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Leftover Steak Dinner

“The leopards rule the jungles of Sri Lanka, found especially to be concentrated in the Yala dry zone. We were reminded of this at the height of May this year, when heat and humidity reigned alongside the Yala leopards. I noted a sudden stench of death and decay in the air… terrifyingly close to camp. Enlisting the help of a few other Big Game team members, our search party began tracking the smell to its source.

The flies buzzing around the camp border, which is directly on the buffer zone of Yala National Park, was our second clue. There, in the half-shade surrounded by flies and jungle crows, a wild cow carcass lay ripped apart and open! Not quite a fresh kill, as with the look and smell of the carcass we put it down as at least a few days old. The horrid smell was owed the accelerated decomposition rate due to the heat and humidity!

Nervous that the leopard might come back for his leftover steak dinner, and also weary of the overwhelming stench percolating on the safari camping borders, we reported the carcass and disposed of it safely. Though the leopard has yet to return, the team keeps a close eye on the borders, and incorporates the experience as a walk-through story during night walks. Really just goes to show that a Yala safari isn’t always where the action is!”

By Dharmasiri, Big Game Safari Camps’ driver cum guide.

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