Our top 10 scarce moments!

Written By: Radheesh Sellamuttu (MD, Leopard Trails) on June 23, 2015 Photographer : Radheesh Sellamuttu (MD, Leopard Trails) / Indika Nettigama (Game ranger, Leopard Trails) / Arran Sivarajah (Game ranger, Leopard Trails)

Much has been theorized about scarcity in both psychology and economics. Simply put, we place a higher value on things that are scarce, and a lower value on those that are abundant.

Our guides are often asked about their most extraordinary encounters at Leopard Trails. Their answers point to a desire that is deeply rooted in our own evolutionary past. In the past we fiercely competed for finite resources and valued things that were scarce, whether it be food, water, or shelter. A strong desire to pick up scarce resources ensured survival. When it comes to the question being asked from guides, it is no surprise that encounters with scarcity value have made it to our list.

These are some of the most prodigious encounters we have captured on camera at Leopard Trails. A short list of notable encounters did not make the list due to a lack of photographic evidence! For example, a crocodile taking down a buffalo behind camp, and a wild boar surprising an egret, snapping its jaws shut on the egrets body and then feeding on it.

In no particular order:

1. The largely nocturnal pangolin goes about its business in broad daylight! This awkward looking, highly endangered creature is one of the rarest mammals to encounter in our jungles.

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2. An Indian rock python is captured swallowing a spotted deer. With specialized jaws, the largest snake in Sri Lanka is able to swallow large prey such as spotted deer.

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3. A rusty spotted cat is seen behind camp. One of the smallest species of cat in the world, it is extremely rare to photograph one in the wild in Sri Lanka.

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4. A large male spotted deer is captured taking its last few breaths in the jaws of an old female leopard we refer to as the 1:2 Kotabandhi female! It appears that some of the foliage that was being chewed by the spotted deer is still in its mouth.

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5. A leap of leopards is captured patrolling the Varahana area of Yala -one of a string of sightings where 6 and then 5 leopards were seen together.

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6. Sri Lanka’s very own sub species of chameleon is captured in Wilpattu.

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7. For all you fanatic birders, our team was fortunate enough to capture this extremely rare winter visitor in Wilpattu earlier this year – the blue throated fly catcher.

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8. A young leopard cub left alone at its den site escapes unscathed following a visit by a sloth bear.

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9. Otters are not easily viewed in our dry zone jungles. Here an otter is seen scurrying around behind our camp at Wilpattu.

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10. The endemic golden palm civet is captured in Wilpattu.

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