Sri Lanka’s leopards are under threat, but this woman is determined to save them
Sri Lankan conservationist Anjali Watson says that as forests the place leopards stay are cleared to plant crops and construct properties, the large cats are being squeezed into pockets of wilderness that do not join with one another.
“We have misplaced loads of leopards,” says Watson. No person is aware of what number of prowled the land earlier than the warfare, however about 70% of the animals’ habitat has been destroyed, and solely 750 to 1,000 grownup leopards stay, she says.
What’s extra, leopards are prone to getting caught in snares. The wire traps are normally set for bushmeat species, together with wild boar and deer, however they’re indiscriminate in what they catch.
As Sri Lanka’s prime predator, and its solely massive cat, the leopard “performs a key function” in Sri Lanka’s ecosystem, says Watson. “We name it an umbrella species,” she says, as a result of taking steps to avoid wasting leopards protects all the opposite species that share their forest residence.
A ardour for wildlife
Watson grew up within the metropolis of Colombo, however “I cherished being out in wild areas … I’ve a robust affinity with animals” she says.
(Video courtesy of Chitral Jayatilake)
In 1994 she moved to Ontario, Canada, to review at McMaster College, and met her future husband, Andrew Kittle.
A couple of years later the couple, who share a ardour for wildlife, had settled in Sri Lanka. In 2000 they launched a pilot undertaking to review leopards in Yala Nationwide Park within the island’s southeast. On the time, little or no was recognized concerning the elusive animals, says Watson. To guard them, it was very important to know their lives — and to depend them.
Putting in the cameras is usually grueling work, says Watson. It could actually contain lengthy drives on spine-rattling, rocky tracks, clambering up hillsides, bushwhacking by means of jungle, and occasional encounters with elephants, bears and snakes, in addition to leeches and ticks.
Out within the subject, the crew collects leopard scat to seek out out which animals they’re looking — leopards usually are not choosy eaters and their eating regimen consists of deer, monkeys, wild boar, porcupines and hares.
Watson hopes that WWCT’s information will assist to form improvement plans that make area for leopards. If corridors between forest patches and buffer zones round protected areas are safeguarded, each people and animals may thrive. Watson is devoted to making sure that these “stunning, fabulous creatures” survive.
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