On this Mother’s Day honor your mother by giving to protect a mother in the wild

Mothers are our protectors and strength whether we live in the urban jungle or in the wild. Ravi Corea, President, SLWCS On this Mother’s Day as we h

FB IMG 1575167397619

Mothers are our protectors and strength whether we live in the urban jungle or in the wild. Ravi Corea, President, SLWCS


On this Mother’s Day as we honor, love and cherish our own mothers let us give thought to those mothers in the wild. They are struggling to protect their young while trying to survive amidst a gauntlet of threats, risks and dangers.

IMG 20200413 194217 258

A sambar hind and fawn

M da 1
IMG 20200420 110456 801

Make a donation to the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society in loving honor of your mother.

Any donations that you can make, even if it's only a very small amount, will help us to continue tirelessly with our vision to save wildlife.

Please got to this link to make a donation: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/slwcs-covid19

A Happy Mother’s Day to all Mothers!

The Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society


Click on the image to make a donation

ele drawing Donate Now

Click on the image to make an online donation

By clicking on the elephant image on the right a donation can be made to the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society. Alternatively at the following link: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/slwcs-covid19, or by mailing a check to the address listed on the very bottom.

Thank you for your support.

M da 2

Wish you a Very Happy Mother's Day!

Photo Credits

Chathuranga Dharmarathne/SLWCS
Chandima Fernando/SLWCS

Winning One Battle at a Time: Saving the Weheragala Forest Reserve in Wasgamuwa – a Public Private Partnership Effort

IMG 1707

“…so happy to hear that the Forest Department (including higher level officials from Colombo) stepped up to confront this encroachment, and, not at all surprised that SLWCS played such an effective role in working through this process.” Forest Service, U.S.A.

IMG 1684

The Weheragala Forest Reserve is a land bridge that connects the Knuckles Mountain Range in the south with the Wasgamuwa National Park in the north creating a contiguous landscape for wildlife over three climatic zones. The Forest Reserve is in one of the most geographically diverse and biodiversity rich regions of Sri Lanka. This dynamic landscape extends in a northeasterly direction all the way from the summit of the highest peaks of the Knuckles Mountain Range down to the coast in Trincomalee confluent with Sri Lanka’s longest river the mighty Mahaweli Ganga.

These forests are under severe anthropogenic pressure. Recently a large area was cleared by the government to settle people under the Moragahakanda and Kaluganga hydropower, irrigation and land settlement schemes under the Mahaweli Development Program. Over hundred elephants and thousands of other wild animals were displaced as a result. In addition poaching, illegal logging, squatters, gem mining, and cannabis plantations are relentless ongoing grievous and pernicious assaults on these forests.

Popham Arboretum-Camera Trapping-Chicks 151

Weheragala Forest Reserve

Popham Arboretum-Camera Trapping-Chicks 154

The Knuckles Mountain Range

For the past 23 years the SLWCS has been working hard to address some of these issues. But given the magnitude and scale of these concerns it has been a challenging and uphill effort. The lack of proper government policies to establish public private partnerships have been the biggest stumbling block and obstacle to addressing these issues effectively.

It was with grave concern in August 2019 we observed a herd of over one hundred domestic buffaloes in the Weheragala Forest Reserve. Initially we thought it must be a transient herd that will eventually move on. But months went by and the buffaloes remained it was tragic to observe the illegal cattle stockades that had been erected in the Forest Reserve.

The actual number of buffaloes we learned was one hundred and eighty. The frequent need to shift the stockades to a new location since the buffaloes fouled up the area meant large sections of the forest was been denuded of any undergrowth. The buffaloes were also destroying the undergrowth as they fed and moved through the forest.

The destruction of the undergrowth was destroying the habitats and displacing many species of wild animals. They were also a disturbance to elephants. We noticed that elephants were keeping away from the areas where the buffaloes were. This was not surprising since once the large herd of buffaloes had moved through an area they left it devoid of any forage for other herbivores to feed on.

IMG 1895
IMG 1901
IMG 1904
IMG 1384

The buffaloes denuded the ground cover they fed and moved

IMG 1388
IMG 1691
IMG 1789
IMG 1707
IMG 1781
IMG 1790
IMG 1683
IMG 1892

One hundred and eighty buffaloes spread through the Forest Reserve

In November 2019 the SLWCS officially wrote to the Forest Department, the Wildlife Conservation Department, the District Secretary of Matale and the Divisional Secretary of Wilgamuwa and the local police about this matter requesting them to take appropriate action to evict the buffaloes from the forest reserve. There are clear legal provisions in the Forest Ordinance to evict the cattle and prosecute the owners.

As a follow up the SLWCS convened a meeting in January 16, 2020 at our Field House and invited the regional Forest Department personnel and the local police. At the same time the Society reached out to the Conservator General and Forest Conservator of the Forest Department who gave their fullest support.

The following morning we were informed by the Forest Department personnel that they had filed a case against the owner, asked him to remove the buffaloes from the Forest Reserve and requested our help to remove the cattle stockades from the forest reserve.

We took our volunteers and provided manpower to remove the stockades. At the same time we understood that the buffaloes were providing a livelihood and we had to look at that aspect as well. We reached out to the owner and made him aware of the harm he was doing to the forest reserve as well as the fact that he was breaking the law by engaging in an illegal activity. To ensure that his livelihood was not impacted adversely by getting evicted from the forest reserve, we provided him with financial support to build a new cattle stockade in the village. Since then we have been frequently monitoring that section of the forest reserve as well as continue to engage with the cattle owner in our continuing efforts create win win solutions to benefit the people and wildlife in the Wasgamuwa Region.

IMG 1876

Forest Department officers giving notice to one of the owners to remove buffaloes and the stockades

IMG 1771
IMG 1815
IMG 1858
IMG 1860
IMG 1802

Forest Department, SLWCS and our volunteers all working together to save the forest

It was incredible how within a very short time this issue was resolved effectively just by the Forest Department and the SLWCS engaging in a collaborative spirit. This incident clearly highlights the potential of public private partnerships and how they can be very effective in addressing issues of national importance. Since the buffaloes were removed we are observing again large numbers of elephants sometime numbering over 50 elephants frequenting the Forest Reserve.

IMG 1923

The Forest Rescuers…

86343954 1263426567190129 5120404716882231296 n

Large numbers of elephants are again frequenting the forest reserve

For information about the SLWCS Volunteering Program please contact us at: info@slwcs.org

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