The Wanniyala-Aetto ("forest beings") are an indigenous people of Sri Lanka, an island nation in the Indian Ocean. Known as "Veddahs" in Sri Lanka's main language, Sinhalese, they are hunter-gatherers and have lived in their tropical forest environment for the past eighteen thousand years. They are disappearing rapidly, due to assimilation and the loss of their forest home. Population estimates range from several hundred to a few thousand.