Project leopard Commences

Chitral Jayatillake and Wari Illangasinghe from the John Keells Hotels Group with the first recipient of a leopard-proof cage.

The large animals that inhabit national parks might be great for a country's tourist industry (and marauding filmmakers), but for many of the people who live in the vicinity of the parks these animals can pose a considerable threat to their livelihoods. Around Yala National Park there have been several leopard attacks on local cattle herds and last year alone four or five leopards are known to have been killed by either the villagers or poachers in the area around Yala.

John Keells Hotel Group, which owns hotels near Sri Lanka's National Parks and organises wildlife safaris has recently embarked on Project Leopard, a scheme that will be giving local farmers several portable leopard-proof cages to protect the calves at night.

The first of these cages was handed over to a local farmer last week and we went along to film the event.


xl said...

Are the leopards a danger to the villagers as well?

ammonite said...

It seems that leopards haven't been known to attack people xl - they just go for the young calves.

xl said...

Last week I was flipping through the TV channels and found a nature show about a leopard in some sort of zoo or rescue habitat.

A film crew and some of the keepers entered the leopard's enclosure!!!!

Of course the leopard got really upset. The people ignored the cat's warning signals. It then jumped upon the back of the sound man and clamped its jaws on his neck, going for a kill!

After a lot of thrashing around, the others got the leopard off. The guy was bloody and shredded, but was otherwise OK.

I know you guys would never provoke an animal like that.