PATCH FOREST PROJECT SIGIRIYA
The Wilderness & Wildlife Conservation Trusts (WWCT) Patch Forest Project within these 2 Back of Beyond properties in Sigiriya –Pidurangala & Dehigaha Ela- was initiated in mid 2017. The idea behind this initiative is to document the wildlife that uses such patches. 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. Small patch forests are playing a key role for wildcats, especially the wide ranging leopard, as dispersal routes and refuges between larger protected forestscapes.
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.
All 3 of Sri Lanka's small wild cats as well as the leopard have been documented here on these lands confirming the value of such patch forests for the continued existence of these cats and the important role they play in providing movement corridors.
WWCT along with interested landowners such as Back of Beyond 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.
UPDATE (Dec 31st 2019): Our continued monitoring here has proven fruitful, as we have been able to ascertain that all of Sri Lanka's wildcats continue to use this patch forest. Furthermore we have monitored the same female leopard "Diya' using this land for the past 2 years! In addition we have the same male leopard 'Pilar' using both patch forests and additionally 3 other leopards, albeit infrequently moving through these lands, proving how such small land parcels can play an important role for leopards in allowing safe passage and additional space for survival.
In partnership with ... female leopard 'Diya'
at Dehi Gaha Ela.