Tuesday, 18 July 2017

SriLankan Leopards -- Big Cat Predators of the Emerald Isles

Introduction :

The SriLankan Leopard is one of 8-9 recognized Subspecies of Leopard.

It is an Apex Predator in the Island of Sri Lanka, meaning to say it has no natural foes that compete with it for food.

The SriLankan Leopard has existed for Thousands of Years in Sri Lanka making it "Endemic" to the Island. It is a distinct species as compared to Leopards elsewhere.

Biologists now say that the SriLankan Leopard living in Yala National Park in Sri Lanka is the biggest of all Leopards that exist on Planet Earth.

SriLankan Leopards have a presence in all National Parks and Forest Reserves in the Island, but it is in Yala National Park where their "Density" is the highest.

This is probably due to the fact that in Yala National Park, Prey in the form of Spotted Deer is available in plenty.

Prey :

The SriLankan Leopard has the most varied diet, A Big Cat Predator can have.

In Sri Lanka's South, namely in Yala National Park -- Herds of Spotted Deer make up its diet.

But, that is not to say it cannot tackle bigger prey like Water Buffalo.

This shows us that the SriLankan Leopard has a "Unique Position" at the top of the food chain in the Forest Ecosystem in Sri Lanka.

There are currently 900 SriLankan Leopards in the Wild on the Island of SriLanka.

Threats :

The Biggest Threat to the safety of SriLankan Leopards is Poaching and Habitat Degradation.

Poisoning of Leopards is quite common in areas with High Human Habitation.

This must stop immediately.

Conclusion :

These Magnificent Mammals are mostly arboreal that is they live on trees and are usually nocturnal and solitary with the exception of Females with Cubs.

Both Sexes of Leopards are "Highly Territorial" but territories of Males tend to overlap with some Females.

The Breeding Season of SriLankan Leopards is usually from May to July and the litter size is usually 2-3 Cubs.

The need of the Hour in SriLanka is strict conservation with regard to this Big Cat Predator and specially strict protection in unprotected areas throughout the length and breadth of Sri Lanka.

Credits :

1) Meet the Leopards of Sri Lanka
    By Chrissie Goldrick
    Australian Geographic
    December 05, 2013

2)  Lankan Leopard in the Spotlight
      By Himal Kotelawala

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