Emad Sangani – July
I heard about WWCT and The Leopard Project through a friend,
who had already enrolled himself with them and was all set to start work on the
Wilpattu study site from August. I immediately googled about the WWCT and their
Leopard Project and managed to find Ms. Anjali Watson ‘s contact details. To be honest it was quite a
task to get in touch with her at the time, as she was in the field, but finally
she had the time to read up on my resume and call me up for an interview.
On meeting Ms. Anjali
she explained to me what and how exactly they work, and how we would contribute
as volunteers and what our role would be. All fine and dusted and we were to
begin work coming August, which was the 2nd round of Camera Trapping in
So I started off in
August when I joined Ms. Anjali and Dr. Andrew Kittle for my first time in the
field when they were just beginning the second round of camera trapping. We
were inside the park for 3 days, first taking off the cameras from the previous
round, then setting them up again for the second.
At first I thought
setting up camera traps would be an easy task and wouldn't really require much
effort. When you actually do start setting up one though, is when you realize
it's a completely different process. Setting a camera involves first finding
the best location to set it up, so as to get the best chance of ‘catching’ a
leopard, while also making sure it's not too visible to the public. Then
there's a process of mimicking the leopard walk and checking if everything is
That aside over the course of the three months that I was
part of the WWCT team and the project, I learnt and experienced an immense
amount of things, things I might have
never experienced if not for this project.
Setting up camera traps being one skill, also other things
like measuring and analyzing pug marks, collecting scat, analyzing scrapes and
scent marks ( I actually touched a part of the soil to smell the urine, and
that is one strong scent I'll never forget !)
I was also able to
gather a lot of information about how things work in the field, as well as what
happens post data collection. I was able to learn from Dr. Andrew how data is
analyzed, presented and published and even the difficulties and hardships when
it comes to this kind of work.
Long story short, being part of The Leopard Project and the
WWCT has been an amazing experience so far, and I hope to continue working with
them on future projects.