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Sinharaja Rain Forest

Sinharaja (11,250 ha), is the jewel of the last remaining virgin rainforest crown in country is located in the wet zone of the country. the primeval Sinharaja covers 8900 hectares of breathtakingly beautiful, continuous forest.

Beautiful Streams, springs, rivers, waterfalls, leopard, monkeys, butterflies and moths, rare trees, valuable shrubs and medicinal herbs are all found within its green canopy. A trek along the sinharaja paths would provide nature entusiast a never to be forgotten experience of sights and sounds and feelings.

Due to its high bio-diversity and ecological importance, it has been declared as a National Heritage Wilderness Area and it is the only natural World Heritage Site (declared by UNESCO) in the country.

Sinharaja is one of the few virgin forests left in the world, the forest has series of mountains and ridges rising abruptly from 90m to 1170m above mean sea level. Situated in Ratnapura, Galle and Matara districts in the interior wet zone of the south west of the island.

This is Sri Lanka’s most important rainforest. The forest has tall trees growing in close proximity, but winding paths make it easy to walk along the forest floor. It is inhabited by water monitors, torque macaques, leopards, giant squirrels, purple-faced leaf monkeys and leeches. Bird life includes Ceylon Spurfowl, Ceylon Junglefowl, Ceylon Wood Pigeon, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot, Layard’s Parakeet, Red-faced Malkoha, Green-billed Coucal, Chestnut-backed Owlet, Ceylon Grey Hornbill, Yellow-fronted Barbet, Ceylon Small Barbet, Black-capped Bulbul, Spotted-winged Thrush, Brown-capped Babbler, Orange-billed Babbler, Ashy-headed Laughing-Thrush, Ceylon Blue Magpie, Ceylon White-headed Starling, Ceylon Hill Munia, Ceylon Hill Myna, Malabar Trogon, Black Bulbul, Indian Scimitar Babbler, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Green Imperial Pigeon, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch and Yellow-browned Bulbul.

The highest faunal endemicity of the country is found in the Sinharaja. Out of 12 endemic mammal species of the country 8 are found here. Giant squirrel, dusky-stripped jungle squirrel and endemic purple-faced leaf monkey and torque macaque are frequently seen. Almost 95% of the countries endemic birds (about 19 species) are found here including rare Red-faced Malkoha, Green-billed Caucal, Blue Magpie and Sri Lanka Spur fowl. Diversity among the reptiles and Amphibians are remarkably high. The endemic green pit viper, endemic hump nosed lizard (Lyriocephalus scutatus) and horned lizard (Ceratophora aspera) are common here. Small tributaries and rivers of the forest support the fish such as striped rasbora, walking catfish and endemic comb tail.

Apart from its ecological and biodiversity value its scenic beauty is also invaluable. The largest known tree of the country is found in the Sinharaja, which is an endemic tree. Insect eating Pitcher plant is frequently seen here. This magnificent rainforest is also a home for large number of butterflies. Inside the forest is dark even during the day time due to close canopy above and one can hear the voice of cicadas and frogs throughout the time. Small streams found within the forest contain crystal-clear cool water and one can clearly see the fish, toads and crabs swimming in it. Another characteristic feature of Sinharaja is the mixed species flock formation of its birds. Number of species in the flock can be go up to about 40 species. If you are lucky enough you can experience the tropical monsoon inside the forest, which will be an unforgettable experience.

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