Monday, December 22, 2008
Ramesh Kannan whom I met in Chattanooga, USA during the Society for Conservation Biology conference visited us last week. He is attached to the Ashoka Trust for Research Ecology and Education (ATREE) India and working on Lantana camera, one of the invasive plant species in the world. He was very keen on starting a collaborative project with ECO-V on managing this species in Sri Lanka. We had a meeting with the Department of Wildlife and further discussed this issue. ECO-V will be acting as the local focal point for the project. I took Ramesh to Udawalawa to show him our project area for Pelicans where Lantana is a problem for the natural habitat there. He also visited the paper making project using Eichornia crassipes (Water Hyacinth) which is another problematic invasive plant damaging the water bodies. This project is successfully conducted by our dear friends Mr. Sakith and Richrd Perera.
Incidentally Prof. Sarah Hawkins from University of Cambridge was also with us and she has been helping ECO-V in many ways since its inception.
Gayan Tharaka who has been a member of ECO-V for past 3 years, joined ECO-V as full time volunteer at our new office. Now he is helping us in organizing the news letter and member correspondence. He lives close to the ECO-V new office. He has already formed a group of youth who are enthusiastic about protecting nature and we started technical guidance for them recently.
Devaka Jayamanna was recruited as the field coordinator to newly started Kalu Wandura Conservation Project (Protection of Purple faced langur) under supervision of Dr. Rudy Rudran from Smithsonian Institute. Devaka has experience with Young Zoologists’ Association of Sri Lanka and has participated in several environmental researches conducted by different organization and individuals. He was also been a member of ECO-V and volunteered in few projects since 2001.
Now he is getting ready to go to the field at “Waga” (off Colombo) from 1st of January 2009 to start the research component of the project. Last Monday we visited the Waga-Kahahena to discuss the project with some stakeholders and to find a place for the research station we are going to establish. We also recruited Ramyanath as Devaka’s assistant to help the data collection. Jaliya whom we have already trained during the last visit of Dr. Rudran will be joining Devaka from the village at the study area.