Monthly Archives: July 2018

Earth Overshoot Day and Destruction of Riverine EcoSystems in Sri Lanka

Every day we see and hear more environmental destruction than ever before. It is quite a challenge to protect the environment in a world where rapidly increasing human population, greed and ignorance is stressing the planet beyond its limits to provide sustainable natural resources for all. The “Earth Overshoot Day” marks the approximate date when humans have used more of Earth’s renewable resources than the planet can regenerate in a year. Earth Overshoot Day gets earlier each year as we continue to demand more and more of our small planet. It falls on August 1st this year 2018.

While all sounds doom and gloom, we should remember that if our ancestors did not fight for and protect what is remaining today, we would not have any Rainforests or National Parks left in our country. In the early 1970’s when the Plywood Corporation was clear-cutting Sinharaja and Kanneliya Rainforests, it was the collective efforts of Environmentalists, Scientists, Clergy and the general Public that halted the destruction. We should be thankful for their efforts and realize it was a long-fought battle that took seven long years. Therefore, lets work together and help protect what is remaining for us and our future generations.


Destruction of Kitulgala Riverine EcoSystem, one of the most

bio-diverse areas in Sri Lanka



Point Endemic Devario micronema that is found no where else on earth but Kitulgala Riverine EcoSystem currently destroyed due to mini-hydro projects

Kitulgala Ecosystem exhibits nearly the same biodiversity as that of Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest. Unfortunately, the authorities in Sri Lanka with powers to protect the environment has failed completely when it comes to protecting this vital ecosystem and catchment area. With Broadlands Hydropower project currently destroying both the ecosystem and tourism, another private mini-hydro project has been approved to destroy what remains. While Broadlands hydropower project will not even generate 1% of the needed energy for the country, the private mini-hydro project would not generate even 0.005%. Therefore, we are alarmed why the authorities are destroying such vital natural heritage as well as killing thousands of tourism based jobs.

As a concerned citizen, you can sign & share the petitions below.

Stop the Ecologically and Socio-Economically Destructive Kitulgala Mini-Hydro Project

Immediately Halt! Kitulgala Broadlands Mini Hydro Project in Sri Lanka which has affected White Water Rafting Tourism!

While petitions alone may not save the last remaining pristine ecosystems, it will help spread the message among general public as today’s media hardly cares about exposing environmental destruction, which has resulted in many destructive projects being carried out with little to no opposition.


Kitulgala Riverine Rainforest EcoSystem – Gone Forever!


Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka

මිනි හයිඩ්‍රෝ මාෆියාව කෑගල්ල දිස්ත්‍රික්කයේ දැරණියගල රන්වල ඔයත් බිලි ගනී

ගං ඉවුර සහමුලින් විනාශ කර පාංශු ඛාදනයත් පොලොවෙහි අස්ථාවර තත්වයත් ඉහල නංවා, ඉතා ඉහල ජෛව විවිධත්වයක් ඇති මෙම පරිසර පද්ධතිය මේ මොහොතේ විනාශ කරමින් පවතී. ගංගා ප්‍රේරක කලාප රැක ගැනීමට පොතට පමණක් සීමා වුනු නීති රෙගුලාසි මගින් ඇති ඵලය කුමක්ද? මහජන උපයෝගිතා කොමිෂන් සභාවේ වාර්ෂික වාර්තා අනුව පසුගිය වර්ෂ කිහිපය තුල පෞද්ගලික කුඩා ජල විදුලි බලාගාර වල කාර්යක්ශමතාවය 30% පමණක් වන අතර, මෙම ජල පෝෂක පරිසර පද්ධති වනසන ව්‍යාපෘතිය හරහා ජනනය කිරීමට අපේක්ෂිත 0.7MW අල්ප විදුලියෙනුත් ජනනය කල හැකිවන්නේ 0.21MW එනම් ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ වර්තමාන විදුලි උත්පාදනයෙන් 0.005%ක් පමණි.

රටේ වැඩිම විදුලි අවශ්‍යතාවයක් ඇති වියලි කාලයේ ජනනය කිරීමට නොහැකි, විදුලි අවශ්‍යතාවයෙන් 0.005%ක් පමණක් ජනනය කිරීමට රටේ කෘෂිකර්මාන්තයත්, සංචාරක කර්මාන්තයත්, ගැමියන්ගේ ජන ජීවිතයත් යැපෙන මෙම වටිනා ජල පෝෂක ප්‍රදේශ විනාශ කිරීමට ඉඩ දීමට එරෙහිව නැගී සිටින්න. සංවේදී ජල පොෂක ආශ්‍රිත පරිසර පද්ධති විනාශ නොකර විදුලිය ජනනය කල හැකි සූර්ය බලය, සුලං බලය, කසළ මගින් බලශක්තිය හා මුහුදු රළ මගින් බලශක්තිය ජනනය කිරීමට අවශ්‍ය ප්‍රතිපාදන සකස් කිරීම සඳහා බලධාරීන් යොමු කරවන්න.


වැසි වනාන්තර සුරකින්නෝ

Protecting the Last Two Elephants of Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest

About a century ago Sri Lanka’s sprawling rainforests were home to thousands of elephants roaming freely. However, with the introduction of tea and subsequent expanding plantations which resulted in severe deforestation in the wet zone and central hills of the country combined with game hunting during the colonial period rapidly dwindled the elephant population within the rainforests. Since gaining independence, situation has become worse with increasing encroachment by tea plantations resulting in once contiguous and massive wet zone rainforests being decimated into small forest patches. As a result, only around 8 rainforest elephants remain in Sri Pada (Central Hills World Heritage Rainforest) and while 3 elephants were known to live within Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest only 2 have been recorded in recent years. These two rainforest elephants of Sinharaja are known to be siblings and middle aged. Genetically, behaviorally and structurally different from their dry zone cousins, the rainforest elephants of Sinharaja have been observed travelling approximately 15km to 20km daily, frequently moving between the fragmented rainforests within Northern Sinharaja, namely Delwala-Walankanda forest reserve, Kudumeeriya forest reserve and to the east the Rakwana hills.


These two rainforest elephants play a major role in controlling illegal activities within Sinharaja and adjacent Kudumeeriya and Delwala-Walankanda forest reserves as those who engage in these illegal activities greatly fear the elephants. Without these two elephants, poaching, illegal logging and mining activities within the protected reserve will quickly gain pace. Unfortunately the Forest Conservation Department has not been successful in preventing illegal activities in protected reserves and while the Department of Wildlife Conservation is better at patrolling, it is a pity that only two wildlife rangers are stationed to look after the entire Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest!


To protect the rainforest elephants of Sinharaja while protecting the property and lives of villagers, it is important to establish Wildlife Conservation offices within the elephant migration routes in northern Sinharaja along Kudumeeriya forest reserve, Delwala-Walankanda forest reserve and Rakwana hills to the east. These wildlife conservation offices should be provided with adequate rangers and equipment. Additionally, GPS collars should be attached to the last two elephants, monitoring their movement and alerting the rangers/villagers appropriately. Agri Fences and Village Fences should be installed to reduce Human-Elephant conflict. Through studies conducted by Ministry of Environment in Sri Lanka such as ECAMP (Ecosystem Conservation and Management Project) during the last few years, use of Agri fences and Village fences have been successfully tested.


The recently appointed Minister & Deputy Minister of Wildlife Conservation initially orders to Department of Wildlife Conservation to immediately capture these last two rainforest elephants of Sinharaja and move them to Horowpathana Elephant holding grounds, which would be a jail sentence for them. These rainforest elephants cannot survive in the dry zone Horowpathana enclosure. Even holding the elephants captive in nearby town of Kalawana mean the extinction of rainforest elephants from Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest. Such action will soon result in a collapse of the entire ecosystem as illegal activities including poaching and deforestation would increase rapidly.


Many experts have studied the human-elephant conflict in Sri Lanka and have produced valuable reports and action items. Experts including former director of Wildlife Conservation Department Sumith Pilapitiya, Dr. Prithiviraj Fernando, Deputy director of Department of Wildlife Mr. Manjula Amararatne attended one such workshop held on January 24, 2017 at Sri Lanka Foundation. During this workshop, several important decisions and action items were taken to combat human-elephant conflict.


The reasons for these two rainforest elephants to clash with humans is due to them being abused by humans especially those who conduct illegal activities and hence do not want the elephants around them. Poachers and those engaged in illegal logging have attacked these elephants using acid and shot several times. While a few villagers have used fire crackers to scare the elephants away. These activities have caused tremendous anger among the elephants towards humans. Since many villagers prefer to have these elephants live in the forest, timely action should be taken to educate all the villagers as to what and what not to do. Many of these villagers have been hit hard by changing weather patterns and their tea crops have suffered as a result. With the tourism sector in Sri Lanka expanding rapidly, many of the villagers could benefit in the future as a result of conservation.


Destruction of Elephant Habitat @ Kudumeeriya forest in Sinharaja Rainforest Complex


Therefore, we urge the relevant Government authorities to protect the last two rainforest elephants of Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest using in-situ strategies identified by the experts, such as GPS/GSM collaring the elephants, monitoring their movements, expanding the number of wildlife rangers and officers, providing better equipment and installing agri fencing/village fencing.


Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka