Conflict to Coexistence
This initiative began when the farmers who lived on the outskirts of Yala National Park ran into problems when raising their livestock. At night when the cattle were rounded up into pens, leopards in the surrounding areas were targeting the easy prey instead of hunting for their natural prey.
To end the conflict, we created a peaceful win-win solution by providing the farmers with sturdy steel pens that protected the cattle from predators and safeguarded the farmers’ livelihoods.
Most of the funds for the project were raised by the John Keells Foundation, and the rest from our generous benefactors. This on-going project has so far distributed over 50 pens under the guidance of Senior Biologist Manori Gunawardane.
PROJECT COORDINATOR: Chitral Jayatilake – Head of Cinnamon Nature Trails
PROJECT OFFICER: Naturalist Gayan Gamage, Cinnamon Nature Trails
John Keells Foundation
Cinnamon Wild Yala
Jonathan and Angela Scott
Exodus Group UK and Paul Goldstein
Paul Mason (UK)
Andrew Sabin (USA)
Jon McCormack (USA)
Spotting the Elusive Cat
Back in 2012, Cinnamon Nature Trails together with Jonathan and Angela Scott and the Environmental Federation Limited launched an initiative dedicated to study the distribution, behaviour, and ecology of the Sri Lankan leopard. With Yala National Park as a setting, the infrared trap cameras also help the scientific team understand the threats faced by the big cats that roam near village communities. The recorded images allow the scientists to identify different cats and their territories whilst monitoring their nocturnal behaviour.
Watching the Whales
Wild Blue and Orca Project Sri Lanka
Citizen science is the key behind the growing initiatives launched to further study the lives of the blue whale and the orca. In 2008, Sri Lanka was cited as one of the best places on Earth to spot blue whales, and orcas are an equally iconic visitor. British naturalist Georgina Gemmell, head of eco-tourism for Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts Chitral Jayatilake, and Wildlife Tourism Champion Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne coordinated the projects, encouraging the general public to share their information and images to contribute to the publicly available online catalogues of orca and blue whale individuals.
Based on each whale’s unique markings (e.g. scars on each blue whale’s fluke or the shape and size of each orca’s dorsal fin) we can identify individual whales and monitor their habits as they visit our seas thanks to all the contributions to the project. Using social media platforms like Facebook and Flickr enable the collection to be used as a library with easily accessible content, be it for general interest or to complement scientific research.
With time, the long-term study of these two species could reveal much about their behaviour without disturbing the animals.
All of the information regarding project catalogues and how to contribute images for identification can be found online: