Watching for a leopard is patient labour; Studying the elusive and protected wildcat is something else altogether. But prohibitive research costs has conservationists turning to guided tourism as a gold mine and a possible solution.
Sri Lankas national parks like the one at Yala, are home to a distinct sub-species of leopard, Panthera pardus kotiya.rn
rnldblquote There are an estimated 40 leopards in Block I of the park, but there are no documented numbers for the island. What data is available is from a study that was done in the 1970s and that did not take into account habitat variations
dblquote , Wildlife Conservationist, Dr. Ravi Samarasinghe explained.rn
rnldblquote The proper way to do it, would be to study it in blocks. This can then be applied to similar habitats to get an estimate of the numbers. Wilpattu for example, which was just opened up, would need a separate study
dblquote , he adds. rn
rnBut research costs big money and sufficient funds arent flowing in for conservation or study