The sneaky leopard of Yala, Sri Lanka

In the Christmas holiday of 2017-2018 I went to Sri Lanka to look for the elusive Sri-Lankan-leopard. To achieve this mission we decided to go to Yala national park.

On the day of our safari the army looking vehicle pulled up at our hotel at around 4:30 am and as soon as we got into the car the race started. The race was to get to the ticket office early because with new rules allowing only 400 cars into the park 10 minutes can make the difference between getting into the park or not. We followed a narrow road to the park and before we even got in we had seen some wild pigs, a peacock, water buffalo and an elephant. We waited for the documents to enter the park and in the meantime visited a small museum they had behind the ticket office. We amused ourselves in the museum looking at some crappy taxidermy fails. At around 5:00 am we entered Yala national park. We entered the park through some Jurassic-park-like doors than immediately zoomed off into the jungle. Everywhere I looked you could imagine a leopard lying down and staring at you. It seemed like the perfect setting. We had seen almost everything there was to see except for the leopard. Time was running out quickly and I was about to let out a big sigh when as we approached the exit the drivers phone rang and it was his friend. My angry sigh turned into one of relief as he made a u-turn and sped off in the other direction. We turned off onto a small dirt track and as we went deeper and deeper into the park, the landscape started to change. What was a few minutes ago was a lush jungle was now a deer-packed grassland. In the distance you could see a line of cars moving quickly and before I knew it we were at the end of it. The guide pointed to a rock around twenty meters away and told us to follow the horizon of the rock until I saw a leopard silhouette and my face was lit up with pride as me,a kid who writes a blog about leopards, can finally say I’ve seen one.

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