Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Leopards at Wel Mal Kema - Yala, Sri Lanka

Leopard at Wel Mal Kema - Yala, Sri Lanka
Leopard at Wel Mal Kema - Yala, Sri Lanka

Wel Mal Kema is a rocky area within block 1 of the Yala national park. There are a couple of water holes amongst the rocks and apart from the rock itself, there aren't any open areas. The road actually runs up the rock and relatively close to one of the water holes. The area is known for Leopard and Bear.  It's not the easiest road to drive along.

More photographs inside.

Leopard at Wel Mal Kema - Yala, Sri Lanka
Leopard at Wel Mal Kema - Yala, Sri Lanka

On our first drive through Wel Mal Kema we found fresh Leopard tracks along one side of the road. We knew the Leopard was close by but visibility wasn't the best due to the thick jungle on either side of the road. Our best chance of seeing the Leopard was if it was on the road.  Fortunately for us it was. We saw it from about 25 meters away as it peered around a rock to watch us. The engine was promptly tuned off and we waited hoping to get a better view.

Leopard at Wel Mal Kema - Yala, Sri Lanka
Leopard at Wel Mal Kema - Yala, Sri Lanka

After a few minutes the Leopard crossed the road and climbed up on the rocks to our right. Unfortunately for us another jeep pulled up at that moment and the inexperienced driver (there are a lot of them around Yala) didn't turn off his engine and the Leopard got spooked and left.

Leopard at Wel Mal Kema - Yala, Sri Lanka
Leopard at Wel Mal Kema - Yala, Sri Lanka

On another one of our trips we had a brief sighting of a Leopard as it walked away from the road. I did manager to get a couple of photographs of the Leopard as it walked away and scent marked a tree.

All the images on this post were taken with the Canon 7D and the 100-400mm lens.


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