Classic Wild Leads the Charge: Principal Sponsor for WNPS Small Cats Project

Classic Wild, the premier provider of immersive wildlife experiences, proudly announces its latest conservation initiative, the sponsorship of the “Small Cats Project” conducted by the Wildlife & Nature Protection Society (WNPS). With a mission to safeguard the Rusty-spotted Cat, Jungle Cat, and Fishing Cat, ensuing their overall commitment to preserving these elusive feline species and their habitats.

The “Small Cats Project” spearheaded by WNPS aims to gather crucial data on the distribution, behaviour, and population density of these small cat species. By conducting extensive research, including field surveys and data analysis, the project seeks to uncover insights into the unique behaviours and ecological requirements of each species.

Mr. Shiham Imamudeen, Chief Executive Officer of Classic Travel/Leisure Cluster stated. “Our partnership with WNPS underscores our dedication to conservation and sustainability,” At Classic Wild, we believe in making a positive impact on the environment, and the ‘Small Cats Project’ exemplifies our commitment to protecting Sri Lanka’s rich biodiversity. We believe in creating unique travel experiences that highlight Sri Lanka’s incredible biodiversity while promoting sustainable practices. Through the ‘Small Cats Project,’ we are not only protecting endangered species but also empowering communities with essential knowledge to ensure the conservation of these species.

Mr. Riaz Cader, Co-Chair of the Wild Cats Subcommittee at WNPS, stated, “The presence of the Fishing Cats, Jungle Cats and Rusty-spotted Cats across their natural ranges in healthy populations indicates a well-balanced and healthy ecosystem. It is an area of study that requires specialized attention and has largely been ignored with the publicity drawn predominantly towards iconic mega-fauna species like elephants and leopards.  The Small Cats project being initiated by WNPS aims to bring together local researchers and field naturalists, the hotel industry and tourism service providers collaborating together for conservation of the three lesser-known wild cats of Sri Lanka”.

He added, “The project aims to work with local researchers and resident naturalists at hotels, tented camps and safari lodges that are located in or around wilderness areas, bordering agricultural lands, tea estates and villages to seek the presence or absence of these species in those respective areas across different parts of the island. In the medium to long term, we aim to get a more in-depth knowledge on all three small cat species, identify unique behaviours, requirements for each species, mechanisms to mitigate threats faced and eventually draw up a conservation plan with local stakeholders.”

“Another key aspect to this project would be workshops to generate more awareness for the local communities on small cats, and on handling incidents when there are injured / snared animals / abandoned kittens. We would like to sincerely express our gratitude to Classic Wild for coming on-board as the principal sponsor for this initiative”, explained Mr. Cader,

In addition to scientific research, the project will engage local communities through educational awareness programs. These initiatives will educate residents living near the habitats of small cats about the importance of these species and the need for their conservation. Workshops targeting school children, farmers, estate workers, and local media will foster greater understanding and appreciation for Sri Lanka’s native wildlife.

Classic Wild is a specialized wildlife travel brand that focuses on providing exceptional wildlife-related travel experiences in Sri Lanka and across the globe. With a dedicated in-house team of expert naturalist guides renowned for their profound understanding of biology, ecology, and animal behaviour, the company ensures that each tour is meticulously curated to offer unparalleled insights into the natural world.

Photo Caption: From left to right (Image Attached to the email)
Anya Ratnayake (Small Cat Researcher), Jehan CanagaRetna (WNPS President), Prof. Enoka Kuda (Co-chair WNPS Wild Cats Subcommittee & Leopard Researcher), Riaz Cader (Co-chair WNPS Wild Cats Subcommittee), Rajiv Welikala (Head of Classic Wild), Zafrana Nafees (Deputy General Manager – Strategic Marketing & CSR)


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