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Dushyantha Silva

Dushyantha’s passion for wildlife conservation has led him to devote his life to studying and protecting leopards. He began his wildlife photography journey in 1996, but his interest goes beyond capturing images. He seeks to understand the underlying behavior and motivations of the animals. Spending countless days in the jungles of Sri Lanka, he has extensively explored and documented his passion.

Leopards are among the most fascinating animals in the kingdom. Their majestic appearance, elusive nature, and intriguing behavior have captivated Dushyantha, a wildlife enthusiast from Sri Lanka. He has encountered various leopard subspecies in the wild, but he finds the Sri Lankan leopard particularly captivating.Leopards are listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and are protected in Sri Lanka. They are also one of the Big Five animals of Africa, which are the most popular and sought-after animals to see on safari.

Dushyantha’s life changed when he was invited to join a Facebook group dedicated to identifying leopards. He and his colleague Milinda Wattegedara carefully studied the facial spot patterns of leopards in Yala and Kumana National Parks, and were able to identify and document over 220 individuals. This work challenged common beliefs about leopards and their behavior, and led to groundbreaking research.

Dushyantha also observed that the behavior of Sri Lankan leopards was different from that of leopards in other parts of the world. These remarkable findings impressed the Department of Wildlife Conservation of Sri Lanka.

This work challenged the way we think about leopards and their behavior, leading to groundbreaking new research. Dushyantha also observed that Sri Lankan leopards behave differently from leopards in other parts of the world. These remarkable findings impressed the Department of Wildlife Conservation of Sri Lanka (DWC).

In 2019, the Department of Wildlife Conservation of Sri Lanka (DWC) commissioned Dushyantha and his team to publish a comprehensive field guidebook on leopard identification in Yala National Park. The fact that the DWC commissioned Dushyantha and his team to write this book is a testament to their expertise on leopards and their commitment to conservation.

The following year, Dushyantha and his team were granted permission to establish the world’s first Information Centre dedicated to leopards, the Yala Leopard Centre within Yala National Park. In recognition of their expertise, the DWC also granted them formal research permits to conduct studies in Yala and Kumana National Parks.

Dushyantha and his team have studied leopards for many years, and they have published some of their findings. Their research has shown that there are many ways to identify leopards accurately, and that some of the methods that are currently used are not very accurate. They developed a new and innovative method for identifying leopards, which has made it possible to avoid the inaccuracies that were previously common.

Dushyantha’s scientific research on leopard behavior continues, and he is currently preparing to publish two papers that uncover even more exciting discoveries about these magnificent creatures. Dushyantha’s expertise on Sri Lankan leopards has gained international recognition, leading him to present his findings to students at the University College of Cork, Ireland (UCC), and to a group from National Geographic. He has also disseminated his knowledge through television appearances, training programs for DWC staff, knowledge-sharing sessions, and scientific forums in Sri Lanka.

Dushyantha’s contributions to the scientific community and his deep knowledge of Sri Lankan wildlife, particularly leopards, have earned him recognition, despite his educational background in Enterprise Systems Management with a Master’s degree from Birmingham City University. Dushyantha’s work and expertise have been recognized by the University College of Cork (UCC), which has offered him a place to pursue a PhD. Dushyantha prefers to be known as a citizen scientist or just an explorer who also takes photographs in the world of wildlife . The knowledge and experience he has on Sri Lanka’s wildlife, particularly leopards, can be transformed into making many wildlife lovers think more about making Sri Lanka the preferred wildlife destination.