Sri Lankan Leopard


The Sri Lankan leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya), colloquially known as Kotiya (කොටියා) in Sinhala and Puli in Tamil, is a subspecies of leopard native to Sri Lanka. Classified as Endangered by IUCN, the population is believed to be declining due to numerous threats including poaching for trade and human-leopard conflicts.

The Sri Lankan leopard has a tawny or rusty yellow coat with dark spots and close-set rosettes, which are smaller than in Indian leopards. Seven females measured in the early 20th century averaged a weight of 64 lb (29 kg) and had a mean head-to-body-length of 3 ft 5 in (1.04 m) with a 2 ft 6.5 in (77.5 cm) long tail, the largest being 3 ft 9 in (1.14 m) with a 2 ft 9 in (84 cm) long tail; 11 males averaged 124 lb (56 kg), the largest being 170 lb (77 kg), and measured 4 ft 2 in (1.27 m) with a 2 ft 10 in (86 cm) long tail, the largest being 4 ft 8 in (1.42 m) with a 3 ft 2 in (97 cm) long tail.

The Sri Lankan leopard is the country’s top predator.The leopard has been observed in a variety of habitats including dry evergreen monsoon forest, arid scrub jungle, low and upper highland forest, rainforest, and wet zone intermediate forests.A recent study has shown that Yala National Park has one of the highest recorded densities of leopards in the world, although this animal is still considered to be endangered. The Wilpattu National Park is also known as a good place to watch leopards.

A study in Yala National Park indicates that Sri Lankan leopards are not any more social than other leopard subspecies. They are solitary hunters, with the exception of females with young. Both sexes live in overlapping territories with the ranges of males overlapping the smaller ranges of several females, as well as overlapping the ranges of neighbouring males. They prefer hunting at night, but are also active during dawn and dusk, and daytime hours. They rarely haul their kills into trees, which is likely due to the lack of competition and the relative abundance of prey. Since leopards are the apex predators they don’t need to protect their prey.

The survival of the Sri Lankan leopard is threatened due to poaching, habitat loss, and persecution. Despite these threats, the animal is highly adaptable and is able to live in close proximity to human settlements.

Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Mammalia
Order:Carnivora
Family:Felidae
Genus:Panthera
Species:P. pardus
Subspecies: P. p. kotiya

Information Source: Wiki

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