Co-Founder and Managing Trustee for The Wilderness & Wildlife Conservation Trust (WWCT) in Sri Lanka, Anjali Watson has been recognized in the latest segment from CNNs Answering the Call part of the networks global initiative Call to Earth for her work to protect the habitat of Sri Lankan Leopards.
"Weve lost a lot of leopards," informs Watson. "Nobody knows how many prowled the land before the war, but about 70% of the animals habitat has been destroyed, and only 750 to 1,000 adult leopards remain."
As Sri Lankas top predator, and its only big cat, the leopard plays a key role in the countrys ecosystem.
To collect data and monitor their numbers, Watson and her husband Andrew Kittle, went on to establish the Wilderness and Wildlife Conservation Trust (WWCT) in 2004, which investigates the size and movements of the leopard population using remote cameras.
The mission of the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit is to achieve practical solutions to conservation problems through original scientific research.
Watson tells CNN that WWCTs data will help to shape development plans that make space for leopards. If corridors between forest patches and buffer zones around protected areas are safeguarded, both humans and animals could thrive.
"We sit at a junction right now. We as a nation can choose to go either way. We stand somewhere where we can make a decision collectively to do the right thing and not make the mistake of developing so fast and so quickly and destroying what we haveâ€¦ We need to do it now. The urgency is now. Otherwise what will happen is we will lose everything."
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