WNPS Monthly Lecture via online | Daily News
Covid 19; an unexpected windfall for Sri Lanka’s wilderness and wildlife

WNPS Monthly Lecture via online

The WNPS monthly lecture titled “Covid 19; an unexpected windfall for Sri Lanka’s wilderness and wildlife” will be delivered by Rukshan Jayewardene on October 22 at 6 pm via Zoom and FB Live.

Though small in size, Sri Lanka rivals much larger countries in terms of richness of biodiversity. Sadly Sri Lanka is also one of the world’s ‘biodiversity hotspots’ with much of her flora & fauna at risk. The large-scale loss of wilderness and biodiversity which began during the British colonial times 200 years ago, has only accelerated in more recent decades. With finite land resources and an exploding population coupled with poorly managed development, much of the land that was previously wilderness has now been converted to land for human settlement as well as for agriculture, pushing the country’s precious natural heritage to the brink.

Sri Lanka’s wildlife resources has many stakeholders - The Department of Wildlife conservation and the Department of Forest Conservation in a custodial and management role supported by others like conservationists, scientists and tourism operators as by and large the tourism in Sri Lanka is ‘nature based’ and the country’s tourism dependent economy, is heavily reliant on its wilderness and wildlife. Sadly, the latter rides on the coattails of Sri Lanka’s enviable biodiversity but has also been at great cost due to issues like over-visitation in wildlife parks.

The recent pandemichas been an eye opener for many but also provided a respite for the country’s wildlife within park borders. Perhaps there is opportunity in adversity during this ‘new normal’; to get the management of protected areas, the relationship and obligations we have towards wilderness and wildlife as well as the ethics and attitudes that should govern the conservation of species on this island right, one last time.

Rukshan Jayewardene: A founding trustee at the Leopard Trust; Chairman of the Wilderness and Protected Areas Foundation, Director at the Environmental Foundation Limited ( EFL) and past President of the WNPS. A lifelong passion for Wildlife; Interested in evolution, adaptive radiation of species, the long-term conservation of leopards and all biodiversity related issues. A wildlife photographer who believes the role of photography in conservation is best served by adhering to standards and ethics.