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Muthurajawela Marshes

West Coast, Sri Lanka.
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Overview
Muthurajawela is the largest saline coastal peat bog in Sri Lanka, located on the west coast between Negombo Lagoon and Kelani River and spreading inland up to Ragama and Peliyagoda in the Gampaha District.
The marsh, together with the Negombo Lagoon, forms an integrated coastal wetland eco-system. This marsh lagoon complex is estimated to have originated about 5,000 BC.
The annual rainfall here is about 2,000-2,500m, while the average annual temperature is 27c. The northern section of the marsh covering an area of 1,777ha was declared a sanctuary in July 1996 under the Fauna & Flora Protection Ordinance.
Muthurajawela harbours over 194 species of flora distributed over seven major vegetation types which includes marsh, lactic flora, shrub land, reed, swamp, grasslands, stream bank and mangrove forest.
A total of 194 species of vegetation belonging to 66 families have been recorded which include one endemic species (Phoenix zelanica). Among the different types of vegetation, the shrub land consists of 115 species with the mangrove forest and stream bank consisting of just 23 species each.
The vertebrate fauna includes 40 species of fish, 14 species of reptiles, 102 species of birds and 22 species of mammals. Among the total vertebrate species documented 17 are endemic while 26 are nationally endangered.

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