doi: 10.18258/7000The Endangered Sri Lankan leopard is the second last remaining island leopard in the world.
This creates a strong need to assess its population.
The project itself is a necessary step to understanding the leopard population in Sri Lanka.
Recent research has shown that leopard distributions have shrunk rapidly over the last few decades, so this is a timely study and much needed to ensure the future survival of Sri Lankan leopards. Leopards in Asia lost most of their range and are endangered, yet virtually nothing is know about their current population status.
The team is coordinated by Rukshan Jayewardene and Jehan Kumara and has a dedicated field team led by Dinal Samarasinghe.
Anya Ratnayake and Javana Fernando assist with logistics.
A key first step in conserving any population is estimating how many individuals still persist in the wild and collecting information on potential threats.
The Sri-Lankan Leopard Trust aims to provide bi-yearly leopard density estimates in three of the countries largest and most important national parks using 100 camera-traps which will run for 52 days per site.
I'm headed to Uganda to link up with the Wildlife Conservation Society and Ugandan Wildlife Authority to do the first ever leopard census in the country (Queen Elizabeth National Park) and update African lion and spotted hyena numbers there.
I'm also working with the WCS and UWA to examine areas of human-carnivore conflict (mainly over livestock) in the park and on its boundary.
Leopards are known to range over large areas (several kilometres) and we therefore need a good number of camera traps to survey most of the national park surface area.
We've raised money for 20 camera traps with the Sri-Lankan Leopard Trust, its partners and friends but need a total of 100 to survey the three parks effectively.