Male dull green shrub frog (Pseudophilautus viridis) in cloud forest above Nuwara Eliya.
Sri Lanka’s Central Highlands have been recognized for their significant biodiversity. The area is a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site yet (adopted in 2010) and there is a growing awareness about its unique flora and fauna. The Highlands are composed of the mountainous region at the heart of the southern island and include significant areas such as Peak Wilderness, Horton Plains National Park, the Pidurutalagala forests, the Knuckles protected area and several smaller tracts of forest. Most of the Central Highlands have largely been cleared of original vegetation in support of the plantation (mainly tea) industry. This happened during the 19th and early 20th centuries during colonial rule though recent decades have seen loss of forest to hydroelectric dams, plantations expansion and other human land uses. Today the remaining protected areas may be a small percentage of the total area, but they are well protected and offer the opportunity to experience some of Sri Lanka’s unique biodiversity.
Collage of low res snapshots taken of life forms and waste on the trail to Sri Pada during the DP1 ES&S field study there in December 2015.
The elusive Pied Thrush (Geokichla wardii), one of the most difficult birds to see in Sri Lanka. Male above and female in the inset image. Spotted at Nuwara Eliya’s Victoria Park during the Week Without Walls with the expert guidance of Ishanda Senevirathna, the naturalist at Jetwings’ St. Andrew’s Hotel.
Calotes nigrilabris, the black-lipped lizard, basking in the sun just off the precipitous slope of Kirglpotta’s summit. This agamid (dragon) species is endemic to the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka.
A study of Pseudophillauts viridis, a rare endemic shrub frog from Sri Lanka’s cloud forest. All females except the bright green male in the upper right. Identification courtesy of Ishanda Senevirathna of St. Andrew’s. Kamilla found the male that is photographed here and the MYP5 students helped with holding lights.
Several different shrub frogs including Pseudophillauts schmarda and others (to be updated shortly) from the Nuwara Eliya nocturnal frog walk.
The Rhino Horned Lizard (Ceratophora stoddartii), an endemic cloud forest species from Sri Lanka’s Central Highlands. This female (top image) and male (middle and lower image) were photographed in Horton Plains National Park where their populations are stable, though not always easily seen.
PAST WWW TRIPS
PAST SRI PADA STUDIES
- OSC Class of 2010 (Sri Pada 2008 trip)
- OSC Class of 2011 (Sri Pada 2009 trip)
- OSC Class of 2012 (Sri Pada 2010 trip)
- OSC Class of 2013 (Sri Pada 2011 trip)
- OSC Class of 2014 (Sri Pada 2012trip)
- OSC Class of 2015 (Sri Pada 2013 trip)
- OSC Class of 2016 (Sri Pada 2014 trip)
FURTHER READING & REFERENCES
Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF). Western Ghats and Sri Lanka Biodiversity Hotspot. May 2007. Web.
Pethiyagoda, Rohan. Horton Plains: Sri Lanka’s Cloud Forest National Park. Colombo: WHT, 2013. Print.
Rodrigo, Malaka. “Lanka’s central highlands win heritage battle”. The Sunday Times. 8 August 2010. Web.
Werner, Wolfgang. Sri Lanka’s Magnificent Cloud Forests. Colombo: Wildlife Heritage Trust, 2001. Print.
Class of 2017 stopping at the clearing on their way up to the summit of Sri Pada. We had clear views of the peak and surrounding forest all the way up to the temple at the summit. Back row: Carolyn, Brittany, Ahnaf, Sanoj, Shenali & Erika. Front row: Ian, Ariana and Jamaal. Photograph by Abbi Pilapitiya.