Sri Lanka’s Central Highlands comprising of Peak Wilderness Protected Area, the Horton Plains National Park and the Knuckles Conservation Forest has been the most recent addition to the UNESCO World Heritage list, and was designated a natural heritage site in mid 2010. These montane forests, where the land rises to 2,500 metres above sea-level, are home to an extraordinary range of flora and fauna, including several endangered species such as the western-purple-faced langur, the Horton Plains slender loris and the Sri Lankan leopard. The area is home to the Bear Monkey – the highland race of the endemic Purple-faced Leaf Monkey. In the Peak Wilderness a small herd of elephants still roam.
The region is considered a super biodiversity hotspot. The avi-fauna diversity in the region is also high with many endemics found only in the hill country like the Whistling Thrush, Bush Warbler, Yellow-eared Bulbul, Dull-blue Flycatcher, Sri Lanka White-eye and the Wood Pigeon.
The site includes the largest and least disturbed remaining areas of the submontane and montane rain forests of Sri Lanka, which are a global conservation priority on many accounts. More than half of Sri Lanka’s endemic vertebrates, half of the country’s endemic flowering plants and more than 34% of its endemic trees, shrubs, and herbs are restricted to these diverse montane rain forests and adjoining grassland areas.