As night steals over the verdant paddy fields of Wellawaya, cool winds from the Poongala Mountains ripple the golden stalks of a bountiful harvest and dispel the heat of the day. Silhouetted against the twilit sky, a dark figure glides silently on the breeze, darting amongst the branches and disappearing into shadowy trees of Jetwing Kaduruketha.
Modeled after a traditional Sri Lankan home garden, the agro-luxury hotel’s premises is dotted with native fruit and medicinal trees. While going hand in hand with the hotel’s concept of agro-luxury, the garden provides far more habitat niches for wildlife than would a manicured lawn and indeed, the faunal diversity of Jetwing Kaduruketha is impressive, with bird species alone numbering over hundred and twenty. A simple wander through the gardens is sure to reward you with enthralling moments with the area’s dazzling array of wildlife.
To catch a glimpse of the hotel’s most elusive resident, however, one must wait for the veil of darkness to fall and accompany the naturalist on a torch-lit nightly excursion around the expansive premises.
Among the most secretive of Sri Lanka’s mammals, the giant flying squirrel (Petaurista philippensis) has found refuge amongst the trees of Jetwing Kaduruketha. A nocturnal member of the squirrel family, it utilizes loose flaps of membrane stretching between its limbs to glide between trees, earning its namesake. Attracted to the budding leaves and flowers of Jetwing Kaduruketha’s mango trees, this otherwise seldom seen animal is frequently sighted at the property.
The next time you visit Jetwing Kaduruketha, make sure you book yourself in for a nightly stroll around the hotel; you might just encounter the elusive.
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