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    President Message

A Year of anguish for Wildlife

Dr. Tempe Adams at the WNPS office for a round table discussion on HEC with the University Students
Dr. Tempe Adams at the WNPS office for a round table discussion on HEC with the University Students

Dear Member,

It is that time of the year again, the holiday season. As we draw the year to a close, we would like to advocate that conservation of our nature is of utmost importance and your support is always a need. Whilst the year has been tumultuous for the country’s wildlife, we are making history in 2022 with the highest number of elephant deaths in the country, at over 405. 

As a recap of our work, the Sub-Committees headed by individuals on the Committee who serve on a volunteer basis have been doing some outstanding work, starting with PLANT where it has more than exceeded our expectations due to some passionate work by the team led by Sriyan. Our hope was to initiate 100 acres of land under the PLANT guarantee company or through Partners by now, but I believe we may soon exceed that number 10 times over. The HEC Sub-Committee has completed two “Gatherings” of trying to bring all scientists, individuals, and organizations involved with the conservation of Elephants, to one platform, and whilst we would like to see better participation and coordination, the results have been satisfactory. The experimental Light Repel System (LRS) is now at a stage where data gathering for the scientific document has commenced. The results are better than expected with a more than 80% efficacy in the mitigation of HEC in the locations that the LRS has been installed. The Marine Sub-Committee continues its journey in mangrove regeneration with the ambitious plan in Anawilundawa whilst working on aspects that are of concern to the mariner lives in Viduthalthivu and other locations. It is also noteworthy that this Committee is working closely with other organizations and has formulated a forum to work together.

The CAT committee’s key role is to firm up the Leopard research and conservation project to understand the behavioral patterns and numbers of our apex predator in the country. The scientific process documenting and researching our 'big cat' around the country will hopefully provide groundbreaking information in time to come. And yes, we haven’t forgotten our other Cat Species and work has begun on our small cats too. The Youth Wing (YW) has been conducting some phenomenal awareness, advocacy, and educational work in Schools around the country and have reached the mark of approximately 120 Schools since we established the YW in 2018. This is truly trailblazing. The Wild Kids sub-committee too has grown in stature and have bi-monthly programs with the young kids to make a difference in awareness of the environmental aspect in their young lives. We must start at that young age!! Two new committees, Science for Conservation and the Climate Change Sub-Committees whilst just established this year, are foreseen to deliver great things to come in 2023.

The bottom line is that the Society is conducting around 10 activities per month, all revolving around conservation, and more than we imagine the Society could handle. Kudos to the Committee and the Office team for continuously and consistently putting on these events. The Society is involved with at least another ten major projects, mostly scientific in nature, and supported by our own team of young scientists or budding conservationists, and that number has grown from 5, to 26, within the last 3 years.

We would not achieve any of this without the support of our corporate partners, both in Sri Lanka and overseas. Our annual report that is on our website identifies those who have partnered with us and helped us make a difference. There have been some ground-breaking initiatives and the single largest donation record has been broken three times this year. We thank all our partners for helping us make a difference.

I would like to appeal to our membership in a few ways. Firstly, we would like more volunteers to join our Sub-Committees to help as much as possible. Whilst the current 19 Committee members and the various numbers of Sub-Committee members toil away to make your environment a better place, your volunteering would be most welcome. Secondly, we are always looking out for donations. So, your contributions, however small, will always help in some way. During this season of giving, would you consider giving towards our cause for a change? We thank those members who have continued to help the Society and hope that you can rope in others to join in this good cause as well.

With Sincere appreciation and all good wishes for the Season. Happy Holidays and my best to you for 2023!!

Jehan CanagaRetna
President, WNPS