Land monitors (Sinhalese: Thalagoya) have an impressive habitation range, being found even in the highly urbanised areas of Sri Lanka – they are not an uncommon site in Colombo and its suburbs – despite that jungle being of the concrete variety. These adaptable lizards may grow up to 6 feet (180cm) long even in inhospitable environments such as drains and sewers below the asphalt roads of the big city. Although not a protected species in Sri Lanka, the hunting and killing of Land Monitors in the cities is minimum, as they are hardly an invasive species, and will generally stay away from humans. They are, however, known to prey on smaller mammals such as rats and mice, helping control the levels of vermin in populated areas. The downside of this is that they might hunt smaller pets – puppies, kittens, rabbits, chickens etc. Continue reading “Sri Lankan Leopard Safari”
The Yala National Park is usually at its driest in May, but the early months of 2016 have been unusually dry. Much of the water had gone dry, with small pools of mud remaining, where you might encounter water buffalos. These dry conditions forced elephants, deer, wild boar and other mammals to travel towards the Manik River, which itself was reduced to just a small stream. Continue reading “Apex Predator in its Element”
The Sri Lankan leopard, or panthera pardus kotiya as it is scientifically known, is what is known as an apex predator – meaning it has no natural enemies that prey on it, for food or for sport. For thousands of years, this majestic carnivore has been sitting comfortably on top of the local food chain with no real challengers to the throne, with its kin spread over a significant portion of the island. That is, until that lethal bipedal usurper Homo sapiens started to get in its way.
Founders of the Wilderness & Wildlife Conservation Trust’s (WWCT) Leopard Project Dr. Andrew Kittle and Anjali Watson who have been carrying out exhaustive research into Sri Lanka’s leopard population for the past 15 years on Thursday presented their findings in a public presentation titled ‘The Sri Lankan Leopard – Chipping away at the truth,’ where they were able to shed some light on the many unanswered questions about the country’s only big cat that also happens to be an endangered, endemic sub-species that plays an integral role in the effective functioning of the island’s diverse ecosystems. Continue reading “Lankan Leopard in the spotlight”