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Corridors for Conservation

CORRIDORS FOR CONSERVATION


INTRODUCTION & BACKGROUND


The Corridors for Conservation (CC) initiative is the outcome of years of research by the WWCT team, research which began in 2016.


The death of 10 leopards in Sri Lanka’s southern Central Highlands, that had been caught in snares set for capture of other wildlife, but that had indiscriminately killed leopards, brought to our attention the need for understanding leopard land use and movement in this tea dominated highland landscape.


Having been provided a research base by Resplendent Ceylon-Tea Trails, on one of their tea estates, we expanded and continued with the research.


Our focus shifted to investigating the leopards within, as well as above, the tea plantation landscape. And so the story of 'Above the Tea where the leopard still roams' evolved into 'Amidst the tea where the leopard still roams ' as we started unraveling the mystery of the Highland leopard.


These Corridors for Conservation are the product of this research and a landscape level conservation solution to protecting these mixed use lands in Sri Lanka’s biodiverse Central Highlands.


The identification of these leopard centric Conservation Corridors was the result of this continued research across this mixed forest, tea and other plantation (pinus, eucalyptus) landscape.


Our remote cameras picked up leopards throughout the landscape, with almost all of them detecting repeated presence of leopards. The males more wide spread, using the tea to move through, accessing forest patches, while the females almost exclusively chose to reside within the higher ridges.


It is this data that informs the selection of these corridors, the leopards themselves telling us where we should concentrate the protection of these remnant forest lands.


As such these Corridors are upland linear ridge lands, that hold the remnant patches of montane forests, spectacular forests that once cloaked these mountains, before the onset of coffee and now tea plantations.


Over the centuries of change, wildlife including these leopards, have learnt to navigate these highlands, fitting in their homes where ever they can.

Viewed above is the area where our story begins, the area between the two reservoirs of Moussakele and Castlereagh, in proximity to the towns of Hatton, Dick oya, Maskeliya and Norwood.
Viewed above is the area where our story begins, the area between the two reservoirs of Moussakele and Castlereagh, in proximity to the towns of Hatton, Dick oya, Maskeliya and Norwood.

Carpets of tea fields, dotted with human settlements, rugged mountains and twisting roadways, leading up to the towering mountain forests. It is here that these mountain leopards still roam.
Carpets of tea fields, dotted with human settlements, rugged mountains and twisting roadways, leading up to the towering mountain forests. It is here that these mountain leopards still roam.


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