Wildlife tourism is a fast growing segment of the modern tourism market. Sri Lanka, being blessed with an abundance of biodiversity, is known for its wildlife attractions. Can this segment then attract more discerning, higher spending tourists to Sri Lanka?
Agriculture is the key sector that supports the rural economy of Sri Lanka. The contribution of the agriculture sector to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2019 was 7.4%, but showed a contracted sectoral growth in 2020 due to impacts of Covid-19. The monumental decision taken in May 2021 by the Sri Lankan Government to switch to organic agriculture by banning the production and importation of chemical fertilisers had compounding impacts on agricultural production and food security.
The Minneriya National Park (MNP) was once the site for the “Great Elephant Gathering”. It had gained international repute and Lonely Planet ranked it as “one of the 10 greatest wildlife wonders of the world”.
The Sri Lankan leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) is the largest of the four wild cat species found in Sri Lanka, and the apex mammalian predator on the island. The sub-species of this charismatic animal is endemic to Sri Lanka and widely distributed across the island’s dry zones and low country wet zones with habitats ranging to the cloud forests of the highest elevations in the hill country. It is believed that there are less than 1000 leopards roaming in the wild within the island. Further, the leopard is threatened globally by habitat loss and illegal wildlife trade, while in the human-dominated land-use areas in Sri Lanka, the impacts of habitat loss prevail critically.. To initiate and sustain a science-based conservation strategy it is imperative to further understand the distribution and the ecology of the Sri Lankan leopard, specially, in under-studied areas nationwide.