Kirala Kele is an area covered with mangrove forests in the south of Sri Lanka, situated in Matara district along Hakmana road and Akuressa road. It is 3km away from Matara town. This specific area is known as marshlands, irrigation tanks with channels and mangrove habitats. It stands today as a key habitat for wetland biodiversity in the country. It lies between one of the longest rivers in the country and known as Nilwala River.
This wetland supports 16,000 people living around it. These communities use the wetland for fishing, raising cattle and cultivation of crops. This is home for many aquatic and inland flora species in the country. Water flowers such as water lily, blue star, water snowflake and lotus grow in abundance. People collect these flowers to offer them at temples. This wetland is home for 83 flora species, 13 species of mammals, 48 bird species, 25 freshwater species. It is a key location to see the Green faced leaf monkey which is an endemic species to Sri Lanka.
The beauty of this is that there are 103 species of birds of varying hues that add color to the area. If you have not experienced Whistling ducks then Kirala Kele is the place to be where these wonderful birds move among a variety of others as well. Kirala Kele it not only a feeding area for birds and other species but also provides a nesting grounds for such species.
The area can be visited anytime during the year. The easiest method to reach this location is by a tuk-tuk and it will cost you SL Rs. 300 to reach the wetland via Matara.
But it is sad to witness the deteriorating quality at present due to the various construction processes that are going on around this beautiful habitat.