One of the targets of luxury travel operator Abercrombie & Kent’s philanthropic arm, A&K Philanthropy, is working to help communities living on the edge of wilderness so that they may benefit from tourism and feel encouraged to protect the natural world.
Yala National Park in Sri Lanka is home to the largest population of the endangered Sri Lankan leopard. Unfortunately, human-leopard conflict with bordering communities is a threat to leopard survival. Livestock can be an easy meal and cattle farmers justifiably retaliate when their animals are taken.
However, the negative spiral can be interrupted by protecting cattle in steel enclosures at night. This simple solution is almost 100% successful in protecting livestock from leopard predation. As a result, not only are fewer leopards killed, but families also have more meat and milk to feed themselves and sell for income.
This month, A&K Sri Lanka launched “Project Leopard” as its first AKP initiative which saw the first steel enclosure presented to a farming family living next to the national park. AKP has made a commitment to donate five enclosures this year and an additional 20 enclosures in 2016.
Future tours to Yala National Park will include an opportunity for A&K guests to meet with cattle farmers who have benefited from the project, along with leopard researchers working hard to save the species.
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