Two rare Sri Lankan leopard cubs have been born at a zoo in northern France, it is reported.
Only about 700 of the rare leopards, which have been classified as gravely endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, are left in the wild, says Jimmy Ebel of Maubeuge Zoo, AFP news agency says. The cubs were born on July 1 and weighed around 2kg (4.4lb), reports say.
"These leopards are under great threat due to deforestation and poaching," Ebel says. About 60 Sri Lankan leopards are living in captivity, in zoos around Europe.
Leopards are the largest wild cats to roam Sri Lanka, and due to their geographical separation, have some different characteristics from Indian leopards, according to the Wilderness and Wildlife Conservation Trust.
Maubeuge Zoo in northern France is close to the Belgian border and houses about 300 animals including Asian elephants.
Known as Sri Lanka’s premier hospitality brand, Jetwing once
again walked away with the prestigious PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association)
Grand Award in the Environment category for the entry titled ‘Man and Nature in
Perfect Harmony’ – based on the very concept that made Jetwing Vil Uyana the
country’s most iconic eco-luxury resort.
This occasion marks the second consecutive year Jetwing has won a Grand Award;
with Jetwing now possessing three out of only six Grand Awards won by Sri
The PATA Gold Awards put the spotlight on tourism innovation
and excellence. This year’s awards attracted 181 entries from 66 organisations
and individuals worldwide. Judged by panels of experts, the PATA Awards
recognise exceptional achievement in six categories: Marketing, Environment,
Heritage and Culture, Education and Training, Marketing Media and Travel
Journalism. The award ceremony will take place at the PATA Travel Mart this
September, in Cambodia.
Set over an expanse of just over 24 acres, Jetwing Vil Uyana represents the
rich potential in sustainable and eco-friendly destinations. Formerly an
abandoned land used for sporadic agriculture, Jetwing transformed the property
into a man-made wetland featuring two lakes and thirty individual dwellings over
distinct habitats such as water, forest, paddy, marsh and garden. Over the
years, the resort went on to be home to a variety of flora and fauna, such as
the elusive loris, and also counts 20 species of mammals, 112 species of birds,
36 species of butterflies, and 35 species of amphibians and reptiles. Nature is
highly respected and provided ample space to flourish – with three acres being
designated as a loris conservation site, the first in the country. Jetwing Vil
Uyana was also the recipient of the Tourism for Tomorrow Award for the
Environment category in April 2014, organised by the World Travel and Tourism
Council, and was also listed in National Geographic Traveler’s Best Ecolodges
of the World issue in August 2013.
“It brings me much happiness to see Jetwing Vil Uyana winning its second Grand
Award, for a concept and an idea that most were sure would fail. We
accomplished a lot of what we set out to do almost 10 years ago, to become a
resort where nature is not just outside your room – rather, it is a part of the
entire experience,” said Jetwing Chairman Hiran Cooray. “I would like to thank
the associates of the property, for all their hard work and commitment in
making this award a reality,” he continued.