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Tragic story of Sri Lanka leopards

sri lankan leopards

A person was arrested in March 2012  in Vavuniya he was possessing teeth and skin of a leopard at the time he was taken into custody. Later on, it was revealed that the leopard had been killed by using a trap to get the skin. Leopard in Sri Lanka is endemic to the island they are being categorized as the biggest leopards in the world. Leopard is the top predator on the island and they are seen rarely in the national parks such as Wilpattu, Yala, Horton plains etc.

Leopards were once known to have a wider distribution throughout the world, but today they merely restricted some parts of sub-Saharan Africa, and they reported in few numbers in the countries such as Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Indochina, Malaysia, and China. Poaching and habitat loss have been identified as the main reasons for the reducing number of Leopards population. According to the fauna flora act, leopard is declared as an endangered animal species in Sri Lanka and it is a protected animal.

Even though killing a leopard is a huge offence which causes heavy fine and imprisonment, still, there is an isolated incident in Sri Lanka in which the animals being killed for the skin. Most of the times they are found while they trapped in snares and traps, gunshot injuries are also a major reason for deaths among the leopards.

Sri Lanka is a country with a wide range of fauna and flora and elephant is the largest animal on the island. Sri Lanka jungles are inhabited by a large number of elephants and the country has recorded highest wild elephant population in Asia. The people in the areas, where wild elephants to be found, facing many hardships due to the wild elephants. There are many steps were taken in the past to minimize the human-elephant conflict and such incidents get the prompt attention of media and public. But the incident in which the leopards are being killed is ignored while they are heard by the people. One unfortunate incident reported in 2009 from Sinharaja, where First ever Black leopard was found in the island, at the time of discovery it was dead and had been a victim of a trap. The number of poaching incidents seems to be on an upswing for the last few years. Below is the incident related to deaths of big cats in Sri Lanka.

June 2011, Minneriya, Leopard killed poaching

January 2011, Nuwara Eliya, Leopard killed poaching

July 2011, Tabbowa, Leopard killed poaching

March 2009, Sinharaja, Black Leopard

These are the incidents being observed and there are probably many such incidents, which not popularized in the country. These incidents show the immediate attention of the government and naturalists in order to protect the giant cats before they leave us forever.

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Sanjeewa Padmal (Seerendipity tours)

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