The monthly lecture series of the WNPS is now a monthly gathering looked forward to by both the membership and the general public. The depth of knowledge shared in the 60 minute lecture by an excellent line up of speakers has not only enriched the audience but has enabled the society to initiate measures in various conservation fronts.
From Woodies to Plovers: an untold story of our national identity
By Dr Sampath Seneviratne
On Thursday the 18 th February at 6.00 pm via zoom and FB live
Birds are high in a list of biological treasures of any country. Few such lists match the extraordinary wealth of Sri Lanka’s biodiversity, and when it comes to avifauna, the exceptionally high number of endemics - the species found nowhere else but in Sri Lanka – is a salient feature of this island nation. Our 100 or so endemic races amounts to nearly a third of all breeding birds of Sri Lanka. That is one of the highest proportion of endemicities for any country in the world. This is as a result of island biogeographic factors, including isolation, which makes Sri Lanka of special interest not only to local ornithologists and birdwatchers, but draws those from overseas as well. The WNPS has been raising its concern on the habitat destruction taking place in Mannar and other bird sanctuaries due to unplanned development and encroachments
A deep dive, armed with cutting-edge science and novel technologies, into our Victorian past or to the heart of Sri Lankan wilderness, would expose a picture far fascinating than what you see in your day-to- day field guides. In the light of recent discoveries of Hanuman Plover and Red-backed Flameback, Sampath will illustrate the art and science of finding new birds and how that revolutionize the understanding, valuation and protection of our own national identity.
Dr Sampath Seneviratne
Dr. Sampath S. Seneviratne is a research scientist specializes in the study of evolution, molecular ecology and ornithology. His laboratory – Avian Evolution Node – studies how animals evolve in isolation in an island biogeography framework using both field- and laboratory-based research. His research programme spans across oceans, islands and forests through studies on rainforest endemics in Sri Lanka and Western Ghats, and bird migration in the Central Asian Flyway. Sampath is a birder, a painter, a naturalist and a conservationist. He is a General Committee Member of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society, Senior Lecturer attached to the Department of Zoology and Environment Sciences, University of Colombo.