The Sri Lankan Black Leopard which was believed to be extinct had been captured on a trap camera in October in the Central Hills, the Department of Wildlife Conservation said today.
The footages were recorded in October 2019. However, the Department did not announce the existence of the species until they confirmed the footages.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror the department's Spokesperson Hasini Sarachchandra said the animal was spotted by a tracking camera placed in a location inside a forest reserve.
This is the first time that this type of leopard was captured on camera during research conducted by Veterinarian Dr Malaka Abeywardena and Dr Manoj Akalanka.
"The Sri Lankan Black Leopard is believed to have gained its unique characteristics due to a colour mutation. Out of the eight species of panthers living in the world, the sub-species, Sri Lankan Leopard is extraordinary due to its very limited population,” she said.
Earlier, three Black Leopards were found in the Sinharaja conservation but they were all dead when found. These species are endemic to rain forests.
Thereafter, the dead animals were displayed at the Giritale wildlife museum, as the final trace of the Sri Lankan Black Leopard.
The academics installed several remote motion-sensing cameras in places believed to have been the Black Leopard's roaming.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror Dr Akalanka Pinidiya of the Giritale Wildlife Veterinary Hospital said they installed several remote motion-sensing cameras in places believed to have been the Black Leopard’s roaming in the forests of Adam's Peak following information received from the villagers,” Dr Pinidiya said.
“Several officers of the Forest Conservation office of Nallathanniya had seen this animal on several occasions. The motion-sensing cameras were installed to confirm the animal. According to the footages, the Leopard might be five or six-foot-long. There were several leopards also captured in the footages,” Dr Pinidiya said.
Following these footages, the Department was finally able to prove that the Sri Lankan Black Leopard is no longer an endemic species in Sri Lanka.
They also have managed to discover the existence of a Black Leopard family consisting of a male, female and two cubs, Dr Pinidiya added. (Chaturanga Samarawickrama)