To protect our Wildlife we must conserve our Wilderness and for our Wilderness to be meaningful our Wildlife must be able to roam free within it.
The Leopard Project : Summary

SUMMARY

Aims of the Project:

  1. To identify viable leopard populations in all habitat types extent within the island.
  2. To verify the importance of the leopard on the variant environments in which it resides thereby allowing for a more thorough conservation approach.
  3. To garner as much information necessary for an overall countrywide conservation plan.

The Project to Date:

Research 

To date WWCT has conducted ecological research on the leopard in multiple locations across the island- 

  • Yala National Park (NP) (2000- 2002; 2009-11)
  • Wanni jungles (2010-2011)
  • Patch forests in Kandy and Agrapatana (2003 – 2011)
  • Horton Plains NP (2012)
  • Wilpattu NP (2014-2015)
  • Ritigala SNR (2014-2015)
  • Peak Wilderness Sanctuary and adjoining areas (2016-ongoing)

We maintain an island-wide distribution map, which together with site-specific abundance estimates and habitat selection data we utilize to determine the status of the Sri Lankan leopard for the IUCN’s Red List.

Conservation

  • Charting the actual extant of forest cover left on the Island with specific emphasis on connecting forests, especially those in the ridge forests which are Sri Lanka’s highest wilderness habitat (up to 7500 ft). The hope is to eventually campaign for these areas to be included under National Park protection status. This falls under Forest Connections of the WWCT Trust.
  • Mitigation of human-animal conflict. Some of the chosen study sites include habitats with a higher degree of human induced pressure. Our work in these areas will reveal the reasons why human-animal conflict is on the rise and contribute towards methods of mitigating such problems.

Education & Training

  • Training of Department of Wildlife Conservation field staff.
  • Provision of accurate map source for the Government in study areas.
  • Public awareness and education via lectures, television programmes and informal community based talks.
  • Documentation of Biodiversity. Phase II is centered on previously uninvestigated forest areas. Our work will document the biodiversity in these previously uncharted habitats.
  • Through community awareness programmes in border settlements and tea estate communities the hope is to reduce the numbers affected by human/animal conflict.

By increasing the awareness of leopards as a vital species within Sri Lanka's natural environment it is hoped that its citizens will value it and contribute towards its preservation and thereby the nation’s natural heritage.

Principal Investigators: Andrew Kittle, Anjali Watson

This is a Sri Lankan Government Department of Wildlife and Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources approved project (WL/3/2/1/4/1, 04/02/02/441).

Go up