We are excited to announce the launching of newest conservation research initiative

IMG 3357

The territorial waters of Sri Lanka are rich in marine species. Yet there is very little information available about Sri Lanka’s vulnerable and endangered marine ecosystems. The SLWCS’ newest research and conservation initiative, the MaRINE Project, is both critical and timely.

IMG 3006

Charting a course for a new conservation research initiative

 

These are exciting times at the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society.

We are in the midst of launching several new research and conservation initiatives. Among these exciting happenings is our Butterfly Conservation Project that is being launched with the support of Spa Ceylon (watch for more information about this project) and our Marine Resource-conservation Initiative for Nature-based Enterprise better known as the MaRINE Project.

 

IMG 3055

Diversity is the “Key Word” about Kalpitiya

 

The MaRINE Project will be based in the Kalpitiya Peninsular in the Northwestern Province in the Puttalam District. The project will focus on both brackish water and marine ecosystems in an effort to understand the synergies, correlations and codependency between these two environments to make Kalpitiya one of the most biologically diverse marine ecosystems in Sri Lanka. The Kalpitiya-Karaitive-Puttalam Coastal Wetlands Complex includes the Puttalam Lagoon, which is the largest inland brackish water body in Sri Lanka. The Puttalam Lagoon was identified as a wetland of international importance and listed in the Directory of Asian Wetlands in 1989.

This vast combined marine and lagoon ecosystem and region is home to a rich biodiversity, culture and history. The coastal waters are teeming with marine mammals, fish, marine reptiles, and crustaceans. There are bar reefs just off the coast and a chain of remote off shore islands unique in their own way. In the lagoon there are huge mud crabs, tough barramundi, quite and inoffensive dugongs, and the colorful pink dolphins and much more. Kalpitiya is critical stopover for migratory birds along the Asian Flyway and during the winter season the coastal beaches, mud flats, and lagoon is a quivering flitting flying mass of avian visitors – a birders paradise.

 

 20 0657

Important for resident and migratory birds

pink dolphin 2 - Copy

The rare Pink or Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphin

 

Heading our MaRINE Project will be Ms. Ruvini Weerasinghe, a young scientist and graduate from the Zoology Department of the Jayawardenapura University currently reading for her M.Phil in Marine Biology. Her research includes marine biodiversity, coral reef ecology, marine chemical ecology, invasive species ecology and marine pollution. Eventually Ruvini will be joined by a team of research and field assistants, volunteers and support service staff.

 

DSC 0156

Young Marine Biologist, Ruvini who will head SLWCS MaRINE Project

055

Conducting research on marine pollutants

PC041212
DSC06064

 

We have set up our operations center at the Marist Nivasa in Kalpitiya – an establishment belonging to the Marist Brothers. They have a very nice facility which they have very kindly allowed us to use to initiate our field research and conservation projects and the volunteer program.

Our brand new research craft, The Dugong __is being completed at the Neil Marine Boat Yard in Thaladuwa, Negombo.

 

IMG 2631

Dormitory-style rooms for our volunteers

IMG 2574

The SLWCS research vessel, The Dugong

IMG 2573
IMG 2575

 

We have also acquired to two 15 foot canoes to use in the shallows of the lagoon to conduct research and conservation work on mangroves and various brackish water fish, crabs and other fauna that depend on the mangroves ecosystem for their survival.

Please watch out for further information on our MaRINE Project.

 

IMG 2699

Our two 15 foot research Canoes

IMG 2708

IMG 2721

Always take the canoes for a test run before acquiring them…

 

Big, rumbling thanks to our Corporate Partners for their kind support and to everyone who has donated and supported our wildlife conservation efforts!
———

 

 

Photo Credits:

Chinthaka Weerasinghe/SLWCS
Ravi Corea/SLWCS
Ajantha Palliyawadana (pink dolphins)

 

 

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *