One of the most popular animals of Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan leopard is endemic to the island and its scientific name is Panthera pardus kotiya
Almost every single person of the island has no problem in identifying the leopard. The body of the leopard is dark yellow with spots. These spots are black in colour and the underside of the leopard is white in colour. The leopard usually grows up to 7 or 8 feet from head to tail and it can even reach 75 kilograms in weight. The female leopard is significantly lower in size as opposed to the male leopard.
Habitat and Environment
The Udawalawe National Park along with the Wilpattu National Park, Yala National Park, and Sinharaja Forest Reserve harbour these magnificent creatures. The Sri Lankan leopard is found in scrublands and grasslands at Udawalawe. Herbivores such as deer attract the leopard.
Lifespan and Reproduction
The litter of the Sri Lankan leopard is usually two cubs and there is no distinctive season of birth of reproduction.
Behaviour and Feeding
As a carnivore, the leopard feeds on most other animal species. The leopard is typically solitary and almost all of the instances in which it was observed at the Udawalawe National Park, there was only one individual. Occasionally multiple leopards will be witnessed.
Cultural and Conservation Status
Culturally, the leopard of Sri Lanka is one of the most popular and recognised animals of the country. For centuries and even millennia, local residents have been fascinated by this creature. In Sri Lanka, the leopard is the top predator and the only big cat and these factors has contributed to its immense popularity.
The IUCN has listed the Sri Lankan leopard as vulnerable and the predominant reasons for this can be stated as loss of habitat and human-leopard conflicts. As the leopard is an extremely dangerous carnivore, humans living around forests where the leopard is found attempt to slay it if they are found. Poaching and hunting are two other threats for the Sri Lankan leopard and additionally, the urbanisation of the country also poses a threat.
ISBN: 955 1462 00 9