The Sri Lankan leopard is arguably one of Sri Lanka’s most famous and charismatic creatures. It is one of our most prolific tourism draws and plays an integral (and often underappreciated) role in our ecological balance.
August 1 is the day of the Sri Lankan leopard – a day used to celebrate the unique subspecies of leopard, panthera pardus kotiya, that roams practically all parts of our little island. Sri Lanka Leopard Day was instituted and marked for the first time last year based on a proposal put forward by the Wildlife and Nature Preservation Society of Sri Lanka (WNPS), Sri Lanka’s oldest (and the world’s third oldest) nature protection society.
Sri Lanka Leopard Day is a chance to shine a light on the plight of the leopard. Despite being one of Sri Lanka’s most famous wildlife resources, the Sri Lankan leopard was an endangered species up until 2020. In 2020, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) downgraded the threat level to our leopards from Endangered to Vulnerable on their international Red List of Threatened Species.