Thursday, April 7, 2011

I stalked a leopard!

It was a spur of the moment decision to go to Yala for just one night. A visitor had come down from Japan who was dying to see Yala. A bungalow in Yala was free and the missus was willing to allow the children to cut school on Thursday and Friday since the term tests were over. Of course being on the road for 12 hours to spend one night does not seem to make that much sense when you look at it from the surface. But it turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made. We had over 05 leopard sightings during a period of less than 12 hours. 02 in the evening drive and 03 during the morning drive. And one leopard we followed for nearly 30 minutes as he walked along the hadunnoruwa bund in all his majesty. This is the advantage of seeing leopards in the morning as they prefer to stay on the road where the morning dew does not get on to their bodies. Amazingly I have not had this many sightings even when we had stayed in Yala for a couple of nights. All I can say is that I am blessed. :)


Dee said...

ane leave those leopards alone. glad u had fun and not meaning to burst the happy bubble but...i thought they un-regulated jeeps and buses and god knows what else inside the park just pisses the heck out of these secretive animals. argh..i'd hate to be one. i for one will never set foot into yala as long as they treat it like their own money making-circus. by 'they' i mean are the authorities -_-...

cj said...

Actually Dee the Leopards are so used to vehicles that they don't feel threatened by them anymore. For them it is another inanimate object like a tree or a rock. And since we were following the leopard on the main road in which he was walking you cannot really say it was unregulated. Of course some of the jeep drivers behave worse than the animals in Yala but the fact that the leopards are not scared and don't run away show what a good job the wild life department is doing in protecting the park. Whilst I agree that in an ideal situation the wild animals should be left alone let me offer you another perspective.
I believe it is because of all the people who come to see the animals and the economic benefits which they bring to the trackers, the jeep drivers and the people in the areas that these animals are protected. If not they would have been poached and hunted a long time ago. While we could argue that it is the duty of the wild life department to protect them. Without the support the economic benefits bring to everyone in that area it would be an extremely difficult task to execute.
Hope you understand my point of view.

Dee said...

I dont know. over 200 loud, horrible vehicles each day? If i was an animal, i'd HATE it. also considering the fact that they have much keener ears and smelling. ugh.

PP said...

i've done that crazy trip several times, but thank god i've never driven so i've spent most of my time sleeping.

i only started going to yala last year, so am a relative newbie, but i have to agree partly with dee. i don't have a problem with jeeps going in there if they are un-intrusive and just observe, which you can easily do. but now with the authorities letting in buses and van and all sorts of pleasure seekers who show no regard or respect for the animals, it's becoming an increasingly annoying place to go to. i remember we were there once when the mahaseelawewa cubs were spotted so about 20 jeeps, all with their engines roaring, some with people screaming, were following them up and down the road not letting the poor animals get across on to the other side.

i agree that the park being an income generator ensures the lives of the animals, but unless there is some sort of regulation of how many vehicles can enter the park, it's going to be really annoying to be a yala animal. it'll definitely be annoying to be a yala visitor.

ps - apologies about the long rant.