Sri Lanka beautiful Tropical Island in the Indian Ocean is ranked among the top 34 bio-diversity hotspots in the world. But the most of the valuable natural wealth of the island (forests) is started to degrade due to the deforestation that leads to the extinction of some of the animals in Sri Lanka. Accelerated deforestation started during the British rule and the island sees the consequences of it today. Sri Lanka has lost more than 75% of its primeval forest cover over the last 100 years. Expanding human settlements and development projects are largely blamed for the reducing forest cover while the chemicals used in agriculture causing the destruction of living habitat of fish species. According to the statistics Sri Lankan farmers use more pesticide, herbicide and fertilizer than any other country in the region. The run off chemicals make its way to the fresh water streams around the farmland make it inhabitable for fish and amphibian species. The porous skin of amphibians and fastidious environmental requirements are particularly susceptible to the changes that this chemical influx stimulates.
Kandyan dwarf toad (Adenomus kandianua) and the spotted shrub frog (Philautus stellatus) are two of the most beautiful amphibian species that we have lost in the past. These endemic species are extinct with another 19 amphibian species from the jungles of Sri Lanka during the last hundred years. 48.6% of the 284 species of vertebrates in Sri Lanka are considered threatened.
It is estimated that around 72 flora species disssapeared from the island within the same period. According to the IUCN as much as one third of vertebrates and around two third of flora that are evaluated so far are nationally threatened.
Common wrinkled-lip bat (Chaerephon plicatus) and black-necked stork (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus) are two species mainly occurred in the southern parts of the island. Today the number of these species is reduced to around two dozen in the entire island. They are rarely seen around the lakes, lagoons and tanks where they used to be in great numbers. These two species are among the critically endangered species in the red list of IUCN.
Asoka barb (Puntius asoka) is a fresh water fish species that only seen the areas of Kitulgala are in immense pressure for their existence due to the uncontrolled fishing. This is one incident that shows the direct conflict between man and animal in the island. Even though Sri Lanka posses the most number of wild elephants in the region around 150 wild elephants are killed in every year due to accidents, falling into abandoned pits, gunshot injuries. Leopards (Panthera pardus kotiya), Deer, Wild boar (Sus scrofa), Black naped hare (Lepus nigricollis), and Langu (Presbytis entellus) are hunted illegally for meat and skin.
Dumbara pygmy lizard (Cophotis dumbara), Knuckles forest gecko (Cyrtodactylus soba) and Tennent’s horned lizard (Ceretopora tennent) are three main endangered reptile fauna species in the island. All these species found in the misty hills of Knuckles forest range. Marble rock frog (Nannophrys mamarata) is categorized under the critically endangered species alone with Martenstyne’s barb (Puntius martenstyni); blotched filamented barb (Puntius srilankensis) and they are only to be found in the Knuckles forest range.
These are several species that are listed under critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable status. On the other hand large areas of Sri Lanka forests are remain unexplored. And recent research in the forests of Sri Lanka has come up with large number of unknown amphibian species to the island. Despite the loosing forest cover, Sri Lanka considered as one of the most valuable natural habitats in the universe due to the large concentration of endemic fauna and flora species. Identifying the responsibility of protecting the environment government and various other organizations has launched several programs to minimize the damage on the environment such as Tourism earth lung, Elephant conservation centers, Suwasarana Thkasalawa 2012.
- Elephant kraal and traditional method of noosing
- Embarkation of wild elephants
- Conservation of wild elephants in Sri Lanka
- Near extinction animals of Sri Lanka