• Maya Situnayake

Joining WWCT

My interests lie in carnivore research for the purpose of conservation, which is what the Leopard Project is essentially about. This is why I wasted no time in asking WWCT if I could join the project for my MSc thesis (Wageningen University). As a large proportion of human-leopard incidents had recently occurred in the central highlands of Sri Lanka, WWCT decided to focus on this area to better understand the reasons behind these recent incidents. My research focus in this study was to try and ascertain what landscape patterns exist amongst the locations where leopards were killed. Being such a challenging terrain, the WWCT pickup was no stranger to taking a beating on the tea roads, but occasionally needed to see the mechanics. This is where I learned a lot more about the structure of a vehicle in the first month than I had ever known before! Navigating was tricky, but together with Emad Sangani and Riahn Peiris this was another skill that improved the more I worked. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the field work, and coming back to Dunkeld Research Station after a long day of tea roads and camera trapping always felt like coming home.

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