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Jungle Cat (Felis chaus)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 160513505

Obtaining a better distribution map of the Jungle Cat (Felis chaus) in Sri Lanka

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 160513505) - Jungle Cat  - Awarded $3,600 on October 12, 2016

The Jungle Cat Project: Obtaining a better distribution map of the Jungle Cat (Felis chaus) in Sri Lanka

With funding from the Mohamed Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, Dr. Sriyanie Miththapala and Mr. Niroshan Mirando have commenced a study on the jungle cat in Sri Lanka. The objective of this project is to widen the existing knowledge about the current distribution of jungle cats in Sri Lanka, as an initial step to a focused study of the ecology, behaviour and threats to this species.  
Very little is known about jungle cats in Sri Lanka. They appear to be found in forests of the dry zone forests, as well as near urban areas in the dry zone. The question is raised whether this is a cat of the dry/intermediate zone or whether its noted absence in the wet zone is simply lack of data. Nothing is known about home ranges or densities. 
Niroshan — a software engineer— built a website introducing the cat, the project, and the principal investigator, Dr. Miththapala (http://www.junglecatsrilanka.com). A call to action was made via an email campaign sent out to amateur wildlife photographers and wildlife enthusiasts, providing a link to the website and asking them to submit their photographs of jungle cats with the location that the picture was taken. (The website contains a submission form.) A Facebook page was also commenced (Jungle Cats Sri Lanka). 
Since the website was published on November 7th 2016, to date (January 4th 2017) there have been 863 page views, of which 54.15% were males and 45.85% females.  Most of the viewers are in the 25-34 and 18-24 age cohorts (33.50% and 27.50% respectively); however, 5.50% of the viewers are over 65. There have been 199 likes in Facebook, with a reach of 2,165.  A newspaper article, in one of Sri Lanka’s leading newspapers, introducing the project has also been published (http://www.sundaytimes.lk/161211/plus/the-forgotten-feline-219518.html). 
The pictures received so far are now being added (duly credited) to a Google map.  The currently known locations of the jungle cat are also being overlaid with a map of the water bodies of Sri Lanka.  Next, a layer of land use will be overlaid. Once there is a better distribution map of this species, a tailored strategy to understand its ecology, behaviour and threats to its survival, as well as conservation actions can be formulated. 

Project 160513505 location - Sri Lanka, Asia