Project Leopard Launched in Sri Lanka
One of the targets of AKP investments is working to help communities living on the edge of wilderness so that they may benefit from tourism and feel encouraged to protect the natural world. Yala National Park in Sri Lanka is home to the largest population of the endangered Sri Lankan leopard. Unfortunately, human-leopard conflict with bordering communities is a threat to leopard survival. Livestock can be an easy meal and cattle farmers justifiably retaliate when their animals are taken. The negative spiral can be interrupted by protecting cattle in steel enclosures at night. This simple solution is almost 100% successful in protecting livestock from leopard predation. As a result, not only are fewer leopards killed, but families have more meat and milk to feed themselves and to sell for an income.
This month, A&K-Sri Lanka launched “Project Leopard” as their first AKP initiative. The A&K’s leadership team attended the launch event where the first steel enclosure was presented to a farming family living next to the national park. Many local residents showed up to show their appreciation. AKP has made a commitment to donate five enclosures this year and an additional 20 enclosures in 2016.
Future tours to Yala National Park will include an opportunity for A&K guests to meet with the cattle farmers who have benefited from the project and leopard researchers working hard to save the species.