Human Wildlife Conflict is undoubtedly the biggest conservation challenge facing Sri Lanka’s flora and fauna to date. Even though the conflict between humans and major species like elephant and leopard takes center stage in Sri Lanka, the conflict goes beyond that and impacts many other wildlife species. Day by day the competition for shared space between humans and wildlife grows more intense due to human population expansion and encroachment into wildlife habitat, deforestation, habitat fragmentation, live-stock grazing in protected areas and other land-use issues driven by man’s selfish and insatiable habits.
The WNPS Human-Elephant Coexistence Subcommittee’s 'For the Sri Lankan Elephant' Photography Competition was created to provide a platform to focus the camera lens and with it our attention, on this unique and majestic species we are fortunate to share our land with, whilst also drawing attention to the many challenges they face due to human-elephant conflict.
Reptiles create fear and fascination among us humans- more than any other living group of animals do. Although we usually see them as nothing but scaly or scary creatures, they play a vital but usually ‘silent’ role in our ecosystems and societies.
For all the noise we make about being an island surrounded by picture-perfect ocean, there is a surprising lack of discussion on our marine habitats and how we need to conserve them. Yes, we’re renowned for our whale watching, and Sri Lankan blue whales are fairly unique for being non-migratory, but by and large, marine conservation in Sri Lanka tends to fly under the radar, which is surprising when you consider that, as an island, Sri Lanka’s landmass is approximately 65,000 km2 while our territorial waters amass 540,000 km2.
Today, leopards live in 26 range countries scattered across the African and Asian continents and are subdivided into nine sub-species based on their genetic divergence and distinction. Of these, the Sri Lankan leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) is one of only two sub-species restricted to islands.
This year on 1 August, today, Sri Lanka will celebrate its first national day of the Sri Lankan leopard, a unique subspecies of leopard that we are blessed to have roam our beautiful island. Sri Lanka Leopard Day, which will be celebrated annually, was declared based on a proposal put forward by the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS), Sri Lanka’s oldest (and the world’s third oldest) nature protection society.