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Monday, 17 September 2018 09:29

Leading conservationist to speak on threat to our biodiversity at this month’s WNPS lecture

The monthly lecture of the Wildlife & Nature Protection Society on September 20, at 6 p.m. at the Jasmine Hall of the BMICH will be delivered by Dr. Eric Wikramanayake on ‘Sri Lanka’s biodiversity conservation at crossroads’.

Dr Eric WikramanayakeDr. Wikramanayake is a Conservation Biologist with over 25 years of experience throughout Asia, working on landscape-scale spatial planning for conservation of endangered large mammals in Asia, ecosystem-based approaches to reducing climate change vulnerabilities, and assessing e-flows. He was a senior conservation scientist with the World Wildlife Fund, a Research Fellow with the Smithsonian Institution, Senior Strategic Advisor with the Biodiversity and Wildlife Program at RESOLVE, and consultant conservation advisor to the ADB’s GMS-BCC project. He is also current Chair of the Environmental Foundation, Ltd (EFL), in Sri Lanka.

The survival and persistence of Sri Lanka’s biodiversity is at a crossroads. Our conservation priorities, approaches, and strategies are stuck in the 20th Century; we are still relying on conservation paradigms, thought processes and ideas from the 1940’s and 50’s. Misaligned priorities have to be rectified. Conservation strategies must accommodate this change, and change with them. But the custodians tasked with conservation of Sri Lanka’s biodiversity have been unable to meet these challenges. There is a distinct and serious lack of will, skill, fortitude, and innovative thinking. They are also hamstrung and hampered by poor and even corrupt political leadership, the lecture note released by WNPS said.

The release added, “In the meantime, the threats are mounting; they are too many, too extensive, intensive, and too urgent.We have to address them now, but in a strategic, visionary way. We have to adopt new paradigms to address current, emerging, and projected threats. And we have to focus on priorities. All this will require a paradigm shift that will enable Sri Lanka to reconcile biodiversity conservation with development, set goals, and develop a conservation strategy for the 22nd Century.”

The lecture is open to all and admission is free.