The Leopard Park – Yala National Park Sri Lanka

 

You guys must be thinking what is wrong with this guy talking all techy stuff and now suddenly changing the topic :D. You guys might not know that I am a huge fan of Wild Life ;). So I thought of sharing my knowledge on Wild Life in my country, actually about the Leopards and how interested I am on Leopard watching :D.

Tourism is one of the main industries in Sri Lanka and it’s booming over the past few years. Tourists are coming all over the world to visit Sri Lanka. Major tourists attractions are focused on some of the famous beaches located in southern and eastern parts of the country and the ancient heritage sites located in most of the parts in the country. But now Sri Lanka has become one of the most famous Wild Life destination in the world. The small beautiful island has some prominent Wild Life sanctuaries and national parks. Wild Life in Sri Lanka is something really gifted to this country.

Most of the people visit Yala National Park which is the most visited and largest nation park in Sri Lanka. Yala Park lies along the semi arid south-eastern coast and is Sri Lanka’s most popular leopard park. Divided into five blocks the park routinely receives day visitors into Block One, and into other blocks by special permission. I became a Wild Life fan since I went to Yala for the first time in 2010 April. Over the past one and half years I have been twice to Yala. Actually first time we saw a Leopard near a pond. It came to drink water. The Leopard was there for few minutes. We couldn’t take a closeup picture since we didn’t have a proper lens 😦 . But we were happy at least we were able to see it for once. So the first trip was over and then after 6 month later we went again. Thank God for giving my friends that kind of an interest (10 of us) :P. We had with us a few friends, all great wild life enthusiasts. The second trip we were luckier to see the Leopard for 3 times. But then again we couldn’t take a proper picture. :(. This time we had a good lens but couldn’t take a proper picture. Unlucky for taking pictures of Leopard I guess. My friend Salmaan was very sad that he couldn’t take a proper picture but he made it when he went for the third time (I couldn’t go 😦 ).

Sri Lanka is consequently one of the few places in Asia where this champion at stealth may be seen with reasonable frequency and more recently to become a major tourist asset. Past research says Sri Lanka is hoped to be the highest concentration of Leopards in the world. Yala National Park has one of the highest recorded densities of leopards in the world. There are around 50-60 Leopards in Yala Park Block 1 says a research. The official estimate for the island’s leopard population hovers between 700 and 950 individuals while a more precise estimate available for (Yala) Block One counts just twenty breeding adults plus their cubs, on average, two cubs per litter; however take into account that only about fifty percent of the cubs survive (Kittle & Watson 2003).

Check out the latest Leopard Distribution Map

To get a better picture of Sri Lanka’s leopard populations, the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society is currently helping sponsor several studies. Among other findings, researchers have confirmed that the Sri Lankan leopard is a genetically-distinct suspecies (Panthera pardus kotiya) that has its own unique habits. But studying wild leopards isn’t easy, as they are expert at hiding themselves in the forest’s brush and shadows. And they are most active at night, further complicating surveys.

Researchers are also keeping an eye on poaching, which the society calls “one of biggest threats” to Sri Lanka’s leopards. The Leopards population have decreased substantially over the last century.

Though the passage of the Fauna & Flora Ordinance of 1938 gave the leopard legal protection, the poaching of leopards outside and inside protected areas has continued unabated. Poaching is still one of biggest threats to theleopard. From January 2001 to the present there have been more than 40 leopards killed by poachers.Fourteen leopards were killed in the Wasgomuwa area in the Central Province. Five leopards were killed inand around the Yala National Park and another five were killed at Uda Walawe with one leopard killed in theNuwara Eliya region. It is obvious that many more leopards must be killed island-wide that go unrecorded.The situation of the leopard is further exacerbated by the burgeoning human population and their need for land. Habitat loss and fragmentation has contributed to the marginalization of the leopard bringing it intoconflict with humans as evident from the recent reports of leopards causing concern in the tea estates around Hantana. These leopards have begun to prey on dogs since human encroachment into their habitat has reduced their habitat and depleted their natural prey base (Kittle & Watson 2003).

Yala Leopards group in Flickr http://www.flickr.com/groups/leopards

This is a documentary done by Cameraman Gordon Buchanan from Scotland and businessman Jehan Kumara frm Sri lanka.

You can share this valuable Sri Lankan image along with your information. Spread the pride of Sri Lanka all over the world.

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