Madu Ganga Sanctuary

The Madu Ganga sanctuary is part of the world heritage, protected by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands since 2003, and it is one of the last wetlands to feature a natural mangrove forest with an exceptional biodiversity.

This lagoon – a partially saltwater lake according to the tides – is dotted with about thirty islands. Some of them are tiny, like the Island of Meditation (which shelters a hermitage on a few square meters) and sometimes inhabited by thousands of invisible residents (since their houses are hidden behind the mangrove trees).

 

The Madu Ganga is a paradise of fauna and flora with 30 % of the entire Sri Lankan fauna and even 45 % of the island’s avifauna. There are 110 species of birds, for example, 12 of batrachians, 24 of mammals, 70 of fish, 30 of reptiles, 50 of butterflies, as well as 300 species of plants.

The Mirala Duwa Island has been deforested and exploited during the colonization era, thanks to coconut tree and cinnamon plantations. Chanaka’s grandfather used to look after them. After independence, the island has progressively returned to its wild state, reverting to an inextricable jungle. Since 2007 Chanaka has undertaken to revive the island by clearing a part of its surface for the purpose of farming. Another part of it is left in its natural state to allow for the observation of the numerous bird species that are either resident or migratory.

Nowadays, the island is an important developing orchard, providing dozens of different kinds of fruit trees and plants that are common to wetlands. There is also a big kitchen garden to promote the diversity of Sri Lanka vegetables. All these fruits and vegetables will be sold at the Balapitiya market, respecting the environmentally-friendly principle of local production and consumption.

 

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