“Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference.”
These stirring words were delivered by the legendary Dr Jane Goodall during the WNPS Public Lecture in May, prompting every one of us to take on the responsibility of caring for this world we live in, through every little decision we make in our lives.
As we continue to struggle through the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, certain destructive forces are using the lockdown as a convenient cover to further their interests be it land grabbing, deforestation, illegal sand mining and other environmentally damaging activities which serve only to benefit a select few. To add to this, we have experienced one of the largest naval disasters in recent history, which has devastated a large portion of Sri Lanka’s marine environment. The X-Press Pearl maritime disaster has exposed our scant disregard for our national oceanic resources. It has shone a light on our lack of preparedness in protecting our marine ecosystems from naval disasters which are inevitable, due to Sri Lanka’s strategic position in the global trade route. The WNPS Marine Subcommittee has been quick to engage with the unfolding activities and lend their services by gathering some of the best and committed scientists and experienced environmentalists, to initiate several research and restoration programs – one involving a Citizen Science approach, which has had tremendous participation
To celebrate National Leopard Day proposed by the WNPS on 1 August, the Society has planned several initiatives, including the setting up of a permanent Leopard Conservation and Research Centre in Sri Lanka’s hill-country, where there are heightened incidents of human-leopard conflict and where the majority of leopard deaths have occurred in the last few years. With the increasing trend in leopard poaching incidents involving snares and other traps, we call upon Society members in the plantation areas to extend their support by helping us expose any organized criminal activity which may be instigating the recent spate of leopard poaching incidents.
On the 12th of August we mark the World Elephant Day, the Human Elephant Coexistence Subcommittee has arranged a series of activities to draw attention to the plight of the Sri Lankan Elephant including a photography competition titled ‘For the Sri Lankan Elephant’ which is open to the general public.
Similarly, I would like to extend an invitation to all WNPS Society Members across Sri Lanka to support the WNPS conservation agenda being carried out by each of our 18 Subcommittees, which are currently continuing their excellent work, despite restrictions imposed by the ongoing pandemic. The Society has adapted with the times by embracing technology and not let the pandemic affect our momentum - - for this we should all be proud.
With the authorities acting with absolute impunity, the onus on protecting and safeguarding our precious biodiversity for future generations relies heavily on those who are genuinely committed to the cause of safeguarding and protecting our natural environment. The time is now to proactively engage in the conservation effort and we sincerely call upon our members to do your utmost in whatever way possible by supporting the Society in all its initiatives.