DUNKELD CONSERVATION STATION - DICK OYA, SRI LANKA
The Dunkeld Conservation Station, housed within the Dunkeld Estate in close proximity to the Dilmah Tea gardens factory and overlooking the Castlereagh reservoir was officially opened on the 11th of August 2016 (Figure 1). A small renovated bungalow that once housed the chief clerk of the tea estate is now home to the WWCT field team (Fig.2). It has allowed for efficient field work in this region of Sri Lanka’s Central Highlands to be conducted from this site and will, we hope, become a Research and Conservation Station that will add to the value of the Peak Wilderness area and enable targeted conservation work in the region.
This partnership between Resplendent Ceylon’s Tea Trails/Dilmah Conservation and WWCT was formed in response to the leopard mortality incidents in the area in early 2016. All involved realized the need for targeted conservation in the Central Highlands, now declared a world heritage site.
By having a research and conservation station in this area of the country, long-term monitoring of these important montane forests is now possible. The WWCT also works closely with the government regional Department of Wildlife Conservation offices to increase community awareness of the importance of these watershed forests and improve targeted conservation measures, such as the removal of illegal snares set for animals and the reduction in forest destruction.
Figure 1. Guests and Dilmah management arriving for the opening of the Dunkeld Conservation Station (images captured on remote cameras set up in vicinity).
Figure 2. The Dunkeld Conservation Station situated in the vicinity of the Dilmah tea factory is home to WWCT’s research team.