The Gal Oya Lodge property sits in close proximity to the Gal Oya National Park/Nilgala Sanctuary wilderness complex and is one of a group of WWCT’s Patch Forest Project properties. This initiative aims to monitor the use, connectivity, and refuge provided to wildlife by such small remnant and/or regenerating forests.

Approximately 8 hectares in size, regenerating chena (slash and burn) lands, secondary forest, riparian forest, and grassland are found within this parcel of land. Understanding how wildlife with a focus on the leopard and other wildcats are using these corridors/patches would be an important finding for long-term conservation planning.

What are we doing here? 

WWCT conducts mammal surveys which utilize remote camera techniques to quantify and record biodiversity. Bird and Butterfly surveys allow us to monitor the seasonal use of this patch forest by resident and migratory species. The nighttime surveys allow us to observe and survey the herpetofaunal diversity of the area and also give a glimpse of the infrequently sited nocturnal life of this patch forest.

The key research goal of WWCT is to document the presence, distribution, and land use of Sri Lanka’s endangered apex predator - the leopard. In addition to this the islands 3 other cats - the fishing cat, the jungle cat and the rusty-spotted cat are also being assessed. Our work is establishing that small patch forests are playing a key role for these wildcats, especially the wide-ranging leopard, as dispersal routes and refuges between larger protected forest landscapes.

WWCT along with interested landowners such as Gal Oya Lodge hopes to elevate the status of such patch forests and obtain better levels of protection which will eventually form a chain of patch forests acting as stepping stones of connectivity and increased overall forest cover of Sri Lanka’s wilderness areas.  Our ongoing leopard research within the larger Gal oya/Nilgala complex also helps identify possible forest connections for Sri Lanka’s wide ranging apex predator, the leopard. 

In partnership with ...

The Wilderness & Wildlife Conservation Trusts (WWCT) Patch Forest Project around the Gal Oya Lodge began in 2017. The idea behind this initiative is to document the wildlife that uses such patches of forest, monitor the increase of species use as the patch becomes more forested and there by elevate the status of patch forests by ensuring greater protection.

Eventually WWCT would like to establish a chain of such patch forests that will increase connectivity and forest cover of Sri Lanka’s wilderness areas. Our work is establishing that small patch forests are playing a key role for wildcats, especially the wide ranging leopard, as dispersal routes and refuges between larger protected forestscapes.

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