Prime predator of its jungle kingdom and supremely confident of its unchallenged rule, it may deign to honour you with an audience; and catching sight of its awe-inspiring beauty in the wilds is an incomparable experience. Panthera pardus Kotiya – The Sri Lankan Leopard is certainly a big cat of distinction. One of the nine sub species, and larger in size than its relatives abroad, it is still fairly distributed throughout the country – both in and out of the nature reserves, despite its endangered status. The Leopard’s range and habitat vary considerably; from rainforests, wooded highlands to arid scrub jungles in both wet and dry zones. With one of the highest recorded densities of leopards in the world, Yala and Wilpattu National Parks offer the best opportunities to spot them – especially at dusk and early morning when you might even find them roaming on the safari trails. Whether you are blessed with a fleeting glimpse or a lengthy encounter, it’s bound to be one that will leave an impression as powerful as its sheer presence.

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