The Nature odyssey team of John Keells Hotels Group in collaboration with MSc Primate Conservation at Oxford Brookes University, United Kingdom successfully conducted ‘The Primate Watch’, a programme aimed at studying the behaviour, environment and ranging patterns of the primates at Cinnamon Lodge Habarana and Chaaya Village Habarana, observing the interactions of these species with the staff and guests and promoting ‘Primate Tourism’.
The project focussed on two primate species that inhabit the Habarana complex; the Dry-Zone Toque Macaque and the Sri Lankan Grey Langur. Both species have been flagged as endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The depleting numbers of these monkeys across the island emphasised the importance of this project. Deforestation and the expansion of the human population cause the biggest threat to the natural habitat of these animals. The loss of their natural habitat has caused them to move into an environment which they have to share with humans.
Students from the MSc Primate Conservation Programme at Oxford Brookes University visited Cinnamon Lodge Habarana and Chaaya Village Habarana to conduct their detailed study. Assisted by a team of naturalists of Nature Odyssey they were able to analyse the current situation and report a list of recommendations, practices that ensure these monkeys can coexist with humans. In addition to the preparation of the final report the graduate students prepared two handouts to be distributed among hotel guests that would enable them to identify the two types of monkeys. A brief description on its appearance and behaviour and tips to follow when observing primates were also included in this document. Moreover a detailed website has been created and launched dedicated to the project.
The 27 acre lush green gardens of Cinnamon Lodge Habarana and Chaaya Village Habarana offers the perfect habitat for the Grey Langur and Toque Macaque. Over 1700 trees rooted on these grounds attract these monkeys to the compound. Since the inception of the two hotels, the monkeys have been considered to be part and parcel of the ecological environment. The hotels continue to promote ‘primate tourism’ to ensure that these inhabitants will remain to be characteristic features of the two properties.