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Horton Plains, is the mountane National Park in Sri Lanka,. Also only one in which visitors are permitted to tour on foot. height of more than 2000 m.

The Horton Plains are the headwaters of three major Sri Lankan rivers, the Mahaweli, Kelani, and Walawe. In Sinhala the plains are known as Maha Eliya Plains. Stone tools dating back to Balangoda culture have been found here. The plains' vegetation is grasslands interspersed with montane forest, and includes many endemic woody plants. Large herds of Sri Lankan Sambar Deer feature as typical mammals, and the park is also an Important Bird Area with many species not only endemic to Sri Lanka but restricted to the Horton Plains. Forest dieback is one of the major threats to the park and some studies suggest that it is caused by a natural phenomenon. The sheer precipice of World's End and Baker's Falls are among the tourist attractions of the park.

The mean annual rainfall is greater than 2,000 millimeters (79 in). Frequent cloudy cover limits the amount of sunlight that is available to plants. The mean annual temperature is 13 °C (55 °F) but the temperature varies considerably during the course of a day, reaching as high as 27 °C (81 °F) during the day time, and dipping as low as 5 °C (41 °F) at night. During the southwest Monsoon season, the wind speed sometimes reaches gale force. Although some rain falls throughout the year, a dry season occurs from January–March. The ground frost is common in February. Mist can persist in the most of the day during the wet season.[6] Many pools and waterfalls can be seen in the park, and Horton Plains is considered the most important watershed srilanka.

Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker had advised the British Government "to leave all Montane Forests above 5000 ft. undisturbed" and an administrative order to this effect had been issued in 1873 that prevented clearing and felling of forests in the region. Horton Plains was designated as a wildlife sanctuary on 5 December 1969 and because of its biodiversity value, was elevated to a national park on 18 March 1988. The Peak Wilderness Sanctuary which lies in west is contiguous with the park.

The vegetation of the park is classified into two distinctive groups, 2,000 hectares (7.7 sq mi) of wet patana (Sinhalese for "montane grasslands") and 1,160 hectares (4.5 sq mi) of subtropical montane evergreen forests. Nearly 750 species of plants belonging to 20 families have been recorded from the park. The forest canopy reaches the height of 20 metres (66 ft) and features Calophyllum walkeri, forming communities with varieties of Myrtaceae species such as Syzygium rotundifolium, and S. sclerophyllum, and Lauraceae members including Litsea, Cinnamomum, and Actinodaphne speciosa. The undergrowth layer is characterised by Strobilanthes spp. The thickness of the Strobilanthes vegetation hinders the development of a herb layer. Dwarf bamboo species such Indocalamus and Ochlandra also found in the undergrowth layer. Rhodomyrtus tomentosa bushes specially grow in forest margin and near the mountain peaks. Species such as Gordonia and Rhododendron arboreum have spread to Sri Lanka, along the Western Ghats of South India from the Himalayas and are now common. Nearly 54 woody plant species have been recorded from the park, of which 27 (50%) are endemic to Sri Lanka.

The vertebrate fauna of the region includes 24 species of mammals, 87 species of birds, nine species of reptiles and eight species of amphibians The Sri Lankan Elephant disappeared from the region in the 1940s at the latest.] At present, the largest and the most commonly seen mammal is the Sambar Deer. Some research findings estimate the population of Sambar Deer to be around 1500 to 2000, possibly more than the carrying capacity of the plains.[6] Other mammal species found in the park include Kelaart's Long-clawed Shrews, Toque Macaques, Purple-faced Langurs, Rusty-spotted Cat, Sri Lankan Leopards, Wild boars, Stripe-necked Mongooses, Sri

Lankan Spotted Chevrotains, Indian Muntjacs, and Grizzled giant squirrels. Fishing Cats and European Otters visit the wetlands of the park to prey on aquatic animals.[2] A subspecies of Red Slender Loris, the Horton Plains Slender Loris (Loris tardigradus nycticeboides formerly sometimes considered as Loris lydekkerianus nycticeboides) is found only in highlands of Sri Lanka and is considered one of the world's most endangered primates.[10][11] In July 2010 a group of researchers from the Zoological Society of London was able to photograph the mammal for the first time.
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