From pangolins to elephants, from tropical timber to birds and snakes: Wildlife trafficking is one of the largest illegal global trade sectors and generates billions of USD per year. Since 1975, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) provides a framework for the sustainable trade of wildlife and ecosystem products.
Sri Lanka is a biodiversity hotspot with an abundance of ecosystems and many endemic species. Its animals and plants are greatly threatened by human activity and the impacts of climate change, putting the world at risk of losing this irreplaceable wealth of wildlife. If we want to preserve Sri Lanka’s biodiversity, actions need to be taken on all levels: by the government, by academia, by NGOs, and by everyone living on the island and around the globe.
by Buddhika Ranadheera Mangroves are a valuable ecological and economic resource to Sri Lanka. According to the Forest Department, Sri Lanka is home to over 20 mangrove species which extend over an area of 15,670 hectares. However, mangroves represent only
On the border between land and sea, a unique ecosystem covers tropical and subtropical regions around the world: Mangrove forests. Mangroves are well adapted to saline water and the tides, and they thrive along the coastlines of over 118 countries, including Sri Lanka. They offer a wide variety of ecosystem services, provide a sheltered habitat for many species of animals, and are vital allies in the fight against climate change.
The recent nabbing of a frozen pangolin in the kitchens of a Chinese restaurant in the heart of Colombo has shed a much-needed spotlight on the importance of curbing the illegal exploitation of these shy mammals which are a globally endangered species, and nationally a near threatened one. There are four species of Pangolin restricted to Asia. The one found in Sri Lanka is the Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata), and is commonly called the Scaly Ant-eater (Sinhala: “Kaballawa”, “Aya”; Tamil: “Alungu”). Pangolins can be identified by the distinctive scales which cover their entire body, and they are found in both the wet and dry zones of Sri Lanka.
Last week, in Gomarakandawala, a tiny village in the North-Eastern province of Trincomalee in Sri Lanka, we sat in a tiny house, enjoying a meal from very hospitable, generous people. Even as we ate, we heard firecrackers go off not very far away from us.