your stay in Sri Lanka, you can catch some rays on the beach, see some whales in Mirissa or Kalpitiya, go on a leopard safari in Yala and marvel at the wild elephants in Wilpattu or Minneriya. (Minneriya is home to the largest annual gathering of wild elephants in the world).
“I don’t think there is awareness of how much money wildlife tourism is generating for this country. In 2008, we used minimum rates and did a calculation (with room charges, etc.) and the total came up to about a billion rupees. Now, post war, rates have doubled; there are more rooms available, and thanks to internationally produced documentaries spreading the word globally, the figure has probably doubled or tripled,” he says.
Gehan himself had a part to play in the recently released Wild Sri Lanka: a National Geographic special. His book, also titled Wild Sri Lanka, served as the basis for the hugely successful documentary that included, among other things, awe inspiring underwater footage of a super-pod of sperm whales. (Incidentally, Sri Lanka offers the best chance in the world for spotting super-pods of sperm whales).
And then there are the birds. According to Gehan, half the scientific orders of birds found in the world can be spotted in Sri Lanka – some endemic, some migratory.
Sri Lanka’s reptile population is 14 times richer per unit area than some of the bigger islands such as Madagascar and Borneo (about 350 species of reptiles in total – “notso reassuring, is it,” he adds with a chuckle).
Via Daily FT