• Maya Situnayake

Lab Work

Another part of my thesis research was to study the diet of the leopards in the central highlands, to determine whether or not this may have an influence on the recent leopard incidents in the area. To do this, I performed an analysis of leopard scats that were collected opportunistically during the field work done in the area. I received a training by Saminda Fernando (University of Colombo) and together with Jonathan Gnanapragasam (Research Assistant, WWCT) and Chiharu Higuchi (intern, University of Melbourne), we determined a part of the leopard diet of this area. It was the first time I had done scat analysis and it was fascinating to identify the prey species from all the hair, bones, teeth and claws that were left undigested. A part of this was carried out in school labs, and the interest that the school children had in our work was so encouraging. They wanted to carry out similar diet studies with their own science projects. It was wonderful to see young children show such an interest in wildlife research.

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