Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka.

 

 

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Trekking and Nature Trails in Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka

Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka.HORTON PLAINS NATIONAL PARK, Sri Lanka is undoubtedly one of the world's best nature reserves and eco tourism venues. It is characterised by a beautiful landscape of rolling hills, covered in upper montane forest and wet patana grassland.

In general, the forests are seen on the hilltops or upper slopes the grasslands in the valleys and lower slopes, eventually giving way to wetland habitats. Spanning approximately 10,000 hectares the park is also home to a wide variety of flora (57 species, 29 endemic to Sri Lanka) and 24 species of mammal such as elk, deer, giant squirrel, wild boar, wild hare, porcupine and leopard. For bird enthusiasts, there 87 species (14 of which are endemic), including many migratory birds.


The Plains also feature many interesting attractions such as 'Bakers Falls', 'Chimmini Pool' and the famous 'World's End' (a 3700 ft sheer drop that offers fabulous views of the tea estates below and all the way out to the distant southern coastline). Read more about Horton Plains National Park .....
Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka. Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka. Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka.
History and the Description of the Horton Plains National Park: Map - Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka.

The Horton Plains are located on Sri Lanka 's highest plateau, between altitudes of 2,000 and 2, 300m. The landscape typically consists of undulating lands covered in a tropical cloud of forests or verdant montane savannah grasslands, locally known as patannahs. Visiting Horton Plains or 'Mahaeliya' as it is traditionally named is quite popular amongst locals, who mostly come to admire the views from the park's thrilling escarpments such as World's End at weekends . For this reason we recommend that you try to organise your visit during a weekday as this ensures that you will experience the Plain's isolated serenity.

Visitors to the park can follow a 10km loop that incorporates all of the spectacular features, enabling them to enjoy them while adhering to the strict rules for environment protection and nature conservation. The best time to visit is early in the morning as this is when the air is likely to be clearest so that you can enjoy the best of the views. In the afternoons, clouds tend to descend and the area becomes submerged in mist. This is equally enthralling though and provides evidence for the evolution of this forest type. Allowing a half-day should give you plenty of time to enjoy it all at a leisurely pace.

 
Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka.The Plains are actually named after Sir Robert Wilmot Horton, a rather selfish and bloody-minded Brit (no surprise there then) who was singularly responsible for the slaying of all of the elephants in the area between 1831 to 1837. Although there is little hope of elephants ever returning, you can at least walk around in comparative safety admiring the many other interesting creatures around and about. Of these perhaps the most worthy of a mention are the Samber Deer, a common sight at dusk and in the early hours of the morning.
Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka.In order to get the most out of your visit we recommend that an expert naturalist provided by Eco-team take you around. These guides are good company and extremely knowledgeable; having their input can add a lot more interest to the trip.
 

New endemic mammal found in Sri Lanka
Mountain Mouse - Deer in Horton Plains

One of Sri Lanka 's least known mammals, the mouse-deer found in the highlands of Sri Lanka has been photographed in the wild. This may well be the only occasion in which it has been photographed to a 'publishable standard' under truly wild conditions. . For many years it was believed that Sri Lanka had one species of Mouse-deer, which was shared with Southern India . Colin Groves a British Taxonomist in June 2005 published a paper in a special supplement (No 12) of The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology whereby he distinguished three species of* Mouse-deer from Sri Lanka and India. The Indian Mouse-deer (Moschiola indica) was, split, as a new species and is now- considered .endemic to the Eastern Ghats of India. The Mouse deer found in Sri Lanka was split in to two new species. The White spotted Mouse-deer found (Moshiola meeminna) in the dry zone of Sri Lanka and the Yellow-striped: Mouse-deer (Moschiola kathygre) found in the wet zone of Sri Lanka. Both species are endemic to SriLanka. Presently this raises the number of endemic mammals found in Sri Lanka to eighteen species.

Colin Groves in his paper on mouse-deer from India and Sri Lanka also stated that 'a single skull from Sri Lanka 's Hill Zone may prove to represent a fourth species'. The 'Mountain Mouse-deer' is evidently a very scarce animal. Many of the field staff Horton Plains National Park had not seen one although they regularly encounter other nocturnal mammals including leopard.

A Mountain Mouse-deer was seen under quite dramatic circumstances on Monday 25th February by wildlife populariser Gehan de Silva Wijerathne & Nadeera Weerasinghe Naturalist St Andrew's Hotel. With the permission from WLDC it was temporally held captive for research and observation  purposes and released back in to the wild on the 27 th February.

Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka. Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka. Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka.


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